Did the Apostles Use “God Loves You” Evangelism?

Preaching God’s Love in Acts?

By Gregory Koukl

What was the emphasis in the evangelistic preaching of the Apostles as recorded in the book of Acts? Does the record of Acts support the notion that the central focus of Christianity is one’s love relationship with God and personal life enhancement? Or did these disciples of Christ focus on something else?

The list below includes every instance of evangelistic preaching in the book of Acts, a summary of content, and an analysis of emphasis.

1. Pentecost, Acts 2:14-39

Peter notes the manifestations of the Holy Spirit that all had been witnessing, then ties them to the fulfillment of prophecy of Joel about the last days. He then preaches Jesus as the Messiah–attested to by miracles and by the resurrection which was prophesied by David–and the guilt of the crowd for the crucifixion.

The emphasis is on forgiveness of sin by Jesus the Messiah. There is no mention of God’s love or a relationship with Him.

2. Peter at the Gate Beautiful, Acts 3:12-26

After Peter and John healed a man lame from birth, Peter placed the blame for Jesus’ death on the shoulders of the listeners. He then appealed to fulfilled prophecy and told them either to believe and return and thus receive forgiveness and times of refreshing, or be destroyed.

The emphasis is on forgiveness of sin by Jesus the Messiah. There is no mention of God’s love or a relationship with Him.

3. Peter before the High Priest, Acts 4:8-12

Peter attributes the healing of the man lame from birth to Jesus the Messiah, whom the Jews had crucified, Continue reading