BACK TO ACTS
BY P.T. MCCLURE
I wish to dedicate this book to the many soul winners of Bible Truth Church, Melbourne, Florida. Thank you for your gracious docility in receiving my burden on reaching our city for the name of Jesus. Together, we attempt to go BACK TO ACTS and put to practice today what our forefathers started with on the day of Pentecost.
A special thanks to Lori Owens and Jean Nichols for your co-laboring with me in putting this book together. We did it.
It is my hope that in the following pages, we will uncover the true secret of the first New Testament Church’s success in city and world wide revival. “BACK TO ACTS” is a serious look at New Testament principles on revival to the Church’s true purpose on the Earth, and we must turn to ACTS to find it. There are more philosophies on Church growth than there are automobiles This book is not a Church growth study course, but rather a study on the purpose of the Church on Earth, and an understanding of the key to revival in the book of acts
“THE PEOPLE BUSINESS”
“How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Fathers business?” (Luke 2:49)
Jesus reveals that His work was indeed a business; not of profit, nor of prestige, but a business of people. PEOPLE BUSINESS was the business that Jesus was in. He had a commodity to solicit deliverance, salvation and healing. His price was not of gold, silver or of monetary exchange. Today, if a church is going to grow or experience revival, they must get in the people business. The church that prays new converts through to the Holy Ghost and Baptizes new people weekly, will be a church that genuinely concerns itself with the needs of people. The days of church growth by “move-ins” is over. The attitude of so many churches of
yesterday was; “This city knows we’re here, and if they want to be saved, they’ll have to come to us”. This kind of attitude and belief has left churches with little or no growth over this past century. We must shed every past notion of this attitude if we expect to grow. Today, people are looking for a friendly church that truly cares about their needs.
James D. Davis wrote an editorial for the Chicago Tribune in 1986 titled; “When Choosing a House of Worship”. He said, “When you look for a church to become a member, look at the building itself. Is the paint fresh? Are the windows clean? Is the lawn well cared for?”
The Church today must realize that we can’t serve the Bread of Life in a garbage can. Spirituality doesn’t mean sloppy. Thank God for Apostolic janitors, and cleaning ladies. Every revival Church will have a “church cleaning schedule” where the members participate in weekly church cleaning.
Mr. Davis went on to say; “Are the people friendly? Do they approach you and go out of their way to make you feel welcome? Do they smile? Do they shake your hand and introduce you to their family or to other church members?”
Every growing Church has had to address these important subjects to their congregations in order to grow. Spirituality is not measured by the angle of the droop of ones frown, but rather by the up swing of ones smile. A growing Church is a happy Church. A revival Church is an alive Church, charged with excitement and enthusiasm.
Mr. Davis continued and said, “When thinking of a Church, think of a home. How’s the music? Is it alive, refreshing, and inspiring? Does it have a children’s musical? Does it have a monthly calendar announcing upcoming events?”
A Church doesn’t have to invest $10,000.00 in a desk top publishing system to make a Church bulletin. All you would need is a type writer and a little time and about $5.00 – $20.00 a week depending on how much or how elaborate you want to make it. You can have a local printing company design for you, a personalized bulletin cover or buy pre-made bulletin blanks. Then you simply type up a master news bulletin and pay 5 cents to ten cents per copy to print onto your blanks.
Mr. Davis said; “People aren’t looking for sky stabbing steeples, or fancy sanctuaries; but they are looking for a place where they can feel something and where people will really care about them. People are looking for Churches today that will minister to their needs.”
We are in the people business and we must deal with people if we expect our Churches to grow. We can’s hide and hope people come and join us, we must get involved in this people business if we plan to have revival.
WHERE DID IT ALL BEGIN?
What did Jesus mean by “PEOPLE BUSINESS”? How did Jesus get into this business? Where did Jesus come from? Who was Jesus?
“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth ” (John 1:1,14).
“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels,
preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (I km. 3:1).
Jesus was God’s Word made flesh, or as it has been said, God’s Word incarnate. God the Father is Spirit. (John 4:24) He became flesh that we could hold Him end touch Him. The only division in God and Jesus is flesh and Spirit. God became flesh in order to “PREACH” to flesh. Jesus was actually the Father on earth; “Truth in reach.”
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; ” (I John 1:1).
In the Old Testament, revealed revealed only a few through angels or thiophenes. In the New Testament, God revealed Himself through the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. However, today, God reveals Himself and His will to all who read His Word. The Bible is God revealed to us. Jesus was the Father’s Word made flesh; Truth to Hold. Finally, God came in touching distance of the whole world. Suddenly, God’s will walked among men and became visible for all to see and hear, even for the worst of sinners. Jesus was God the Father, in flesh, to allow God Himself to preach to men, suffer with men, feel for men, and in the widest sense, relate to men. Think of it! A God that we could feel end one who feels for us. God came to earth because He is in the PEOPLE
BUSINESS. PEOPLE BUSINESS began with God in His for-thought in creation. We all know that this world is lost and dying, and needed, and still needs to be delivered, saved, and healed. God became a person so He could help people.
The Greek word for “WORD” in John 1:1 is Logos; which means something said, a thought; by implying a topic, the mental faculty, or motive; Divine expression i.e. Christ (Strong’s Greek Dictionary). Couple this definition with what the angel said to Mary, speaking of Christ: “…and they shall call His name Emanuel, which being interpreted is God with us” (Matt. 1:23). Jesus Christ was the EXPRESS image of God in bodily form (Col. 2:9; Heb. l:3). Jesus was God in the flesh. When you see Jesus, you see God, for Jesus was God in physical form. Jesus was the embodied Word of God.
If we are to fully understand New Testament Evangelism, we must grasp this truth that Jesus was the living, walking, down to earth, Word and will of God in flesh. God came to earth in the flesh to reach man and save him. God sought for a MAN to stand in the gap and make up the hedge and save man; but found none (Ez. 22:30). Therefore God’s own arm, His own self brought salvation (Is. 59:16). God became flesh so flesh could touch God. Light came into darkness in order for darkness to see light. Heaven came to earth so that earth could go to heaven.
When the Church can come to this understanding, we can realize that it was God who initiated the first move of salvation for man. God left Heaven in order to bring truth to a lost and dying world. The Church therefore must come to this first and basic fundamental of evangelism; that is, we must go to the sinner, not the sinner to us. True Bible evangelism is an “outreach” of the Church. We cannot set in the secure four walls of our congregation and people demand the lost to come to us to be saved, we must “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).
PEOPLE BUSINESS IS BIG BUSINESS
In one day, Americans:
* Give birth to 10,000 new Americans – Not including another 200-500 unreported.
* 1,282 are born illegitimate and are not wanted. * 69 teen-agers commit suicide everyday.
* 1,906 divorce per day.
* There is a rape every eight minutes in America.
