Theology and Practice of Evangelism - Lesson 13

The Spirit is Working

In this lesson, Dr. Tuttle talks about the work of the Spirit of God in ministry, emphasizing the importance of remembering and trusting the Spirit. He urges listeners to be utterly dependent upon God and to do the hard work in preaching. He shares his personal experience of trusting the Spirit and losing his train of thought during a lecture. He also provides context for Paul's second missionary journey, discussing Paul's conversion and early ministry, Peter's vision and the conversion of Gentiles, and Saul's teaching on Jesus and the Old Testament prophecies.

Robert Tuttle, Jr.
Theology and Practice of Evangelism
Lesson 13
Watching Now
The Spirit is Working

I. The Spirit of God in Ministry

A. Remembering the Work of the Spirit

B. Trusting the Spirit in Preaching

C. Being Utterly Dependent Upon God

II. The Context of Paul's Second Missionary Journey

A. Paul's Conversion and Early Ministry

B. Peter's Vision and the Conversion of Gentiles

C. Saul's Teaching on Jesus and the Old Testament Prophecies

  • In order to share the Gospel, you must know what it meant, and how people are understanding what you are saying. The gospel core is the least you can believe and still be a Christian. If the least you can believe is sufficient to get you saved, then the least you can believe is the most you can require of anyone.
  • Christianity is the only world religion with an understanding of grace. Your most important ministry will be helping people understand how much God loves them. The heart of the gospel is that God loves you. Sin happens when we attempt to live as if there is no God. God, since the fall has done everything he can to establish relationship. God wants to make himself known to you in a way that you can understand.
  • At the Fall, Satan gained control of the world. Jesus takes it back in Revelation 5 because he meets the qualifications. The core elements of the sermons of the apostles are authoritative proofs, prophecies fulfilled, God’s activities described, apostolic eyewitnesses and miracles proclaimed. You will be heard with authority to the degree you are willing to put your life on the line. You die spiritually when you rationalize sin. Wind moves from high pressure to low pressure. We access the power of the Spirit by repenting and believing. Two sins mentioned throughout scripture are self-reliance and oppressing the poor.
  • The lesson tells the story of a professor who faces personal struggles and overcomes them with the help of faith, healing, and learning to overcome sin, ultimately showing that it's possible to prevail over life's challenges with God's guidance.
  • Through this lesson, you learn the core components of the gospel message, its theological themes, and how to effectively communicate it for evangelism purposes.
  • In this lesson, you gain insight into leveraging your personal, church, and wider spheres of influence to effectively share the Gospel, overcome challenges, and expand your evangelistic reach.
  • Gain insights into ministry experiences and the power of faith, prayer, personal testimony, and baptism stories to navigate emergency situations that are bigger than yourself.
  • You will learn from this lesson that you are uniquely equipped to minister to those in your sphere of influence and that the church is indispensable for your survival. By treating others with respect and recognizing each person's importance, the church can become the living, breathing body of Jesus Christ.
  • In this lesson, you will learn that people are often hurting, angry, lonely, or tired, ministry requires dependence on God and rejection is important, preaching the text is key, our weaknesses can be our strengths, and close community is crucial for doing the work of the kingdom, while leading someone to Christ without providing ample opportunity for growth and nurture is a mistake.
  • In this lesson, you will learn about Charlie Haley, a man with a pastoral background who is currently involved in retreat ministry and considering going into the mission field abroad. The lesson covers topics related to evangelism and ministry, including tract ministry, follow-up and discipleship, and the importance of love and forgiveness within one's sphere of influence. The lesson also discusses the importance of building relationships and addressing felt needs with spiritual solutions.
  • This lecture begins as Dr. Tuttle is relating a story about a lady he met on an airplane. Jesus chose people as disciples that he could demonstrate by showing and telling them, and then depend on them to reproduce what they had been shown and taught. When Jesus gets too close, we raise the religious question to change the subject. As a result of the sin in the garden, we lost our ability to perceive reality beyond the senses. The Holy Spirit came, not to compensate for the absence of Jesus, but to guarantee his presence. We hold the truth, but the world sets the agenda and has the right to ask its own questions.
  • Often, it is implied that once you commit your life to Christ, all your problems are solved. The Hebrew concept of soul is body, mind and spirit. The Greek concept is that soul and body are separate, and that soul is good and body is evil. Prophecy and spiritual gifts are essential for the body of Christ to function. In the teaching in mainline churches, there is sometimes a disconnect between faith and life.
  • Trusting the Spirit of God is the key in this lesson. By remembering and trusting the Spirit, one can be utterly dependent upon God and do the hard work in preaching. Dr. Tuttle shares his personal experience of trusting the Spirit and provides context for Paul's second missionary journey, including Paul's conversion and early ministry, Peter's vision, and the conversion of Gentiles. The Spirit of God also taught Saul how Jesus fulfilled all of the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah.
  • Through a deep exploration of Wesley's Methodism and Calvin's Reformed tradition, you gain an understanding of their respective theological frameworks, evangelistic strategies, and lasting influences on modern evangelism.
  • Through this lesson, you grasp the significance of Wesley's Societies, their organizational structure, theological practices, and the lasting impact on modern church practices.
  • By exploring the Ethiopian Eunuch story, you gain insights on divine guidance, Scripture's role in evangelism, and early church inclusivity, while learning to apply practical evangelistic lessons.
  • Through this lesson, you learn to effectively share the gospel through action evangelism by understanding its theological basis, applying key principles, employing various methods, and overcoming common obstacles.
  • You gain insights into action evangelism's importance, principles, and various methods, while learning to overcome fears and obstacles, and equipping others for effective Gospel sharing.

