It is Sunday at 6:00AM and I am making the finishing touches to my Power Point presentation for my sermon this morning. My sermon is on Acts 4:12-13:
"Salvation is found in no one else, for these is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. When they (the Rulers and Elders of the people) saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled ordinary men, they took note that these men had been with Jesus".
I have been thinking and doing (poorly lately) evangelism for many years. I have found the exact opposite is true of what most people think. I find that the more straightforward and the clearer we are the better. I call it being militant. The churches that grow are simply the churches that have a very clear missionary mindset. They invite people to church and preach the gospel because they believe people are going to hell and missing out on life without Christ. The message is rightly seen as urgent. So I am pretty old school.
The problem is that many such Christian's are shallow and religious in a bad way. So where is the balance. "Don't throw the baby out with the old bath water". Be like the book of ACTS in every way. Quality community and intimate fellowship (be real) and be militant in evangelism.
In this passage Peter is very clear and bold. He speaks the truth to his peers and he speaks the truth to power. He calls the people on their sin saying twice and throughout the book that they killed the Christ both the people in general and the powers that be. Peter is straight up on the issues of salvation. Guilt is real and forgiveness and salvation in this life and the next is in the name of Jesus alone. Peter calls them to decision immediately calling for the people to repent and Peter is successful.
This is being courageous and urgent and passionate. These qualities are seen by those who saw Jesus as qualities of the Son of God. Jesus was wise and compassionate and gracious and evangelistically courageous.
The key is to have the whole balanced mix of these moral attributes as the DNA of the Church.