* There is a murder every 27 minutes in America.
* There is a robbery every 76 minutes in America.
* Friendships in America only last an average of three months.
* 1,500 are physically attacked by a friend or relative per day.
* One out of every seven people receive psychotherapy before they are forty.
* One out of every three marriages end in a divorce.
* 6000 teenagers have sex for the first time every day.
* 40 teenagers give birth to their 3rd child per day.
* 6000 get an abortion.
* 400 children and teenagers take up smoking per day.
* $10 million is spent on pornography.
* 250,000 attend a full length sex movie (adult movie).
* Americans smoke 85,000 pounds of grass.
* Buy 50,000 new TV sets (65% are color).
* 33% of sixth graders have drank beer or wine.
(Be reminded, the above statistics are from 1980).
IT’S TIME FOR THE CHURCH TO STAND UP AND STEP FORWARD!
The World isn’t getting any better and we’re not any getting younger. If we’re going to evangelize our cities, our states, our nations, we must do it now. The world is dying a slow death of spiritual and moral collapse. The Church must arise out of its
spiritual indifference and preach the gospel.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt 5:16).
PEOPLE BUSINESS AND JESUS:
“…I must be about my Father’s business” (Luke 2:49). When Jesus was just twelve years old, He knew He was in the PEOPLE BUSINESS. He wasn’t running for any office; He was interested in saving sinners. I would to God every Christian and every preacher would become obsessed with the same drive Jesus was obsessed with; namely saving souls.
“The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, follow me “(John 1:43).
Jesus was in the People Business, therefore, He went to where the people were. Jesus never told the sinner to go to Church, He told the Church to GO TO THE SINNERS.
Note: Matt. 28:19, Mark 16:15,Acts 1:8.
Jesus is our example in this People Business:
Luke 10:30 The Good Samaritan
Luke 10:31 The Priest: Too busy
Luke 10:32 The Levite: Jeopardize performance
Luke 10:33 The Samaritan: True example
After Jesus had won the woman to Him and she believed, His disciples returned with dinner and all ready for another fellowship rally (John 4:31). However, Jesus said, “I have meat to eat that ye know not of “(John 4;32).
Here we see that Jesus seeks and saves while the Church feasts and fellowships. It is so easy for a Church to fall into this category. The disciples thought Jesus was upset because they didn’t have any food for Him. But Jesus was concerned with the real purpose of His being there, saving souls. It appears Jesus read their minds when He said, “Say not ye, there are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? ” (John 4:35). The disciples no doubt, were saying, “What’s the rush? We’ve got plenty of time”. If we’re not careful, we’ll assume that same deceiving spirit of thinking we have plenty of time. It was Jesus who said, “I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4).
This is how Churches can easily remain 30 for 30 years. They fail to WORK at saving souls, but rather choose to leave it up to the next person, who, by the way, is leaving it up to someone else. Woe unto the Church that looses it’s freshness. Woe unto the Church that looses it’s excitement of it’s new found experience and becomes dry and dead only to hope for another fellowship rally, instead of a soul winning campaign. Notice the newly converted Samaritan woman Jesus had just witnessed to:
“And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on Him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did ” (John 4:39).
One Samaritan woman who had just been converted, had won half a city with her own testimony. Up to this point in the gospels, we have no record of Jesus’ disciples doing anything to compare to this. Note how a new convert’s love puts her on the streets, in her families house, her neighbors, friends, telling “MANY” of her new experience.
DO THY FIRST WORKS
“Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, repent, and do the fi works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent” (Rev. 2:45).
Church growth statistic tell us that 85% of souls are won to God by new converts. The secret is that we all must return to our FIRST LOVE.
“…my rather worketh hitherto, and I work” (John 5:17)
People business is the business of the Spirit. Jesus, the man, did nothing of Himself (John 5:19). His work was the work of the Spirit. He was not interested in His own ministry; but in the ministry of the Spirit.
“I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4).
We are running out of tomorrows. If we are right, there are a whole lot of people going to hell. We must Re-Cbristianize the Christians and Christianize the heathen. We have a mighty big job to do. We must return to the first purpose of the Church, that is, the PEOPLE BUSINESS. Souls must be our goals. If now we, who? If not now, when? If not here, where? We’re not getting any younger. If we’re going to do something for God, we must do it now.
ANOINTING FOR PEOPLE BUSINESS
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent me to heal the
brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord ” (Luke 4:18-19).
Jesus was anointed by the Holy Ghost right after He was baptized (Matt. 3:16, Acts 10:38). This Holy Ghost anointing was given to empower Jesus to do the works of the Spirit. The very first thing Jesus did after He received power from the Spirit was preach the gospel (Matt. 4:17).
Jesus went immediately into the temple and preached that the Spirit had anointed Him to preach the gospel, heal, deliver, open blinded eyes, and bring liberty to the hurting (Luke 4:18). When Jesus was anointed, He went soul winning. He went out and taught Bible studies. Jesus testified to family, friends and even enemies. The first Spirit anointing was for soul-winning. Are you anointed? If so, we must do as Jesus did.
The business that Jesus started was this soul-winning business. Everywhere Jesus went, there were people. Hurting, hungry,
needing, lonely people who needed a savior. We must return to the New Testament Church’s original business – PEOPLE. If we return to our first love and do our first works again, God will anoint us, end beck us up with His mighty power. Miracles, signs and wonders have always followed the soul-winning disciples. Today is no different. (Mk. 16:20)
SEEK AND SAVE THE LOST
“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10)
In chapter one we defined the overall purpose of this book. Every revival Church must go “BACK TO ACTS”, and redefine the Church’s true purpose in the earth. In chapter one, we realized that Jesus ‘ business was people. Since people were Jesus’ business, then people must be the Church’s business. In this chapter, we want to define Jesus’ real purpose on the earth, and in doing so, we’ll find the Church’s true purpose. That purpose was and still is “Seeking and Saving the Lost.” This book is not meant to be a Church growth study, but rather a study on the purpose of the Church. If the Church will fulfill the purpose, she will automatically grow.
CALVARY–THE ULTIMATE PLAN
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth
much fruit. Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father; save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour” (John 12:24,27).
The ultimate reason for God manifesting Himself in flesh was to pay the ransom for sin in His flesh, that is, die on Calvary. In the
above scripture, Jesus revealed that unless the seed fall to the ground and die, it would abide alone. Jesus was speaking of His own life and also a principle of Church growth. Jesus had to die in order to produce the Gospel plan of salvation of: Death, Burial, and Resurrection (Rom.6:3-6; I Cor. 15:1-4). Jesus also was teaching His disciples that sacrifice is the only way for growth. If e seed refused to die, it would produce nothing, nor could it grow into a stalk. Jesus said, “it abideth alone”.