Dr. Tuttle teaches three critical points around evangelism: how to share your faith story, what evangelism is and how to approach it, and that God has more invested in evangelism than we do – He is in control. God is at work. He wants us to, "show up and pay attention [to the Spirit]," and to care about people enough to "press" them by asking probing questions about what they think and what's going on in their lives.

Evangelism is essentially about the core of the Gospel, ministering in your sphere of influence and sustaining those you reach.

Recommended Books

Can We Talk: Sharing Your Faith in a Pre-Christian World

Can We Talk: Sharing Your Faith in a Pre-Christian World

Those who serve on mission fields in areas where Christian faith is not the dominant religion quickly come to understand a central truth: when one is sharing the gospel, one...

Can We Talk: Sharing Your Faith in a Pre-Christian World

Dr. Robert Tuttle, Jr.
Theology and Practice of Evangelism
The Spirit is Working
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:00] This whole weekend. We're emphasizing the work of the spirit in a place like this and a venue like this is like bringing coals to Newcastle. I realize that. But we have lousy memories. You've heard me say, as Christians, we tend to remember and forget, remember and forget, remember and forget. Outside community, mostly we forget. What do you get to be my age? Last night we said that Jesus sends us his spirit not to compensate for his absence, but to guarantee his presence. I believe that the Spirit of God is in this play. Has more invested in this class than we do. I believe the Spirit of God's work in all of your spheres of influence, preparing people for your ministry, A word to God. You could really believe that. It changed your life. It doesn't mean you take yourself too seriously, but it means you're dead serious about God. I don't want you ever to think you are God. Some people have that problem. But if you could just believe that the Spirit of God is already at work, that's my only hope. I get out of bed this morning. Beg God to help me. Please, God, help me. These folks deserve better than I can give them. God, would you help me today? This whole day, so that what you hear is better than what I'm saying? That's what I want. Please, God. Give me that kind of anointing where what these students here is better than what I'm saying. Whenever you walk into the pulpit, what do you do? God help me remember what I need to remember and forget what I need to forget.

