BP Toolbox

Empowered by the Spirit

Everything is powered by something.

Think about that for a moment – your house is powered by electricity, natural gas or possibly propane. Your car is powered by gas. Your watch is powered by a battery. Your exercise bike is powered by – you! Everything is powered by something.

As we work towards establishing a culture of evangelism in our churches, what is going to power this effort?

The great Evangelism Professor, Roy Fish, defined evangelism as “the compassionate sharing of the Good News of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit to lost people with the intent of winning them to Christ as Lord and Savior that they in turn might share Him with others.”

I love every aspect of this definition. I love the intentionality of this definition. Evangelism has an intent—winning the person to Christ. Our evangelism is to be compassionate. I love the last part that reminds me, as my Evangelism professor, Don Wilton, taught, that “evangelism is not complete until the evangelized becomes the evangelist.”

What I like best about Dr. Fish’s definition is the reliance of the witness on the Holy Spirit.

If we’re going to establish a culture of evangelism within our churches, we must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. We must believe that He is at work! We must believe that He is always at work. We might not always see how God is at work, but we must believe He is at work. The Book of Acts begins with this commission from Jesus: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8, CSB)

The power of the Holy Spirit and the dependence of the church on the Holy Spirit is on full display throughout the Book of Acts. We observe this power and dependency on the macro level throughout the book and then observe this same pattern on the micro level in Acts 8 as God uses Philip.

  • An angel of the Lord spoke to Philip. (8:26)
  • The Ethiopian is reading Scripture. (8:28)
  • The Spirit told Philip to join the chariot. (8:29)
  • The Spirit carried Philip away. (8:39)

At every step in the story, the Spirit is at work. Philip’s witness was empowered by the Holy Spirit. The work of the Spirit of God is evident throughout the entire narrative. First, the Spirit of God scattered the Church throughout the region. Then, the Spirit of God spoke to the heart of Philip and sent him to a specific location to intercept the Ethiopian. Then, God set up the Ethiopian riding in the chariot by having him read from the prophet Isaiah. The point is that the Spirit of God is continually at work. We can be certain that God is at work drawing people to Himself. This fact ought to give us both great enthusiasm and great confidence as we seek to reach our city and beyond—one person at a time.

As I am fond of asking the Biblical text when I read, “So what? What is the one big takeaway for me?”

If the Holy Spirit is our greatest power in evangelism, then prayer is our greatest resource.

Will you begin to pray for the millions across the country who may not have a relationship with Christ? Closer to home, will you begin to pray for the people you pass every day who may not know Christ? How about beginning to pray for ONE with whom God wants you to share?

When there is a culture of evangelism, we are always praying and watching to see where the Spirit is at work – while believing He is at work!

This article was adapted from the Louisiana Baptist Convention blog.

    About the Author

  • Steve Horn