If you are like me, you have been praying for Revival and Spiritual Awakening in America for years. Many times I have asked the Lord why revival does not come? I believe the answer can be found in the book of Acts. If we want the Lord to send down His Spirit as he did in the book of Acts, then we must evangelize in the same way the disciples did.
This week I have pondered the question, “How did Peter win 3000 souls to the Lord on the day of Pentecost?”. In order to win 3000 souls to the Lord, you have to at least have 3000 lost people in your audience. I have searched the book of Acts to see how the disciples gained an audience. They were not able to invite people to church, because there were no church buildings. They did not serve coffee in coffee shops. They did not have Christian rock concerts. How did they gain an audience of listening ears? I believe the modern church struggles with this today. How can we win the lost, if we do not have an audience?
Let’s take a look at some of the evangelism encounters in the book of Acts beginning with Acts 2. This chapter opens on the day of Pentecost with a group of disciples meeting together. Let’s get some background information before we continue. In Acts 1:15, we are told that about 120 people were in the upper room. We don’t know for sure, but many assume in Acts 2:1 that the 120 were together in the upper room on this day of Pentecost. In the Old Testament, God established 7 feasts which the Jewish people were to celebrate every year. Three of these feasts were pilgrimage feasts, meaning that the Jewish men were expected to make a trip to the temple in Jerusalem (Deut. 16:16). These three feasts were Passover , Feast of Weeks (or Pentecost) and Feast of Booths (or Tabernacles). Since this was the day of Pentecost, there would have been many visitors in Jerusalem. This is an important detail, if the Lord wants a large audience when the Holy Spirit comes down from heaven.
In Acts 2:2 we see that there was a noise like a violent rushing wind that filled the whole house where they were sitting. As a result of this sound (Acts 2:6), a crowd came together. This was the crowd of at least 3000 to whom Peter preached. God supernaturally provided Peter with a large audience.
One way to pray for Revival and Spiritual Awakening is to ask the Lord to supernaturally provide a crowd of lost people. We also need to make sure we look for opportunities when great crowds of lost people come to church. There are two times a year when churches naturally fill up with people who do not attend church regularly, Christmas Eve and Easter. I hope that every preacher will take the time to share the gospel message on these days. Even though this is an excellent way to witness to the lost, we need to find a way to reach them more than twice a year. There has got to be a better way to spread the gospel message.
In the book of Acts God did not always supernaturally provide a crowd for the disciples. Many times the disciples had to find a crowd in order to share the gospel. Many people call this method Marketplace Evangelism. They looked for opportunities to share the gospel message at the temple, in homes and in the marketplace. In Acts 3:1 Peter and John went to the temple during the hour of prayer. On this occasion, they healed a lame man. In Acts 3:11 we are told that all the people were amazed and ran to them. When Peter saw the crowd, he immediately began to witness to them. He did not waste on opportunity to preach when a crowd formed. Even when he was in a hostile environment.
The temple was a hostile place to preach. A modern day equivalent would be like preaching about Jesus in a Mosque while Muslims are praying to Allah. Many Jews were as hostile to Christianity then, as Muslims are today. Even Paul was a persecutor of Christians. When Stephen was stoned, the murderers laid their robes at the feet of Saul (Paul). He was in hearty agreement with putting Stephen to death (Acts 8:1). Before his salvation, he would enter homes of Christians, drag them off and put them into prison (Acts 8:3).
After Peter and John preached to the crowd at the temple, they were arrested by the Sadducees (Acts 4:1-8). When they stood trial the next day, they witnessed to the rulers, elders, scribes and priests. Yet again, they did not waste an opportunity to preach to the crowd that had formed. This was a very hostile crowd, but they still were not afraid to preach the gospel message.
As a result of this marketplace evangelism, multitudes of men and women were constantly added to their number (Acts 5:12). The people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people to be healed (Acts 5:16). The Christians would bring their friends so they could be healed and hear the gospel. Many people believe that the job of evangelism is for preachers only. However, many of the early Christians were evangelists. The gospel spread quickly because many were preaching and telling, not just the disciples.
Sometimes the disciples shared the gospel, because God had told them to go to a specific place and preach. When the disciples were released from prison at night by the angel (Acts 5:18-21), the angel told them to go and preach in the temple. The disciples immediately obeyed at daybreak. How many times do we feel a nudge from the Holy Spirit to witness, but we ignore Him? We cannot expect to see Revival and Spiritual Awakening, if we fail to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Every disciple in the book of Acts was immediately responsive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
If we want to see Revival and Spiritual Awakening in America, we must be willing leave our cozy churches, enter the marketplace and evangelize. We cannot expect the world to come to us. We must go into all the world and preach the gospel. I am proud of the rise in international mission trips churches are taking, but we must not forget that we are surrounded by a daily mission field in America. Evangelism is a daily command. America needs awakening. Will you be an evangelists?
To learn how to share the gospel message the way the disciples did, see my post “The Gospel Message – Revival Style“.