A person being religious does not mean that person is right (righteous) before God. A person can be sincere, but be sincerely wrong. This bothers the intellectual style person. The Pharisees were religious, but crucified Jesus. To an intellectual style person, being accurate is an important point. I have learned to not believe someone is right because they are religious.

The Power of Intellectual Evangelism

Seven Personalities of Evangelism


The Power of Intellectual Evangelism

Scriptures: 2 Timothy 4:5, 1 Corinthians 9:22, Acts 17:16-22Acts,
17:32-34, Mark 4:26-28

We conclude the evangelism series today. I don’t know about you, but this has changed the way I looked at evangelism. It has been a life changing series for me. I hope we have gained many values from this series. I have four specific values I hope we have gotten a hold of.

1. There are several styles of faces of Evangelism.

1. Intellectual Style (Paul at Athens)

2. Confrontational Style (Peter – Day of Pentecost)

3. Relational Style (Levi – Luke 5)

4. Invitational Style (Woman at well)

5. Serving Style (Tabitha)

6. Testimonial Style (Man born blind)

7. Prayer Style (Cornelius)

I trust that through the series, you have seen a face or a style of evangelism that resembles you. I hope you realize that you can do this. Evangelism is not only the face of a professional preacher or someone handing out tracts and knocking on doors for Jesus. Each one of us has a face for evangelism.

2. Evangelism is supposed to be work.

2 Timothy 4:5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

Paul told Timothy to do the work of an evangelist. Evangelism is work. Evangelism is planning. Evangelism is spending time in prayer. Evangelism is doing some things that we normally would not do.

Evangelism is an adventure. I do hope we all have developed an “impact list.” An impact list is a specific list people that we are praying for every time we pray and asking Father to draw them and asking Jesus to use us to bring them into the kingdom. Those on the impact list will not be the only people to whom we talk about Jesus. These are the people that we believe the Lord desires we impact. These are people whom we cross paths with regularly. We will never accomplish much concerning evangelism if we do not work at it.

3. There is a power in us to witness.

Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

The power is not to talk in tongues or work miracles. Those type things may take place as we witness, but the power is to witness. The gifts of the Spirit that are usually associated with this power are actually given to gather and minister to others.

4. Evangelism is situational.

1 Corinthians 9:22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.

We attempt to relate with the people we want to reach. Paul put on different faces as he reached people. We are not limited to one face or style. The situation determines the evangelism style we utilize rather than our style determining to whom we are able to talk. We go to work. We allow the power from the spirit to work through us. We are used to save some.


The Intellectual style is one of my highest evangelism styles, if not the highest. My natural son is this style and most of my sons in the Lord are this style. It’s a popular style around our church. If I had to say, I think many of you are high in this style. This is one reason I saved it till last. It will be one to which many of us can relate.

The apostle Paul was on his second missionary journey expanding the kingdom. He had come to Athens where he was to meet Timothy and Silas. We read.

Acts 17:16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols.

Those of us who are high in the Intellectual evangelism style understand how greatly distressed Paul became. Often a doctrine can become an idol. We can find ourselves fighting for the sake of a doctrine rather than fighting for our savior. To become greatly distressed is exactly what erroneous doctrine does to me. I get stirred up inside. The King James’ version says it this way.

(KJV) Acts 17:16 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.

You know exactly what is going on here if you are this style. I find myself talking to, if not yelling at, the TV when someone is in obvious error. I can be at a funeral and hear a false doctrine and I become stirred and distressed. One of the primary ways you can know if you use this style, or if someone you know uses this style, is that they literally become angry, stirred and distressed when an untruth is taught.

Let me show you what the word translated distressed or stirred is in the Greek language.

distressed / stirred – 3947 paroxuno {par-ox-oo’-no}

(1) to irritate, provoke, arouse to anger

(1.b) provoke, make angry

(1.c) to exasperate, to burn with anger

Paul was provoked to anger. So, when you see your spouse talking to someone teaching some fallacious doctrine on the TV, or yelling at the TV, or stressing out at a funeral or church service, just say to yourself, “I have a little apostle Paul on my hands.” Do you think that Jesus ever operated in an intellectual style? Correct doctrine was important to Jesus (Mat 16:16). Remember when he spoke with Nicodemus in John chapter three? He told Nicodemus that he should know proper doctrine if he was a teacher of the Jews (Joh 3:10).

Acts 17:17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there.

(KJV) Acts 17:17 Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.

Please notice that it was not only about those who worshiped some dumb idol that Paul stressed out. He was that way with the Jews and God-fearing people. These were people that were supposed to know the truth. Their doctrines were all screwed up. I can’t explain it. It just freaks us out. Something inside becomes stirred up. So, we want to dispute and we attempt to reason with them. Sometimes our witnessing is not only to the lost. Jesus witnessed to many Pharisees. Paul disputed with God-fearing people. I witness to a lot of preachers.

I’m not as bad as I used to be, but Judy will begin to tense up when I do my witnessing this way. I have gotten many elbows in my ribs as she encouraged me to shut my mouth and stop disputing. She called it arguing. If we were going to someone’s house and she knew that someone was going to be there that could stir me up, she would say, “Delbert, please don’t talk about the Bible with him.”

Acts 17:18 A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to dispute with him. Some of them asked, “What is this babbler trying to say?” Others remarked, “He seems to be advocating foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.

