Evangelism is never boring! Paul had a dramatic encounter with some disciples of John in the region of Ephesus (Acts 19:1). Here was a group that had been baptized by John the Baptist, but had never heard of Jesus, nor of the Holy Spirit (v 2-6). A dramatic thing happened after Paul spoke about Jesus. They agreed to be baptized again, this time in Jesus’ name. As Paul laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit fell; they broke out in tongues and began prophesying. Clearly, this was a group of half-believers who were hungry for God, and just “waiting” to reignite! Know what? There are countless people out there who are like that! They’re in your offices and neighbourhood, in the malls and on your flights. Don’t assume everyone is a “hard nut! All you have to do is open your mouth!
Then, there are the “medium” nuts. Medium nuts have usually been brought up in all kinds of background, from pagan religions to agnosticism, who hold an open mind and are not adverse to the gospel. There are millions upon millions like that. They need someone to show them God’s love, His offer of salvation and eternal life, His promise of never leaving or forsaking them. Lydia was like that (Acts 16:13-14). She was a businesswoman who was “open”. So were the Greek-speaking Jewish converts called the “Hellenists” in Antioch (Acts 11:20-21); large numbers believed when the gospel was preached. So was Sergius Paulus, the Proconsul of Cyprus (Acts 13:7). “Medium” nuts are mostly ready for Jesus! You have to work and prod a bit harder, that’s all!
Finally the hard nuts. There are three types. Firstly, the religious hard nuts like the “ultra” Jews who opposed Paul wherever the gospel was preached and sought to kill him (Acts 13:42, 50; Acts 14:19). We have “ultras” today. Secondly, the intellectual hard nuts like the philosophers of Athens (Acts 17:16-34), always cynical, always mocking. Thirdly, spiritual hard nuts, deep in the occult, like Elymas the sorcerer (Acts 13:6-12), or the demonized slave girl (Acts 16:16-23). They all cause trouble when the gospel is preached. So there is a price to pay. But know what? There are salvations from every category of hard nut in the Bible! So let’s reach out from an overflow of faith today.
Ps Dr Philip Lyn