Every Church that becomes self centered and selfish will “abide alone”. The Church that grows will be the Church that is willing to pay the sacrificial price of dying out to itself, or else it abides alone. However, if the Church is willing to follow Jesus and die out to itself, then * will grow into a stalk and bring forth fruit. The principle is simple: One seed falls to the ground, dies, and grows into
a stalk with many seeds. This is the ultimate plan for evangelism.
If the Church will cease to be inverted and become extrovert, then that Church will bring forth fruit.
The Church in the book of Acts experienced a mighty revival because they “loved not their lives unto death”. The disciples and Apostles would go out end witness and testify to sinners even when it cost them severe persecution: Peter and John witnessed the Truth of Jesus name even though it cost them a beaten back (Acts 5:4142). Stephen testified to religious people, and it cost him his very life (Acts 7:54-60). The New Testament Church suffered great persecution and was scattered abroad; but it only grew the more. In fact, the scripture records that the Church “multiplied”. Paul summed * up when he said:
“Yea doubtless, and I count an things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ” (Phil 3:8).
Everyone claims to desire the ministry results of Paul, but few wish to write the above verse over their life. It’s easy to WANT what Jesus, Paul, Peter and the early Church had, but who is willing to SACRIFICE what it cost to secure *. Paul considered himself of no value in comparison to the purpose of saving souls.
It was Paul who crawled out from under a pile of rocks and rose up from the dead. He brushed the dirt and blood off and went right back into the same city to preach again. No wonder the early Church grew, and even multiplied. How can you fight a dead man. Satan lost because he couldn’t get a dead man to fear.
Jesus produced salvation by His sacrifice. He provided life through His death. Death was the ultimate plan for deliverance. It was
Calvary that created Pentecost. If there is no death, there is no life. Until the Church is willing to die out to itself, it’ll abide alone.
Churches that have no revival are selfish churches. Christians who win no one to Jesus are self centered and dangerous to revival.
“Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, this man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them” (Luke 15:1-2).
“And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, they that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Mark 2:16-17).
Jesus was in the PEOPLE BUSINESS, and that business was saving sinners. Hospitals are not built for well people; but for the sick. Medicine is not for the well, but the sick. Therefore, Jesus came for the sick, not the well. Jesus’ business was to heal, cure, deliver, liberate, and to save.
Jesus established a ministry that we still use today to reach and save people; “Sinner For Dinner.” Why is it that the Church has gotten out of the Sinner Business? Notice, it was the Pharisees who complained about Jesus spending time with sinners. It was the sinners who followed Jesus. Could it tee that the Church has taken on the nature of the Pharisees more than the nature of Jesus? Why is it that the sinners followed Jesus? Could it be because He ministered to their needs whereas the Pharisees had long forgotten how to do it?
“And great multitudes came unto him, having with them these that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus ‘feet; and he healed them. Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel” (Man. 15:30-31)
Jesus stayed with the purpose until results came. Jesus spent time among sinners in order to win them. He would go out into the streets, go into the market places, the highways and byways, all to meet and witness to sinners. There is a great difference from “fellowship” and “witness”. Jesus didn’t “socialize” and “fellowship” with sinners, He witnessed to them and taught them. Every time you find Jesus in a sinner’s home, you find Him teaching the Gospel, healing the sick, or casting out devils. One day Jesus was passing through Jericho and saw a small man up on a sycamore tree, named Zaccheous. Zaccheous was a chief among publicans, who was a sinner. Jesus looked up and said, “Zaccheous, make haste, and come down, for today I must abide at they
house “(Luke 19:5) When Jesus entered into Zaccheous’ house, He said, “This day is salvation come to this house…”For the Son of man is come to seek and save that which is lost” (Luke 19:9-10)
Jesus went to Zaccheous’ home for one reason, to teach him truth and save him. Jesus realized that Zaccheous was hungry for truth because he was out there to see Jesus. Therefore Jesus centered in on him to spend Today, we have a “worldly witness” idea creeping into the Church proposing the Church compromise in order to “save” sinners. These compromisers call it “cross over” and “toleration”. I call it COMPROMISE. They bring rock music in the Church and call it “Christian Rock”. They’ve brought Broadway into the Church and call it “praise dancing.” This is NOT what Jesus did, nor advocated.
Jesus went out to where the sinners were end took truth to them. We must “mobilize” truth and get it to where the sinners are. Jesus was no prisoner to a pulpit, nor was the early Church prisoners to a pew. They took what they received on Sunday, and took it out on the streets Monday through Saturday.
“If therefore the whole Church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad? But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face, he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth. How is it then, brethren? when ye come together; every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let an things be done unto edifying” (I Cor. 14:23-26).
When you read the entire chapters of I Corinthians 12, 13, and 14, you quickly understand that Paul was a strong supporter of the gifts of the Spirit and a move of God in the church service: However, Paul always had the sinner in mind and the true purpose of the Church. The Corinthian Syndrome was a spiritual disease that the Corinthian Church centered the church service around themselves, instead of the LOST. The Corinthian Church turned church services into a “show off ministry” time where everyone had their own doctrines, songs, gifts, ministries, until they totally forgot the real purpose of Church in the first place. In the ’80’s, the Church was introduced to this kind of “Corinthian Syndrome”. Charismatic Churches across America began to preach to one another that everyone had a ministry, WHICH IS TRUE; However, the problem was that the Charismatic Church concept turned the Churches view to itself, and not toward the sinners. Ministry means serve, servant, to work, not boast, brag, and show off.
Charismatic Churches didn’t grow by saving sinners, they grew by offering people platform performing time, which many “Christians” wanted a chance at. Advertisements and logo’s read, “Where everyone is a Minister”. They had everybody and their brother’s uncle “ministering”. Suddenly they had a house full of Pastors end no saints. The Pastor end his wife were Pastors, Youth Pastors, Music Pastors, District Pastors, House Pastors, Pastor’s Pastor etc. After a while, you came church and “everyone had a psalm, had a doctrine, had a tongue, had a revelation, had an interpretation”, but nobody was edifying the Church, nor saving the lost. Splits began to rise, church’s sprang up everywhere, not by “sinner conversions”, but by “saint relocation”. The Church began to preach to each other, sing to each other, end heel each other. Everything was to each other, until the Church forgot the sinner. During greeting end fellowship time, the whole Church would be together, but the visitor would tee alone. Throughout the week, saints would tee at saints’ houses having fellowship until 11:00 PM and 12:00 midnight, while visitors of that past week never had a visit. Of course, the Church people explain that they are too busy to visit. Pharisee religion!
Ministry in the 80’s became a thing to show off ones particular skills, and gifts. “Let me give you a word”, says one, only to show how spiritual they were. God save us from that kind of religion. Ministry is in the Word, but with the purpose of saving sinners, not some “selfish” stage performance. Ministry is wonderful, needed, and very Bible when it is done with the purpose of edifying the body to go out and save a sinner.