[00:02:15] Don't take a manuscript into the pulpit. There's no manuscript alive. You can't master in 2 hours. Work with a manuscript. I want you to work with the manuscript. I want you to do the hard work. If you don't know how to write, you'll never be articulate. But I want you to read that manuscript now. You might not want to take this advice, and that's okay. But there's something about trusting the Spirit of God to enable me to remember what I need to remember and to forget what I need to forget. I used to panic every time I'd lose my train of thought. And then I realized if it's important, it'll come back to me. And it always does, if it's important. So I can be more relaxed. I can enjoy doing what I'm doing and I can trust the spirit of God. I've done my homework. I had a dream the other morning, a nightmare just two days ago. I told Diane this. So she's really been praying for me. They had this dream between four and five in the morning. I dreamt that I was not prepared for a lecture. And I looked up halfway through my lecture and half the class was gone. And then I went somewhere else to review my notes and and so I could be better prepared. I came back and there was no one in the room. It does not get any worse than that. I used to have a dream about being in a play, and I was the only one who did not know. His line. And I thought I had to ad lib the whole thing. It was hell. Everyone knew where it was going but me. Can I tell you what it'll mean to you to be able to trust the Spirit of God? You hear me, precious? Life's too big for you.

[00:04:11] You'll never do it on your own. I'm sorry if anybody in this room could do it on their own. You'd probably be it. But you don't have a prayer. You don't have a chance. Only way in the world. You can pull this off. Must be utterly dependent upon God. Now, that's that's the lesson this text will teach you. You're going to love it. And take the straight stuff this early in the morning. I'm telling you, if it gets too good, just reach out and grab on to somebody. If you got to go up. Take somebody with you. Starting with me. Just take me with you. Grab on. Let's go. Paul and his companions. Who that who who might that be? If you've read the previous chapter, you know he's talking about Silas and Timothy. This is a beginning of a second missionary journey. May I give you the context? Oh, you're interested and stop me if I've done this before. I don't think I have. Paul was converted. When? When, though? What year was he converted? Give or take. What? 35? Not close enough. Where was he converted? Get out of here. I'm stumbling, stumbling around blind, wondering what in the Sam Hill just ran over is what it means to be saved. I know some United Methodist will finally qualify. He was saved when Anna and a nice lady hands on him. And the scale cell felt that that Damascus road was an attitude adjustment. He was saved on an and I was laid hands on him and the scales fell from his eyes and he was filled with the whole list, I think normally were filled with the Holy Spirit when we're saved. Now there's exceptions to that. Act eight is an exception.

[00:06:06] The Samaritans, where God intentionally withheld the baptism of the Holy Spirit until John and Peter got there and can see with their own eyes how the Holy Spirit could be poured out on these half breeds in Samaria, exactly the same way the Holy Spirit was poured out on those perished Jews at Pentecost. I mean, it really got Peter's attention. So much so that it goes to Jaffa. What do you do in Jaffa? It's just in the previous chapters here, children. Stay with home. No. I've been to his house. Supposedly close. I bet I've been close. This kind of walk on the streets of old Jaffa. What's up, Mustang with a tanner. Listen, if you're a Jew, you can't stand downwind from a tanner without being unclaimed for weeks. I mean, Peter is so impressed with what the spirit could do with these half breeds in area. He goes and stays with a tanner. You don't do that. Especially Peter. Peter carried a flint knife. Really sharp flat knife. I got one. This is not one. I got a flint knife. Someone gave me one. While he's in prayer, he has this vision of the sheep being lowered. Have we talked about this? Of a sheep being lowered? And filled with animals and the voice from on high, says Peter, killing eight. And Peter says, Woe not me. I'm not going to eat that, which is not been sanctified. And the voice from heaven says, How dare you call and sanctified that which I unholy, that which I have sanctified. How dare you? And even as the version is concluding, there's a knock at the door. I, by the way, has a vision twice, I think. But there's a knock at the door. Who's at the door? Just giving you the context of this passage.

