Have you ever noticed how the gospel was presented to a wide variety of people when the church first came into existence? A quick glance at the book of Acts shows us that God’s plan to save the world through Jesus was revealed to people from all different walks of life.
In Acts 2 the gospel was presented to the religious people. The Jews, who should have recognized their Messiah, had instead rejected him and handed him over to be crucified. But God raised Jesus from the dead and the apostles proclaimed this Jesus to be Lord and Savior of all who would accept him through faith by repenting and being baptized.
In chapter 3 we see the good news revealed to the hurting. A man who was lame from birth was miraculously healed, and the spiritual lesson behind this miracle is that all who are hurting—for whatever reason—can be healed and enabled to walk with God.
Chapter 8 shows how salvation through Jesus was given to Simon the sorcerer, someone who was caught up in the occult. Even those who are deeply involved in weird religious practices are shown that Jesus is the way and the truth and the life.
The seeker finds Jesus in Acts 8. The man from Ethiopia had travelled a long way looking for some answers, and, with Philip’s help, this seeker found Jesus.
Acts 9 tells us how the gospel message found its way into the heart of a fanatic. Saul—later known as Paul—was a religious terrorist, going to great lengths to persecute believers of Jesus. Then, after his dramatic encounter with the resurrected Jesus, Saul’s life took an amazing turn for the better, climaxing in his sins being washed away in baptism (Acts 22:16).
In chapter 10 we read about how salvation came to Cornelius, a devout man who was praised for his prayers and generosity. We find, however, that even devout people need Jesus.
In Acts 16 we see that Lydia, a successful businesswoman, receives Christ. The world may look up to people who do well financially, but they are just like the rest of us, sinners in need of a savior.
Also in chapter 16 we see the gospel being presented to an abuser. The Philippian jailer may not have personally flogged Paul and Silas, but he was responsible for the wounds inflicted on these innocent men whose only crime was preaching Christ. After he repented, the jailer himself washed the wounds of the men he had abused. Then he and his whole household were baptized into Christ.
Skeptic philosophers are the beneficiaries of the church’s evangelistic efforts in Acts 17. The people in Athens loved to talk about and listen to the latest ideas about religion. They even had an altar built for the worship of “an unknown god”. (I guess they wanted to cover all the bases!). Paul explained to them that the one true God has been revealed to us in the crucified and resurrected Jesus.
In Acts 19 we read about how the gospel was revealed to the misinformed. Some believers in Ephesus had been improperly baptized. After hearing the truth, they were baptized correctly.
Chapters 24-26 show us how the gospel was presented to people in high government positions. Even powerful politicians (especially powerful politicians?!) need Jesus.
So we see in the early history of the church that the message of salvation through Jesus went out to all types of people. Some responded; some did not.
What was true back then is still true today. Everybody needs Jesus. And the church needs to be talking to everybody—yes, everybody—about Jesus Christ, the savior of the world.