Monday, February 26, 2007


The Call to Evangelize (cont'd.) 794. Evangelism in Ephesus All the roads of Asia converged on Ephesus, and all the inhabitants of Asia visited Ephesus from time to time, to buy or sell, visit a relative, frequent the baths, attend the games in the stadium, watch a drama in the theatre, or worship the goddess. And while they were in Ephesus, they heard of this Christian lecturer named Paul, who was both speaking and answering questions for five hours in the middle of every day. Evidently many dropped in, listened and were converted. They then returned to their towns and villages as born-again believers. Thus the gospel must have spread to the Lycus valley and to its chief towns Colosse, Laodicea and Hierapolis, which Epaphras had visited but Paul had not, and perhaps to the remaining five of the seven churches of Revelation 2 and 3, namely Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis and Philadelphia. This is a fine strategy for the great university and capital cities of the world. If the gospel is reasonably, systematically and thoroughly unfolded in the city centre, visitors will hear it, embrace it and take it back with them to their homes. When we contrast much contemporary evangelism with Paul's, its shallowness is immediately shown up. Our evangelism tends to be too ecclesiastical (inviting people to church), whereas Paul also took the gospel out into the secular world; too emotional (appeals for decision without an adequate basis of understanding), whereas Paul taught, reasoned and tried to persuade; and too superficial (making brief encounters and expecting quick results), whereas Paul stayed in Corinth and Ephesus for five years, faithfully sowing gospel seed and in due time reaping a harvest. --From "The Message of Acts" (The Bible Speaks Today series: Leicester: IVP, 1990), p. 314.
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