[00:08:12] Who's at the door? The servants of Cornelius. Now, we're not talking half breeds, folks. We're talking full blown pagans, Gentiles. The next day, Peter goes with the servants of Cornelius to Salisbury, a Roman place. I'll take you there. I mean, it's a great place. You can see where Paul made his defense. I stood on the on the stage. I'll take you there where you can see where Paul made his defense before Agrippa. You can drop a penny. On the stage and every everyone is a quarter. You. Everyone in the theater can hear it. It's amazing the acoustics in this place. Anyway, when Peter shows up at the house, the Cornelius. The Spirit of God had our done the work. When Peter and John got to Somalia, the Spirit of God had already done the work. All they had to do was lay hands on and know what happened the moment they touched them. The spirit of God was poured out on. They they were filled with it, including tongues, by the way. They were filled with the Holy Spirit, the same way those Jews perished. Jews. We're filled with the spirit of Pentecost. All I had to do was to show up. Peter is so impressed with the way the spirit is being poured out. Own Samaritans and Gentiles. He goes to Antioch. Now. When Saul was converted 35 or so, he tried to preach in Damascus, remember, immediately. And of course, they don't trust him because he went to Damascus. By the way, Damascus perhaps is one of a half dozen most cosmopolitan cities in the world. Right up there with Singapore, Hong Kong, Rio. New York, perhaps San Francisco right up there. But you're only going to go once. It's a nice place, but you can do Damascus once you've ready to do it twice.

[00:10:27] But he tries to preach in Damascus and they don't trust him. And after a couple of weeks, they threaten to kill him. And so what are the apostles do? They send him off into the desert. He may have hung out with some kind of. Who knows? Zoroastrian mystics or something. Mega. But you know what the Spirit of God did? Saul Probably. I think two years some people think three. Some people said, think 14 years. That's ridiculous, in my opinion. But they pay probably. Is there a couple of years? You know what the Spirit of God did for him? He didn't get this in the pieces. I got this from on high. What did the Spirit of God teach you? The Spirit of God for at least two years taught Saul how Jesus fulfilled all of those 300 plus Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah. But isn't this interesting? How God works. The Spirit of God teaches Saul how Jesus Christ fulfills all of those Old Testament prophecies. That's the book of Matthew is attempting to prove how Jesus fulfills those Old Testament prophecies. Mark probably is taking the words of Peter. There are people who are smarter than I am and just agree with me on that. But I think those are probably mostly the words of Peter, the experiences of Peter. Mark is transcribing the experiences of Peter. Luke, of course, is the doctor. And John. But anyway. After a couple of years, he comes back to Damascus, get this and tries again to preach. But these folks in Damascus have long memories. After a couple of weeks, they threatened to kill him again. And so Barnabas has to lure him out of a window in the wall. To get him out of town.

[00:12:15] It takes him down to Jerusalem and only two of the apostles even look at him. This is at least two years after his conversion, but the apostles are still afraid of him. Only Peter and John. And so was Paul trying to do so. Still, Saul was Saul tried to do. He tried to preach in Jerusalem and they threaten him again. And so finally, a sponsorship him up to Caesarea. And then eventually he goes up to Tarsus, where he was raised as a Roman citizen, and then eventually he works his way back down to Antioch, where he he he becomes a part of a fellowship, a church. The first place to call the church, church and Christians, Christians. That's a Gentile church. Understand? So Peter and Caesarea, after this attitude adjustment, not much less than Paul's Damascus Road experience, goes to Antioch to check out this church. Among the gentle Saul is there now named been changed to Paul or soon after. And Peter is mixing pretty well with these Gentiles. I mean. He's not getting dirty, but he's getting down. But James sends some Jews up from Jerusalem and who intimidate Peter. And Peter's not easily intimidated. Don't get bored with this. I'm going to more of this. So finally, Paul, not once, but twice dressed as Peter down the open, Stanley said You live like a gentile. Why don't you meet with them? So Peter gets on his trusty steed, goes back to Jerusalem. Paul and Barnabas go off on their first missionary journey. You know what happens during that first missionary journey? Everywhere they go, these judiciaires with their flat knives. Coming behind him. Paul and Barnabas. Get him free. Free him up in grace and judicious. Come back in behind him and put him back into bondage.

