The greatest obstacle to evangelism, simply put, is Christians who don’t share the gospel. So, today, let’s look at some biblical marks of evangelism that God uses.
# 1 - Necessity of Boldness (Acts 2:14)
With boldness, Peter stepped forward as someone who had something to say. He wasn’t mumbling — but looked them straight in the eye in announcing the Gospel.
In the original Greek, boldness is a compound word that is two words — “all speech.” That is, he didn’t hold anything back. He gave them full disclosure.
He wasn’t simply laying out some options. He says “let this be known.” And he also said in no uncertain terms:
Acts 2:22 — “Men of Israel, hear these words.”
2:29 — “Say to with confidence”
2:36 — “Know for certain/“
2:40 — “Bore witness”
What was the source of his power? He was filled with the Holy Spirit!
We all need this boldness as well. We are to “speak to the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15). We are to build bridges for the Gospel. But once we cross that bridge by God’s divine leading, like Peter, we have to stand up and speak boldly and declare the truth of the Bible and Gospel.
May the prayer of Paul in Colossians 4:3-6 be ours:
“At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— 4 that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. 5 Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. 6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”
#2 - Primacy of Scripture (Acts 2:16 and following)
Peter immediately begins to share the Word of God. Specifically, the prophecy from Joel 2:28-32.
He isn’t just sharing his testimony or talking about cultural events of the day. He’s not talking dead religion or what is going on now in the church.
No, he is quoting the Word of God! “God declares” (2:17a).
Peter has such a high view of Scripture here! Peter understands that what Joel said is, in reality, what God said. So, too, today, when the Bible speaks, God speaks (Heb. 4:12 — the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword)! And Peter wants God to speak in this gospel witness, so he quotes Scripture.
(For further study, notice how many times in 2:17-19 the words “I” and “my” are used — referring to God.)
Peter was only the mouthpiece. The real voice being heard that day was the voice of God himself.
Yet, like Peter, we must know, memorize, speak, and pray the Word of God as we share the Gospel. No one will ever be saved in the world apart from the Word of God.
We don’t need to try to find new methods, tricks, or gimmicks in our evangelism. We just need to share the Word and the gospel. The Holy Spirit does the rest.
#3 - Sufficiency of Grace (Acts 2:21)
This is, perhaps, the most important verse in the Joel text quoted by Peter. No matter who you are or what you have done — everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
If someone is breathing in this world, they need the Gospel. And we can offer the Gospel to everyone and leave the results to God.
In all the common grace blessings that God has given to us, let us not forget that which is most important, that we would call upon the name of the Lord and we would call upon others to do so with us.
#4 - Centrality of Christ (Acts 2:22-36)
#1 - Life of Christ (2:22) - Peter speaks of the person and work of Christ.
#2 - Death of Christ (2:23) - Peter speaks of the sovereignty of God in the Gospel. It is the crime of the ages and the most heinous sin that has ever been committed on planet Earth. That is, that godless men put to death the Son of God and, yet, it was the eternal plan and sovereign will of Almighty God.
#3 - Resurrection of Christ (2:24-32) - God raised him up! And the proofs of his resurrection were prophecies in the Old Testament and carried out in front of their very eyes.
#4 - Exaltation of Christ (2:33-36) - He has all authority and sits at the right hand of the Father!
Every time we share the Gospel, we must make a beeline for the Lord Jesus Christ and all he did! Don’t get into silly arguments — point them to Christ!
#5 - Urgency of Repentance (2:37-38)
When they heard the Gospel, they were “pierced” or “cut” to the heart. Literally, the word means to be “stabbed as with a knife.”
God has unscaled the eyes of the crowd and now their response is to repent. Not to wait or consider — but to repent.
Repent means a change of mind or affection that involves a change of the will. The whole person turning to the Lord Jesus Christ alone for salvation.
The gospel message is not just to think good thoughts about Jesus, it is to believe and repent. Jesus did not plead with men to open their hearts, repeat a prayer & ask him in. He commanded them to repent & believe the Gospel (Mark 1:14-15).
There has to be a point in our sharing of the Gospel that we call people to repentance. This isn’t easy-believism or cheap grace.
#6 - Dependency Upon God (2:39-40)
Peter understood that as he stood to preach Gospel that day at Pentecost that he was to be faithful to give them the whole Gospel truth and leave the results to God. He didn’t seek to manipulate or sing 48 verse of “Just As I Am.” And he didn’t have 18 counselors at the front waiting.
No, he simply trusted in the sovereignty of God to draw them after having commanding them to repent.
God is always the initiator in salvation. Our job is to give the general call — to share the Gospel and call people to repentance. God must then issue his sovereign call that arrests and apprehends the person to whom the call was given.
So, even when we stand in the most difficult times and places on earth to share the Gospel, we can be courageous and confident in missions and evangelism because we know that it depends on God and not on us. Like Peter, we leave the results to God.
But that doesn’t mean we don’t plead and exhort (as he does in 2:40). He kept exhorting them - but he left the results to God.
How God delights in using faithful people who will give a faithful Gospel witness to call people to himself!
Who is the one you are sharing the Gospel with?