Much evangelism today testifies exclusively to human sinfulness and to how God has provided a way for people to have their sins forgiven through the work of Jesus on the Cross. Based on the combined teaching of two key texts, I believe that such evangelism lacks testimony to a key cosmic element.
Peter’s Evangelistic Testimony about the Life of Christ
In his preaching of the gospel (Acts 15:7) to an unsaved centurion and many others, both of his household and of his close friends (Acts 10:27, 33), Peter testified key information about the life of Christ:
How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him (Acts 10:38).
Saying these words, Peter told these lost people how Jesus through the power that God gave Him healed all who were oppressed by the devil. He thus explained to these lost people that multitudes of people were not being oppressed by other sinful humans, but by the devil.
Peter then testified key truths about Jesus’ crucifixion, resurrection, and exaltation (Acts 10:39-42). Finally, he declared to them that all who believe in that Jesus receive forgiveness of their sins (Acts 10:43).
To be saved, his hearers would have had to believe not just about their own sinfulness because he testified to them about Jesus’ delivering humans from the sinful activities of an evil supernatural being. Moreover, they had to believe testimony not only about Jesus’ dying for them to save them, but also about Jesus’ dealings with the sinfulness of the devil before His death.
These lost people, therefore, were not given testimony exclusively about human sinfulness—Peter’s gospel message also emphasized to them the sinfulness of the devil and Jesus’ delivering people from the devil’s sinful actions.
Paul’s Evangelistic Testimony about the Mission Christ Gave Him
Standing on trial before two unsaved authorities, King Agrippa and Festus (the Roman governor), as well as many other lost people (Acts 25:23), Paul testified to the mission that Christ gave him:
Act 26:15 And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.
16 But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;
17 Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee,
18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
To these powerful lost people, Paul made known that Christ commissioned him to minister to lost Gentiles to turn them from darkness and the power of Satan. Saying this, Paul confronted those who were trying him with their own need of being delivered from the power that Satan was sinfully exercising over them to keep them in darkness!
Paul proceeded to witness to them also about the crucifixion, resurrection, and exaltation of Christ (Acts 26:19-23), just as Peter did before him to other lost people (Acts 10). He then declared how he desired that all the lost people who were present at his trial would become Christians (Acts 26:24-29)!
In his gospel preaching to many lost people on this occasion, Paul testified not just to human sinfulness but also to the sinful activities of the devil. He also spoke to them not just about Jesus’ death, but also of Jesus’ work of delivering people from Satan’s sinful activities through His sending Paul to minister to them to that end.
From these two accounts of apostolic evangelism, we learn that our evangelism needs to have a cosmic element to it—testimony to the sinfulness not just of humans, but also to the sinfulness of the devil, a supernatural being! Moreover, we need to testify not just about Jesus’ dying for people on the Cross but also about His delivering people through His other dealings with the sinfulness of Satan.
The gospel that we should give to others includes the good news that God through Jesus has dealt with the sinfulness of both humans and evil spirit beings! Let us follow Peter and Paul in evangelism by adding this key cosmic element to our witnessing.