Paul’s attention for the purpose of the gifts of the Spirit and edification was to minister to unbelievers so they could tee converted
end ultimately tee saved (I Cor. 14:23-25). The Church that will experience growth by saving sinners will be the Church that centers it’s attention of service on saving sinners and edifying new converts. The praise and worship service must be of such to reach and effect sinners. The music must be with excitement and with a message that would invite the sinner to worship Jesus. If a sinner ever gets to praising Jesus, it won’t be long until he’ll be praying for forgiveness and receiving the Holy Ghost. If you’ll set your services for revival, you’ll have revival.
SEEK AND SAVE THE LOST
“For the Son of man is come to seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
Jesus’ true purpose on the earth was to evangelize and to establish those that He had wont The Lord didn’t come to compete with
the Pharisees, He came to work for God. Jesus’ work was preaching and teaching the Gospel to as many as He could. He was in the streets, in the houses, down by the well, on the hill side and in the market place, all to reach sinners and preach the gospel to them; that He might save them.
“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief ”
(I Tim. 1:15).
Why did Jesus come into the world? To save sinners! Paul went on to explain to Timothy that ‘for this cause ” (saving sinners), he
obtained mercy, that he might become a pastern for all to follow a Tim. 1:16). What a soul winner Paul was! Paul charged Timothy with the same charge:
“THIS CHARGE (saving sinners) I commit unto thee, son Timothy…” (I Tim 1:18).
In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he declared that it was Jesus’ testimony that saved us. (II Tim. 1:8). What if Jesus refused to
witness? What if he refused to be a soul winner? You and I would be lost. Jesus saved us, and called us unto His HOLY CALLING which was the ultimate PURPOSE. (II Tim. 1:9) Paul went on to explain that it was this purpose that appointed him to be a preacher, and a teacher of the Gentiles (sinners). (Verse 11.) No one can deny that Jesus was the greatest soul winner ever to grace this earth. It was this Jesus who said:
“. . .follow me, and I will make you fi skiers of men “(Matt. 4 19).
That means you, that means me. If you follow Jesus, it will be Jesus that MAKES you a soul-winner. Jesus came to seek and save the lost. Are we following His example? It was Jesus who taught us how to save and even described the different conditions of being lost.
“JESUS NEVER TOLD THE SINNER TO GO TO THE CHURCH, BUT HE TOLD THE CHURCH TO GO TO THE SINNER.”
It was Jesus who said: “… Greater works shall ye do than these…” (John 14:12). Greater works than what Jesus did. Greater in
multiplication. We need more Jesus’ on the earth seeking and saving.
“Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest” (John 4:35).
There was a girl in a particular Church back in the early ’70’s who got up in service one Sunday morning while the Pastor was preaching on soul winning, as he often did. She came running down the front from the back of the Church screaming “Pastor, please let me say something”. She told this story with tears, sobbing, and convulsing. “I worked with this girl named Betty. Betty the other day came to me and asked me to go to lunch with her. I did and during that time Betty asked me what have you got that we don’t have that makes your face always shine that the others in the office don’t have? I said, I have the Holy Ghost. Betty asked me, can I go to Church with you Sunday? I said, yes! Friday came and Betty’s desk was empty. 9:00 AM, 10:00 AM, no Betty. That was unusual because Betty is always on time and always on the job. Then the call came. Betty, while on her way to taking her children to the baby sitter, she crossed the tracks at LA, which she never saw the train.”
The sister in Church worked with Betty for a year and a half and never witnessed to her. Betty took her out to lunch and asked her if she could go to Church with her. And think, she died before she could go to church with her.
We must obey Jesus, and GO out into the highways and hedges end compel the lost to tee saved. God help us reach another Betty before it’s too late. Let us not wait until they come to us, let us go to them.
The Book of Acts is Power with a Purpose, Revelation with responsibility, Divinity in Humanity, and Truth with a testimony.
We can change the world, by being the change.
What the Church needs today is not more machinery, or better, not new organizations, or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use, men of prayer, men mighty of prayer.
MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION
“To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ ‘s stead, be ye reconciled to God ” (II Cor. 5:19-20).
“And he saith unto them, Follow me and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt. 4:19).
In the previous two chapters, we have attempted to define the true purpose of Jesus on the earth. Jesus’ business was people, and His purpose was to seek and save lost people. Jesus had a plan in which He was going to accomplish His purpose, that is, train disciples to go seek and save the lost. Jesus evangelized and discipled His followers, then trained them to evangelize and disciple the* followers. This process would continue over and over again. Notice the Jesus principle:
“Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matt. 28:19-20)
* Go teach (evangelize, soul winning).
* Baptizing them (conversion, results to soul winning).
* Teaching them to observe (disciple, train new converts).
In the above verse is Jesus’ principle to the “MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION”. Jesus taught us to EVANGELIZE, BAPTIZE, and TRAIN. This three step procedure is still in process and is known as the “Ministry of Reconciliation”. We are to follow Jesus and do as He had done. Jesus first went soul winning. The first step He took was He talked to, and gave Bible studies to, as many people as He could.
The second step deals with the results of the first step, namely baptize them. Baptizing the people we teach speaks of salvation, or
conversion. If you are to grow, your primary attention must be on the RESULTS of your evangelism. Our job is incomplete if we merely GO. We must have our primary goal on the SAVING souls, not just on SEEKING. The third step is to establish and equip these newly born again souls with their new found responsibility and ministry: soul winning.
The “Ministry of Reconciliation” is every New Testament Christians occupation and responsibility in the Church. We are to EVANGELIZE the lost, and of which the automatic results will be BAPTIZE. Then we are to begin the TRAINING of these new born souls to do as Jesus did, which was to seek and save the lost. Jesus intended that the seeking, saving and disciple making process would grow into a massive body that would continue His process of seeking and saving the lost. “… because as he is, so are we in this world ” (I John 4:I7). Jesus meant for His disciples to follow His example in purpose, and work.
The Ministry of Reconciliation belongs to every Christian. Every Christian that goes soul winning and presents the gospel to a sinner is doing so in the “stead of Christ” (II Cor. 5:20). Paul said that “God did beseech you by us. ” Every time a Christian teaches a gospel message, he is representing Jesus. It is as if God himself is teaching that sinner. Every Soul winner is a representative of Jesus Christ, an Ambassador if you please. Soul winners are representatives of another kingdom, the kingdom of God. Indeed, if you truly follow Jesus, He will make you to become a SOUL WINNER
MEN OF ACTION
“And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to east them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. These twelve Jesus sent forth saying, and commanded them Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give ” (Matt. 10:1, 5-8)
“And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him and that he might send them forth to preach, And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils” (Matt. 3:14-15).
