The DEEP

Sometimes It's Not About The Preaching

Charity is what draws people in the first place.

Acts 5:12-16 (ESV)

Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon's Portico. None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem. And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, so that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed.

There’s something striking about this passage. Even though more than ever believers were added to the Lord, there’s no mention of the apostles preaching the gospel. It only says that many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles. Specifically, people from the neighboring towns were bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed.

That is preaching the gospel! It not only shows grace – everyone was healed regardless of merit – but it was living proof of the truth of the gospel message. The kingdom of God had arrived.

So, not only were multitudes of both men and women being added to the Lord, but it was more than ever. Peter’s healing ministry added more believers than his sermons ever did.

Surprised? Which kind of ministry should attract more unbelievers – great preaching or great charity?

Please don’t take this as meaning that preaching and teaching aren’t important. They’re essential. Otherwise, why produce these DEEP devotionals? They don’t feed or heal anyone.

But they’re for believers. Most Christian preaching and teaching is designed for people who have already confessed Christ. Outreach sermons and seeker services are important, but even they depend on people being curious and showing up.

Without charity, where are the seekers going to come from?


Of course, things are different now. The apostles had powers way beyond anything we have, right?

Well, not exactly. They would flip out if they could see what we can do. Our medical “powers” don’t fall that much short of what the apostles had. Plus, we have lots of other advantages – better food, clothing, transportation, media, etc. People have many needs, not just healing. We are stunningly well equipped to help them. We’re also well equipped to find those who need help. They don’t have to come to us anymore.

We’re not taking advantage of the wonders at our disposal. We have tools and powers that didn’t exist just a few years ago. We could be helping a lot of people.

We have the resources to start a revival in our community. We need to think big. Ask God to light the fire.


The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.