[00:14:07] Paul and Barnabas get him freed up. He's judicious with their flat knives. Come back. Come back behind him and put him back. Put the people back into bondage. I mean, imagine how frustrating that can be. Some of you know how frustrating that you've been there. Been there. Done that. Seeing that happen. So finally Paul says to Barnabas, This is clearly not working. We got to go to Jerusalem. So when does the Jerusalem Council. 49, 50. And he takes Titus with him. Do you understand? Titus was a what? A Greek. Imagine a Greek going in amongst all those flint knives, and they don't lay a hand on him. You know, we had some anxious moments, but they don't lay a hand on him. Anyway, they decide they make four stipulations. They said, You go ahead and preach to the Gentiles. Only four things. Don't be immoral as Gentiles are prone to be. Don't eat meat that's been strangled because the blood still in it. And blood is a symbol of life. It was the blood of Jesus who made the sacrifice. You understand that, don't you? Innocent blood of Jesus. We talk about in the lecture. It was not the innocents, by the way, that got made. The sacrifice. The sacrifice. Otherwise, Herod's sword could have made the sacrifice in Bethlehem's manger. It was not the innocence of Jesus. It was the righteousness. It was the obedience of Jesus without sin that made the sacrifice. He had to wait to the cross. That's good theology. Anyway. Don't eat meat that's been strangled. It don't eat meat, have been sacrificed items. It won't hurt you. But somebody is going to be is going to misunderstand. And remember the poor. It had to go to Galatians to ten to find that one.

[00:16:02] That's not an x 15. They're now read this. The content I just gave you the context of this. They're now ready for the second missionary journey. Paul and his companions travel throughout the region are frigid. Peter. With this plant lives back in Jerusalem with James and the apostles. They've already been on their first missionary journey. But the judicious came back in behind them. Now, listen to this. Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Frigid and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching in the promise of Asia. Evidently, the Spirit of God only opens doors. The Spirit of God. What? You believe that would regard you live like it? I want to be the kind of Christian where I can rejoice just as much when God closes doors as when God opens doors. I am not there, clearly. That's what it means to be sanctified. I want to be the kind of Christian where I rejoice just as much when God closes doors as when God opens doors because God knows what he's doing. Now that Greek doesn't have exclamation points. So when I want to emphasize something, it just says it all over again. Listen to this. When they came to the border of my Syria, they tried to interpret it by it, but the spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. God not only opens doors, God closes doors. So they passed by my seat and went down to Troy's. How about in Troy? As in January? January? It's a it's a great tale. You have arches, stone arches, the ruins of arches, 2000 years old that go right back to where when Paul was there and Luke Luke was raised, I think are people who are smarter than I am and disagree with me on that.

[00:17:49] But I think Luke was raised in protest because he joins them. There you see the great go to Trojan. You have been to Trojan. It's just it's just below that where the Dardanelles spill into into the sea, into the Aegean, but a great place. During the night, Paul had a vision of a man from Macedonia. What's the significance of that? Where's Macedonia? Present day. Greece. Northern Greece. And no and Mafia. There's actually a country of Macedonia. I'm sure you know that. But this was northern Greece back then. There are not enough Jews in Macedonia for a synagogue, folks. And all you have to have is ten married Jews. You got yourself a synagogue. This is the end of the world for a Jew. You understand? Absolute end of the universe. Listen to this. You won't believe this. Come over to Macedonia and help us. After Paul had seen the vision, we including Luke, we. Who's writing this? We got ready to get wants to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. Now, listen to this. You won't believe it from Troy as we put out to sea and sail straight for some entrance and the next day to Minneapolis. That's a modern town. It's called Kavala. Man, that's a great town. I love Kavala. Nicopolis. It's a little seaport. It's got an Acropolis with an old crusader fort lit up at night. And you can walk with your sweetheart along the promenade there where all the boats are tied up. Street lamps coming up, you know, great wide area, wonderful restaurants. Do you like that kind of thing? Well, yeah, you'd love it. But that's Nicopolis where they went into Nicopolis. But now, modern day Kavala. We went to Nicopolis.