The book of Acts points us back to New Testament evangelism (Back to Acts). No sooner than you go BACK TO ACTS, you’re face to face with MEN OF ACTION, men on the move, doers of the Word. Even the title of the book of ACTS tells us something of the character of New Testament evangelism. Bible evangelism was alive, vibrant, fresh, exciting, and on the cutting edge. Acts speaks of movement, progression, and confrontation. The name of this alive book; “Acts of the Apostles” describes the “Movement of Men”, not some program or packet. Who were these men of Acts? Where did they come from, and how were they trained?
The Apostles were the first disciples of Jesus. These disciples were personally won and trained by Jesus Christ Himself. What ever the Apostles were, they received from Jesus. Their actions and behavior, as described in the Acts of the Apostles, gives clear evidence how Jesus went soul-winning and how He trained disciples.
Jesus gave strict commandment, “Freely ye have received, freely give”. The disciples received the gospel freely, and they were to give it away the same way they received it. There is a New Testament principle here that Jesus established that must continue. This principle is the “Ministry of Reconciliation”. Jesus went out to where the sinners were and evangelized them. He converted them by His gospel and then He discipled them. The first thing Jesus taught His disciples was to go soul-winning. From that point, these new soul winning disciples were to train their new converts to go soul winning, hence, the ministry of reconciliation.
The New Testament Christians were men of ACTION, not merely idealized recipients of the gospel. After reading dozens of books on “so called” evangelism, one gets the idea that Church growth, and world evangelism are either an accident waiting to happen or a by product of some super polished program of some higher institution. It’s comforting to read the Book of Acts and read after men who were consumed with the passion of soul winning. The book of Acts craws you into a Holy Ghost out pouring right at first and doesn’t let you go through the last chapter and last verse:
“Preaching the Kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 28:31).
In fact, the book of Acts never ends, it’s still recording ACTS of soul winners who are freely giving what Jesus freely gave them. Today, true men of Action for God need to continue the New Testament principle of soul winning, discipling and training new converts to go soul winning. And this process is to continue to win souls and disciple them year after year, and generation after generation.
After teaching these men truth and converting them to His way, Jesus then discipled them for a day that they too would seek and save the lost. That day came when Jesus indeed ordained them to go and preach the gospel. Jesus called you for a purpose, not just to bask in his glory without responsibility, but to share His glory with a sinner. We have received much in order to give much away. Jesus gave it to us freely, therefore, we must give it away to a lost, hurting world.
The River Jordan flows into and out of the Sea of Galilee and there is a great abundance of fish and life in it. The River Jordan also flows into the Dead Sea. There are no fish, and no plants. Nothing alive can live in the Dead Sea. The only difference between the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee is the Dead Sea has no OUT FLOW. It keeps all it takes in. The Church that keeps all the blessings, healings, and miracles for itself and doesn’t allow it to flow out to others, will end up a Dead Sea.
“He that believeth on me as the scripture hath said, OUT of his belly (inner spirit) shall FLOW rivers of living water” (John 7:38).
When Jesus gives His blessings, His Spirit, He gives enough to FLOW OUT of you into someone else. It is every Christian’s responsibility to give out of what they’ve received from Jesus. Every Christian has received this glorious truth freely, and we MUST give that which we’ve received. We Apostolics have been given much, so we must give out much. We Apostolics, I included, confess that we have the truth. Then we are eternally obligated to SHARE this precious Jesus Name truth with the world.
MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION
“To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed
unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ ‘s stead, be ye reconciled to God “II Cor. 5:19.
Jesus has given to us, His Church, the ministry that He started while He was on earth. As God was manifested in flesh, walking,
reading, touching, healing, and saving people, through the body of Jesus Christ, so are we called to do today. The Church is now the body of Jesus Christ on the earth, reconciling the world to God. If God will cry, it will be through our eyes. If God will touch, it will be through our hands. If God will save, it will be through the Church, which now is His body on earth (I Cor. 12:12-13).
“And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in” (Is. 58:12)
The Church that becomes great will be the Church that mends the rip between God and man. “Without God, man ‘cannot, without Man, God will not. ” “Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way, shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins” (James 5:20).
For years, the Church has boasted of her truth only to condemn all others who don’t have it. The Church tried to shove her doctrine down the throats of the denominational world. Many sincere people witness by saying, “Bless God if you don’t obey Acts 2:38 you’re going to hell. ” That got the Church no where fast. Then someone came along and refused to teach doctrine at all until they stopped preaching it and joined the other crowd all together. Which is right? Neither! The Bible way is the only way:
“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we an come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: ” (Eph. 4:11-15).
You must learn the truth, and love the truth (II Thes. 2:10) so much as to have a deep compassion for those who don’t have it, until it drives you to do what ever, to give it to them in love. That’s “Speaking the truth in love. ” That’s the answer. Tell the truth of this Apostolic doctrine, but do it in love. “Don’t prove a point, save a soul”.
“…For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more” (Luke 12:28).
SHARE THE LAMB
“Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lam \ according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: And the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb ” (Ex. 12:3-4).
In the above verse, it reveals that each house had to provide a Passover Lamb for their family. If each family wasn’t large enough to eat all of the lamb, then they were commanded to invite their neighbor over and join two households in order for the lamb to be consumed. The law commanded that they couldn’t have any lamb “left over” for another day. They would have to throw out what was left over and never were allowed to keep any of the Passover lamb to eat at a later date. If each family wasn’t large enough to consume the lamb they prepared for the Passover, then they were required by law to invite their neighbors over to SHARE THE LAMB, according to the number of souls.
John the Baptist introduced Jesus Christ in the New Testament as “The Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world ” (John l:29). Jesus became the ultimate sacrificial savior that we consume; We must SHARE the LAMB. As in the past, we today are required to call our neighbors and invite them to partake of the Lamb that was provided. We have more Jesus to save us from our sins than we could have in a life time. We have more power to deliver us from the bondage of corruption than we’ll ever use in a lifetime. We have more healing and miracles than we have people in our Churches. We must SHARE THE LAMB with the world. There is more Savior than our single Church could ever use. We must invite our cities into the House of God and SHARE the LAMB.
God forbid that we selfishly try to keep Jesus all to ourselves. God forbid that we stuff ourselves with all this word, all this truth, all this power and glory into our souls and let our neighbors die lost. We have a mandate from God to SHARE THE LAMB.
“And I sought for a man among, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: But I found none” (Ez. 22:30).
“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? then said I, Here Am I; send me” (Is. 6:8.
Who will go for the Lord and seek and save the lost.
BACK TO ACTS
“But Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, And unto the uttermost part of the earth ” (Acts 1:8).
