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The Gospel in Your Circle

Written by Tyler Riffe on

Should I text or call? Do I walk across the hall to connect with my coworker or send an email? You probably ask yourselves questions like these regularly. How we connect has changed a lot in recent years. Relationships look different than they did even ten years ago. What remains consistent and never changes though is the privilege of impacting those in our circle with the good news of Jesus Christ.

In Acts 1:8, we read some of the final words of Jesus: “. . . you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” These geographic locations are not random or exclusive but display an ever-widening spread of the gospel. What happens when a rock hits a pond? A ripple spreads from the point of impact to the rest of the pond. This is what is happening with Jesus’s instructions in Acts.

Gospel Movement in Acts

In Acts, the gospel spreads from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth.

  • Acts 1 – The disciples wait for the promised Holy Spirit in Jerusalem. No movement yet.
  • Acts 6:7 – “So the Word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly . . .”
  • Acts 8:1 – “A great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.”
  • Acts 8:14 – The Word of God is accepted in Samaria.
  • Acts 8:28 – The gospel comes to a man on his way home to Ethiopia, which takes the good news south.
  • Acts 8:40 – Philip goes north to Caesarea to proclaim the gospel.
  • Acts 9 – Paul joins the team and takes the gospel to new places.
  • Acts 28:30 – Paul is in Rome, preaching the gospel “without hindrance.”

The book of Acts ends with Paul having reached Rome, the seat of worldly power at the time. This is a beautiful marker of the gospel being on the move headed to the ends of the earth.

Jesus’s words to us in Acts 1:8 imply that followers of Jesus, trusting in the Holy Spirit, are to be people who spread the gospel in their circle. So, who is your Jerusalem? Who is your circle?

Your Circle of Impact

Consider your neighbors, coworkers, friends, and family. Do some of them not have a relationship with God? What would our city look like if every Christian took Jesus’s words seriously about spreading the gospel in their circles? The impact for the gospel of Christ would be great!

And yet, often the word “evangelism,” stirs up a negative reaction. It could be that you feel bad that you do not talk about Jesus enough and that shame leaves you feeling stuck. Maybe you fear being canceled or rejected if you were to talk about Jesus. Or maybe you have ideas about evangelism that cloud or complicate how you view it. In its simplest form, evangelism is relational and loving conversation with a friend about their relationship with God.

Start Small

The idea of spreading the gospel within your circle is an important one. Jesus spent his final moments with his followers making sure they understood this. When the disciples waited on God in Jerusalem, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to help them. The book of Acts tracks the gospel’s power to move from one small place to the ends of the known world through the faithful witness of God’s people!

With a task this important and life changing, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. And when things are overwhelming, it’s helpful to start small. One small step could be the commitment to pray for two people in your circle who do not know Jesus. Pray for them daily. Ask God to show up in their lives, but also ask God to help you deepen your friendships with them. Pray for opportunities to show the love of Christ. Watch and wait for God to open a door for a simple, loving conversation. Start small and see how your heart (and theirs) changes.

Tyler Riffe

Tyler serves at College Park Church as the Assistant Pastor of Local Outreach. Tyler has been an active member of College Park for over thirteen years. He has previously served as a small group leader and in Next Door Mission on the launch team that helped plant Crosspointe Community Church in Greenwood. Tyler lives in Zionsville with his wife and 4 kids. He enjoys golf, camping, movies, and spending time with his family.

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