[00:19:48] From there, we traveled to Phillippa. Now that's just up over the mountain. Annapolis is down on the sea. Go up over the mountain and drop right down into II. Now when Paul gets to Philippi. There's no synagogue and so on. Jews don't don't don't have a synagogue where they can pray. They usually look for running water because water is a symbol of life. And so there's a river run outside. This is really there. I'm saying I've been there, I've waited in this river, baptized and folks in that river, as a matter of fact. But there's a river really there. They're going out to the river to find a place to pray. And they run across a bunch of women. One of them is named Lydia. You know what the Bible said? You won't believe this. Now, this is the end of the universe for a Jew, right? The Bible says, in effect, and the Spirit of God had prepared Lydia's heart to receive Paul's message. When Paul gets to the end of the universe, who's there already? The Spirit of God is already there, preparing the hearts to receive Paul's message. See where we're going with this. I mean. Peter. John. Not so, Mary. The Spirit of God had done the work. I'll have to show up late. Hands on. The minute they put the Spirit of God report on almost Samaritan's exactly the same way the Spirit of God was poured down on those Jews before. Peter, didn't you have a chance to get his knife out of his pocket? And then it goes to goes to Cornelius before we had a chance to get his knife out of your pocket. This poor spirit of God had already done the work and the Spirit of God was poured out on a bunch of Gentiles.

[00:21:41] And a great. I mean, the Spirit of God really had done the work for us all. All the way in. And I don't know, I've heard about Saul all over and and I've had to do is show up and say and be obedient. And the scales fell from Saul's eyes. And when Paul gets the end of the universe. Don't you love this? The Spirit of God had prepared Lydia's heart to receive Paul's message. All I had to do was to be faithful, obedient, Speak the word. All you have to do. You should be faithful. I know it's not natural for some of you folks that not I'm not talking about being faithful, but to speak the word to folks who are not churched. Risk it. See what happens. Pray and just see what God can do. You'd be amazed. Life would be so much more interesting. I mean, life becomes. Pregnant. All of life becomes pregnant. You want some of that? Let's pray. Oh, my, my, my, my, my, my God. Are you really that way? Do you really do all that stuff? Where were you really? On that road to Damascus. And did you really call in a nice. To go and. Lay hands on sore. Did you really work through, Philip to lead those Samaritans to Jesus so that when Peter and John got there, all I had to do was to lay hands on those folks. And your spirit. Did you really pull your spirit out on those folks? Did you really go see Cornelius? You found a man who was obedient. Didn't know much about you, but had committed all that and knew of himself to all that and knew of you. So you went and found Peter and sent him to Cornelius, who laid hands on him.

[00:24:09] And your spirit was poured out on Cornelius in his whole household exactly the way your spirit was poured out on those Jews at Pentecost. You really are. Good God. Did you really? Were you really with Lydia, preparing her to receive Paul's message? Yeah, you were. You're that kind of a guy. And we can tell. And we could tell you're that kind of a god because we've experienced your love. Shed a abroad in our hearts. You're that kind of a god. Every one of us in this room. We're here for one reason. Because your calls upon our lives. And Faith simply says. God. I'm going to believe you to be who you say you are. And I'm going to believe that if you call me. That's your spirit will go before me. Preparing people's hearts to receive our message. We're going to believe that we're going to live our lives like God, even if you don't exist. We're going to live our lives as if you do. Cause in a real sense, that's what faith is all about. But, God, we believe you exist. And because of that, we want to be faithful, to proclaim your word boldly. Believing that we're not always number 25. We realized it takes 24 hours to get a yes, but that's okay because, God, you are at work. And you, you delight and us so much that you're willing to use us as instruments for grace, for effecting eternal change in the hearts and lives of others. My, my, my, my, my God. How come you do that? You could do it by yourself, but you've chosen not to. What are you thinking? You chose you. You say if if the church is not going to get it done, it's not going to get done.

[00:26:25] You're going to return in all of your glory and claim your own if but out of the rubble you've determined. To use the church, the body of your son Jesus, to be the instrument of grace. And this dispensation. And these last times, these last days. And God. We don't want to miss a thing. Give us that awareness. Of your spirit at work. Make us bold because. When we seek to become obedient to you, there is no failure. We realize that one in 60 of your children were martyred for the first 300 years of the life of the church. We're not afraid to die, for crying out loud. But as long as we have breath. Enable us. To experience the utter joy. Are being instruments of grace. So that we can see the change take place. Before our very eyes, even before the return of your son. Jesus. What's in his name? We pray. Amen. Let's take a little break. Get a cup of coffee and we'll come back and jump right in.