In the following pages, I will attempt to unveil the overwhelming purpose of the early Church: Getting the gospel of Jesus Christ into every home on the face of the earth. During the post resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples on numerous occasions. Over and over again, Jesus commanded His disciples to “GO INTO ALL THE WORLD AND PREACH THE GOSPEL TO EVERY CREATURE” (Mark 16:15). Impossible as it seemed the disciples believed that they could do what Jesus commanded them to do. Though Satan, the world, and religion opposed the disciples with much resistance; still the early Church evangelized their world. The early Church believed in evangelism so deeply, they gave their very lives to witness this precious truth of the gospel to every soul they came in contact with.
REVELATION AND RESPONSIBILITY
There’s been times that I have traveled over seas which took me away from home for weeks. Before leaving, I would go to my wife, and each of my children and tell them that I loved them. Sure, I could have told my son to make sure he took out the garbage, or tell my daughter to see to it that she cleaned her room; but those things were not the most important last words I wanted to say to them.
Before Jesus left the earth to ascend into heaven, the most important and last words he said was “You shall receive POWER, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me…” Notice, Jesus said WITNESSING would follow receiving the POWER of the Holy Ghost. The scripture emphatically records that no one can declare Jesus as Lord without the Holy Ghost (I Cor. 12:3). And equally important, the Revelations of God’s word can only come by the Holy Ghost which teaches us by comparing spiritual things with spiritual things (I Cor. 2:10).
According to Matthew’s account, Jesus said that He had received all power in Heaven and Earth, then commanded His disciples to GO into all the world and preach the gospel (Matt 28:18-19). Luke wrote that Jesus said His disciples would be “endued with POWER from on high and that they were WITNESSES of these things” (Luke 24:48-49). The early Church received both POWER and WITNESS in the same upper room experience. To receive the POWER of the Holy Ghost, was to become a WITNESS.
When the disciples received the baptism of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost, they received the POWER of Revelation. The disciples received the supernatural dynamics of God’s Spirit. Jesus said, “Howbeit, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into ALL truth” (John 16:13). It is through the Holy Ghost that the full revelation of truth is revealed. Full Bible doctrine can only come through the baptism of the Holy Ghost (1 Cor. 2:13).
However, when the disciples received the baptism of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost, they also received the RESPONSIBILITY to be WITNESSES. With this Bible truth comes responsibility. In the same Holy Ghost experience, we received revelation and responsibility.
Every Christian must come to the realization, that they’ve received both POWER and WITNESS from the same altar. If you have the baptism the Holy Ghost, you must be a witness. If you claim to be a Christian, your duty is to be a witness.
The truth is, tongue talkers are supposed to be soul winners. The first automatic reaction to receiving the Holy Ghost, was you wanted to tell someone. That is the mind of the Spirit. When you received the Holy Ghost, you received the Spirit of God, and “God so raved the world, that he gave…” (Jn. 3:16). We received a “God Love” for the world when we received the Holy Ghost, and we must start giving truth to a lost world.
Apostolics are known for their doctrine and love for the truth. One of the greatest stigma’s conservative Pentecostals have received, however, is the attitude of, “Bless God we’ve got the truth.” Yes, it’s wonderful that we can claim such a blessed privilege, but let us not forges the awesome RESPONSIBILITY that comes with this great REVELATION. When we claim we have the truth, we also assume responsibility to WITNESS this truth to the whole world. For one to flaunt the power, he must also fulfil the purpose. We did not receive this mighty power to just use it on ourselves. We received the power in order to give us supernatural anointing to witness. In one verse, you received power and purpose, revelation, and responsibility, doctrine and declaration.
POWER AND DEMONSTRATION
Paul confessed that his preaching of the gospel was not with professionalism, but with power and demonstration of the Holy Ghost (I Cor. 2:4). Jesus didn’t say that we would receive the power OF the Holy Ghost, but rather, we would receive the power AFTER we receive the Holy Ghost. What I mean is the power and witness would be a BY-PRODUCT of the Holy Ghost. Holy Ghost filled people must maintain the power and witness of this great truth we received. We must maintain the same supernatural demonstration of the Spirit in our witness as did the first Pentecostals.
Paul said, “For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power” (I Cor. 4:20). “Word” in this verse is “Logos” meaning truth, doctrine. The word “power” is the Greek word “dunamis”, meaning, supernatural, miraculous power. Paul’s main issue in chapter three and four of I Corinthians was the growing and establishing of the Church. The Corinthians Church had turned it’s attention upon the oratorical skills of Apollos and political position of Peter. Paul boldly asserted that no matter how many “instructors” the Corinthians had, they were won to God by himself. Paul was asserting that he was a soul winner, who won them to Jesus Christ while others could only build upon what he had already laid.
Revival is never sustained by revelation alone. Revival will come to pass by revelation and RESPONSIBILITY. Paul received the revelation of this Christian truth and accepted the full responsibility of going publicly and house to house witnessing the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul, through the POWER of the supernatural, witnessed the gospel to every soul he came in contact with. Paul wasn’t satisfied to merely preach to already saved people, but assumed the same responsibility of Jesus Christ, and went every where preaching the gospel. The New Testament Church refused to receive the revelation of Jesus Christ, and keep it to themselves. Praise God, they PROCLAIMED the gospel with POWER.
No Church has ever grown, nor will it ever grow by just possessing the truth. Church growth and revival will only come by GIVING the truth you possess to someone who doesn’t posses it. The mere “holding your own” attitude must leave any Church, if that Church wishes to experience revival. Revival is a product of the Church realizing her responsibility to proclaim the gospel, not simply possessing the truth. No Church can expect to grow all because they’ve received a revelation. The Church that experiences revival will be the Church that proclaims, publishes, and propels their revelation.
The success of the early Church can be linked to this “POWER WITNESS”. Who would deny that the New Testament Church operated in the supernatural power of the Holy Ghost. The gifts of the Spirit was in their Churches. Their preaching was with anointing and mighty unction. New converts would go to church walking and leaping and praising God (Acts 3:8). In order to secure revival in the 90’s, we must operate our Churches in the POWER of the Holy Ghost. We can’t offer our cities a dead lifeless religion. We can’t submit the hard facts of truth without the power and life of the Spirit.
I’ve witnessed Christians over the past 20 years who received the truth, but have done little of nothing with it. I’ve also seen through the years, Churches, who’ve in hopes of growing, conformed to denominational deadness, trying to identify with the status quo. If we would look at religious denominationalism, we would realize that they’re not growing, because they have no POWER. Read the facts yourself, the denominational Churches are declining in numbers, because they’re dead. No one wants to join a dying system. If you wish to grow my friend, your preaching, your worship, your singing and your church services must come alive in the POWER of the Holy Ghost.
I’ve read many books, lately, from non Pentecostals instructing their peoples and denominations to “fire up” their church services, singing and preaching so they can grow. Tony Compolo wrote one book entitled, “How To Be Pentecostal Without Speaking In Tongues”, in which he was admonishing Baptist, Presbyterians and other non Pentecostal organizations to liven up their churches with the power of the Holy Ghost. Let me encourage you my friend, to go back to the same upper room altar and received a good old fashion baptism of Holy Ghost fire and become a flaming evangel. We must begin praying that God will pour out his Holy Ghost power and unction upon us all over again (Tit. 3:5).
