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November 15, 2022
by Steven Mann

“To do good and diffuse light is a duty for which all members of Christ’s church are responsible…

“Christians ought to tell others that they have found medicine for their souls, if they see them ignorant and dying for want of it. What saith the Apostle Peter? As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another (1 Pet. 4:10). They will be happy days for the church when that text is obeyed.” J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: Mark.

Evangelism, by definition, indicates the spread of the gospel to all corners of the globe. When we hear that term evangelism, we often think about Paul traveling across vast spans of territory and taking the Word of our Lord to unreached peoples.

Clearly Paul’s missionary journeys contributed to the enhanced exposure to the gospel, but Paul in his letter to the Colossians clarifies the real driving force behind gospel growth—”And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.” Colossians 4:3-4. See that? Paul, while penning the letter to the Colossians, is not traveling with the gospel throughout the land. Rather, he is “in chains” asking the church in Colossae to pray that God’s will would be done in opening the gospel message to those who would receive it.

From the best we can tell, the early Church, like the church in Colossae, gathered together, prayed, gave to those in need, praised God, and studied the gospel message. (Acts 2:45-57). We see a brief yet powerful description of the results of this communion in Acts 2:47 – “And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Isn’t that neat? They came together, prayed, did life together, praised God and who?—the Lord—added to their number daily.

These powerful gatherings are a model for us at East White Oak. Like the early church, through the ministry of Adult Bible Fellowships (ABFs) we expose ourselves to the life-giving force of the gospel. In Fellowship 13, one of these ABFs, we have been studying in the Gospel of John, and have learned, particularly in John 15, that abiding in the Vine—that is in the person of Jesus Christ—is the necessary ingredient in a life that bears fruit and in a life that is useful to Christ for evangelism. Apart from that, the apostle John explains through the words of Christ, we can do nothing. We can bear no fruit. That’s true of evangelism.

The study and prayer over God’s Word on a weekly basis in our ABF grows us in many gospel-centered ways but I’ll mention only one here…Our faith-nurturing community provides the opportunity for us to come together and to intercede and pray for each other as we continue to spread the gospel message to those around us—family, friends, neighbors, teachers, employers, and more.

J.C. Ryle, in the quote mentioned above, indicates that sharing in fruits of evangelism is something for which we all should strive. During this month devoted to missions, please consider Adult Bible Fellowships as one possibility to aid you in your evangelistic efforts and promote gospel-sharing growth in your own life.

Steven Mann is married to Jessica—who is a talented artist.  They have two children, Daniel and Abigail.  Steve is a partner in a private law practice.  He is a church elder, serves as a musician on the worship team, and teaches in the Fellowship 13 ABF.  Steve enjoys running, manicuring his lawn, and being a father.