THE COMMANDMENT OF POWER AND WITNESS
“And being assembled together with them, COMMANDED them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father…But ye SHALL receive POWER after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye SHALL be WITNESSES…” (Acts 1:4,8).
Many denominations have argued about whether the Holy Ghost baptism was a commandment or not. Jesus, however, commanded His disciples to wait at Jerusalem until they received the Holy Ghost: “And being assembled together with them, COMMANDED them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence “(Acts 1:45).
Paul writes: “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His (Rom. 8:9). The Scriptures are too numerous to list every
reference concerning the necessity of receiving the Holy Ghost in this chapter. However, the baptism in the Spirit is a MUST in order to be BORN AGAIN (John 3:5). Therefore, if the Holy Ghost was a command, then in the same verse, WITNESSING is a command. Jesus was, in essence, saying in acts 1:8; “Ye SHALL receive power and Ye SHALL be witnesses”.
I’ve heard many, so called, Christians try to argue whether soul winning is a command or not. There are those who may argue with me, but they can’t argue with the Bible. Notice the following verses of scripture where Jesus is quoted:
“All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the NAME of the
Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have COMMANDED YOU: (Matt. 28:1820).
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature ” (Mark 16:15).
“And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in HIS name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are WITNESSES of these things” (Luke 24:47-48).
Jesus gave forth a mighty command for His followers to be witnesses, in which no one will refute. We must obey Jesus’ command and witness the truth to the lost. Soul winning is a commandment, not an option. Salvation is given to anyone who OBEYS the Lord Jesus (Heb. 5:9). In fact, we are admonished strongly that all face the judgements of flaming fire who don’t obey the gospel of Jesus Christ (2 Thes. 1:8). I agree with you, that this is a hard thing to swallow; but none the less it’s true. We Christians must wake up and realize that we are commanded by Jesus Christ to witness. Sometimes I get the impression that we either don’t care that the lost are going to hell or that we are just too lazy to care. Somewhere, somehow, we must take this soul winning business serious. I’m praying that God baptize the Church with a revelation and realization of the command to seek and save the lost.
WITNESSING AND WINNING
“And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, the Kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. But into whatsoever city ye enter and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: not withstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you” (Luke 10:9-11).
Many have confused witnessing with preaching, teaching Bible studies, exhortation, and the likes. Witnessing is telling your experiences with Jesus Christ to another person who has not received, nor experienced the same. You must witness with the purpose to win. You will not win everyone you witness to, but you go with that intention in mind. This is where many fail. If they can’t win everyone they witness to, then they begin to think they are failing in their witnessing. Jesus didn’t win everyone he witnessed to, end neither will you. However, Jesus never stopped witnessing, and neither can we.
I have found that in my years of soul winning experience, that too often Pentecostals have gone out with the mind set just to TELL them. I’ve heard Pentecostals stand and testify in church and say how they were talking to their neighbor and they “TOLD them”. Some Christians have even bragged that they “told them like it was, bless God! ” Jesus didn’t intend for us to just “TELL” the lost, but rather to SAVE the lost. Truth must be told, but we must have an attitude and spirit to WIN souls, not merely tell them. Compassion and love must accompany our witnessing. We are admonished by scripture to “speak the truth in LOVE “(Eph. 4:15).
SHEPHERDS AND SHEEP
“What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, cloth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing” (Luke 15:4-5).
I remember teaching a Home Bible Study seminar years ago in a church where the Pastor hadn’t won a soul to Jesus personally since he was there. I had preached that sheep begat sheep, end that every Christian must produce in order to be saved. The pastor came to me after service with a smile and said, “I’m a shepherd, not a sheep; that doesn’t apply to me.” I turned to his dismay, and said, “Every Christian is first a sheep to our chief shepherd Jesus Christ, before we are an under shepherd” (I Peter 5:4). Needless to say he didn’t expect that, nor did he like it very much. It’s bad when the pastor doesn’t win souls.
If the pastor wants the church he pastors to be a soul winning church, he must be a soul winner. Even Paul said, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1). As Jesus was a soul winner, Paul was a soul winner, and we must be a soul winner. Jesus is seen as going out and finding sheep and bringing him back in the fold in Luke 15:3-7. Before any man can become a shepherd, he must first be a sheep. It was Jesus, our Chief Shepherd that said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt. 4:19).
FIRST THINGS FIRST
“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42).
The first Church started with the basics. We as new Christians and church must go back to the basics if we are expected to grow as did the first Church. Notice, the early Church were consistent in four areas:
1. Continue in Apostolic Doctrine
3. Witnessing 4. Prayer
These four basic subjects were the primary subjects for revival. There is no Church that has ever experienced a continuous, long lasting revival, that hasn’t secured itself in these four basic revival principles.
1. Consistent discipleship training in the doctrines of Jesus Christ (Heb. 5:12-14). New convert courses are a must in order to establish new Christians in the truth of God’s word. A weekly New Converts Class is the best way to implement an ongoing discipleship training course.
2. Fellowship with other Christian believers instead of old sinner friend of the world (II Cor. 6:4). Many new converts backslide within the first week because they feel like they don’t fit in the new church environment. Fellowship is a very important part of revival.
3. House to house witnessing and soul winning.. Supper at a sinner’s house, or have a sinner for dinner. (Acts 2:46, 20:20).
4. Daily prayer in the temple and in their homes. (Acts 3:1). Prayer is a major part of revival. Without it, you’ll not have revival for very long. Prayer keeps the hot flame of revival burning.
BACK TO ACTS
“And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the Church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. Therefore they that were scatter abroad went every where preaching the word (Acts 8:1,4).
It has always amazed me how persecution caused the early Church to grow. Somehow, persecution was supposed to hinder us from having revival today. The problem is, we live in a soft world that fears pain. This age of Western Civilization is too passive and weak. Revival will come without sacrifice. The Church will never receive power without pain. We’ll never bless unless we bleed. You are not a Christian without a cross. We never receive the promise without a price. What I’m trying to say is that revival won’t just come to you accidentally. If you have revival, you’ll WORK for it, and work hard and long. Revival is not for softies.
The first Church grew daily and even “Multiplied”. You might ask, “How did they do it so fast?” Simple, the whole Church went out soul winning, not just the preachers and a few leaders. Notice, the above verse says that the Church “… went everywhere preaching the Word…” (Acts 8:4). The word “preaching”, means, to tell, witness or testify. Today we have it confused with thinking that preaching is what the Pastor does in the church behind the pulpit. When it says that the Church went everywhere preaching, it meant that they went everywhere WITNESSING.
The secret to the early Apostolic Church’s revival was the saints went out soul winning everywhere. In the book of Acts, the majority of the Church was out witnessing, whereas today the minority goes out witnessing. Today’s Church has about 10% doing all of the work of saving souls, while 90% watch. If we went the same results today that the first Church had, we must DO whet they did. We must go BACK TO ACTS.
There are too many Christians who are looking for the Church to MINISTER to their needs, while the world is going to hell. Pastors are expending every ounce of their spiritual wisdom and anointing to minister to the saved, while the lost dies starving. “Ask not what your church can do for you, but ask what you can do for your church”. Don’t become an expense, become a payment. Don’t be a sponge and drain the ministry dry, be a spout and fill the Church up with your outflow.
THE PERFECT VISION
“And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, ‘and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:20-21).
The perfect vision, according to an optometrist, is called 20/20 vision. The perfect Church vision is 20/20 vision as well. That is,
Acts 20:20 vision. This is the bottom line secret that brought a mighty revival to the world in the early Church. The Mormons mislead millions with their false doctrine, while using the New Testament principle of “House to House”. The Jehovah’s Witness’ and the Watchtower pollutes millions of lost souls with their heresy with this same New Testament principle of door to door witnessing. Though the Christian world may despise these two cults, still from house to house they go. They convert hundreds and thousands of people yearly.
We, as true Christians, with the simple truth of the New Testament, are unheard of to millions, because we sit silent in our four walls of our Churches. The reasons being that we have become pew fillers instead of street preachers. The Church today has gotten something in our spiritual eyes and has blurred our vision. We must flush our eyes out with tears of compassion that we may see clearly with a perfect vision. We must pray that God anoint us a fresh and anew with our first love we received the first night we received the Holy Ghost.
“Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left they first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove they candlestick out of his place, except thou repent” (Rev. 2:4-5).
“Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Prov. 29:18).
You could hear the chains rattle as Paul stretched out his hands in response to King Agrippa’s permission to speak.
Paul’s voice was strong, clear and very eloquent. His wit could match the best and as he spoke, it became evident that he had mastered the art of persuasion. Beyond Paul’s polemic dexterity, there was a very clear and obvious anointing that reached past intelligence and grabbed the heart of every soul listening.
Paul didn’t waste any time getting to the heart of his message. “At midday, O King, I saw in the way a light from heaven…” As Paul began to explain to the King in vivid detail, the words of Jesus: “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest,” the Pharisees grew restless. Everyone in the courtroom that day knew Paul’s formal occupation of persecuting and even killing those who he now claimed to be a part of, but no one dared to speak.
Paul spoke with convincing tones of how that this Jesus appeared to him ‘/or this PURPOSE, to make them a MINISTER and a WITNESS…to open their EYES, and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins…” He paused as he took a few steps forward, lifting his head to the heavens. The chains dangled from his arms when he lifted his hands upwards as to demonstrate the day he sew the “VISION”. Paul began to speak. His eyes seemed to turn from the face of Jesus right into the dead center of King Agrippa’s heart. Slowly and authoritatively, Paul spoke: Whereupon, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly VISION.”
At this point, who would not stand to applaud this great Apostle Paul for his daring bravery to surrender his life for this “VISION OF PURPOSE?” Every preacher, called of God, had to have seen this VISION FOR REVIVAL in some way, shape, or form. Every saint of God has even seen this vision somewhere in their walk with God. So let me ask you, have you had a “Vision for Revival?” If not, why not? It’s true, we all have seen this vision. The problem is, are we now blind? Have our eyes grown dim as did Eli, the high priest. It was while Eli’s eyes grew dim, that his sons brought worldliness and sin into the sanctuary. It was during this time of “FAILED VISION”, that the ARK of God was taken and Ichabod was born in the house of God. While Hophni and Phinehas lay dead in the pool of their own blood, Eli, their father, fell backward and broke his neck. “Where there is no VISION, the people perish.”
When the leadership’s vision for revival grows dim, death is inevitable. When a Church looses their vision, they loose the Glory of
God as well. Jesus warned that if the blind lead the blind, both would fall into the ditch. I realized that if I loose my VISION FOR REVIVAL, my church looses their vision as well. If the Glory of God leaves us, we’re as good as dead. Every horrible story you read about in I Samuel chapter three and on came from one verse: “When Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see” (I Sam. 3:2). Woe unto us if we ever have this verse written on our epithet.
Let us return to the prayer room of revival experience and pray God give us a fresh VISION FOR REVIVAL.
“Back To Acts” is a simple message to stir the hearts of every Apostolic believer to be a witness. It is our attempt to say, let’s go
beck to the Gospel. There is a lost end dying city, nation, and world out there waiting for us.
“Say not ye, there are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? Behold I say unto you, lift up your Byes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest “(John 4:35).
May God help us to see it.
Other books by P.T. McClure
Jesus was a Soul Winner
Is There Not A Cause?
Know the Truth Discipleship Course
Foundation of Faith Discipleship Course
Great Soul Winning Tracts by P.T. McClure
What Must I Do To Be Saved
What’s Wrong With The Name Of Jesus
Must I Be Baptized To Be Saved
Have You Received The Holy Ghost Since You Believed
Faith Without Works Is Dead
Can Just Being Good Get You Into Heaven
Is God Three Persons
No Other Gospel
How Did Jesus Wear His Hair
1855 Lansing St.
Melbourne, Florida 32935
Pastor P.T. McClure was born on July 20,1955. He was raised in Baltimore, Maryland. Pastor McClure received the Holy Ghost on October 1, 1972 and was Baptized in Jesus’ name on November 4, 1972. Pastor McClure accepted his call to preach in the summer of 1975. He and his family moved to Jacksonville, Florida in 1976 for the training he would need in order to start a church. He moved to Melbourne, Florida in 1980, and founded Bible Truth Church. The first Sunday morning there were 13 people in attendance, and Sunday night there were 30 people in attendance. Eleven years later, Bible Truth’s attendance has grown into the hundreds.
Pastor McClure believes the single most important reason for our powerful revival services and Church growth has been prayer. He has maintained a consistent daily prayer life and he believes it to be an absolute essential for every Christian as well as the Church’s spiritual success.
From the very first year that Pastor McClure received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, he has been a soul winner. Saving souls has been his heart beat for nearly 20 years. In the past decade, Pastor McClure has baptized nearly 1500 people in Jesus’ name, and has witnessed some 2000 people receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Pastor McClure has ministered throughout the United States, England, Caribbean, and Virgin Islands, challenging churches for revival and evangelism. He believes that every Christian can become an effective soul winner.
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY TRUTH PUBLICATIONS, 1855 LANSING ST., MELBOURNE, FLORIDA 32935, 1987, PAGES 1-57.
THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.