What was Paul preaching that was not true? He was well able, willing, and prepared to dispute his doctrine. Nonetheless, even though Paul was speaking truth, name calling and accusations took place. Name calling takes place nearly every time an intellectual style person steps out. One of the main differences of a person that uses an intellectual style and a person using one of the other styles is that the intellectual does not care if they call us names. In fact, we know they will call us names. We don’t care as long as we get to share truth.

I have been called all sorts of things. I had not been in town two months when I was called “Jim Jones.” It’s true. A woman phoned the church and called me Jim Jones. I’ve been called lots of things that I can’t repeat. Why do people do that? It is because the intellectual style person is willing, able, and prepared to challenge wrong teaching.

Acts 17:19 Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting?

It is amazing that the oldest teaching on earth is seen as a new teaching. Which was actually the “new teaching?” Was it their teaching on idols and doctrine or was it the teaching of the coming Messiah? I know that sometimes it seems like I am giving some new teaching. Actually, what I teach is what was taught by Jesus and the apostles. However, a lot of what is taught today is new teaching. Often we don’t know enough to know the difference.

Asking Paul to go to a meeting did not frighten Paul. Paul lived for these opportunities. It would terrify most people, but not the intellectual style evangelist. We have all this information in our heads and we are waiting for a place to unload. We need an outlet. They were actually doing Paul a favor by allowing him to speak. Paul was not wringing his hands and saying, “Oh me! What will I say?” Paul couldn’t wait.

You know what I mean if you are an intellectual style. It’s like giving candy to a baby. It’s what we exist to do.

Acts 17:20 You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we want to know what they mean.”

Acts 17:21 (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.)

It is interesting that they thought that Jesus and the kingdom of God was some strange idea. The coming of the Messiah and his kingdom had only been talked about for four thousand years. Their doctrines were the latest ideas. It’s interesting to me that today most of what people will argue about are the latest ideas. Honestly (and I don’t have time to get into it now) what most people believe is Biblical doctrine has only been around and taught for one hundred and fifty years. Darby, Larkin, Scofield and those guys brought a new teaching in the mid 1800’s. If we turn on the TV and listen to most Christian television or read a book, we see that the philosophers today spend their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas. That will cause the intellectual style person to be greatly distressed.

Acts 17:22 Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious.

A person being religious does not mean that person is right (righteous) before God. A person can be sincere, but be sincerely wrong. These people were very religious, but very wrong. This bothers the intellectual style person. Being religious does not make us righteous (right). The Pharisees were religious, but crucified Jesus. To an intellectual style person, being accurate is an important point. I have learned to not believe someone is right because they are religious.

Acts 17:32 When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.”

Acts 17:33 At that, Paul left the Council.

Acts 17:34 A few men became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others.

Paul shared with those philosophers about Jesus. Some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again.” Paul felt very successful. When the intellectual style person can reach some people, he or she fells successful. Paul reached several. Some were very influential and their names were mentioned. There were a number of others.

I have heard it taught that Paul was not successful in Athens. That is not accurate. The intellectual style person is always successful just as any other person using any other style is always successful. Something is always planted and something will always come from the labor. Here is how Jesus said it worked. Remember that Jesus preached the kingdom of God (Mat 4:23).

Mark 4:26 And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;

Mark 4:27 And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.

Mark 4:28 For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.

Mark 4:29 But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.

I want to put a personal story with this. I became very active in church after I was born again. Not long afterwards, I began teaching a Sunday school class that grew to thirty or forty people. People were constantly giving me tapes and books. One day a woman gave me a tape from a man named Kelly Varner. She had been somewhere and heard him speak. He had said something that she thought I could use. I listened to the tape and decided that it was heresy and false teaching because it was not what I taught or believed. I threw the tape into a box of other audio tapes. A few years later, we decided to do a study on the book of Revelation in my Sunday school class. I went to the Christian book store and purchased books written by the philosophers of our day. I purchased books by Jack VanImpe, Hal Lindsey, etc. I began teaching my class using their dispensation teaching. I ran into a problem at chapter fourteen where the sickle was thrust in and the harvest was taken. My problem was that I had already harvested everyone in chapter 4. Of course, chapter four did not speak about a harvest, but my books did. I knew something was wrong. I really wanted to teach the Bible and not books. I shook it off and taught that there must be a mid-tribulation harvest also and I adjusted my new ideas accordingly. We went on with the teaching. That is until I got to chapter eighteen. Then I read about a voice from heaven telling the people of God to come out of Babylon. Well, I already had all the people of God in heaven. I had taken them to heaven in chapter 4 and again in chapter 14, but now I saw that we are still on earth.

It hit me that I was not right and that I had taught error. I didn’t know what those scriptures meant and I knew that the books did not know either. I told Judy that I had taught in error and that I would stop the study. She asked me to keep teaching it and to at least finish the study, but how could I? I obviously didn’t know what I was talking about. It was at that time that I remembered that tape by Kelly Varner that woman had given me. He had said something about Babylon. I was like the woman who lost the coin. I turned the house upside down until I found that tape. That tape made more sense to me than all the books I had purchased. I went to the class the next Sunday and told the people that I had been in error and didn’t know what the book of Revelation was about, but that I was on a mission to find out.

The point of the story is that a seed had been planted by an intellectual style person. That seed took years to come up, but it came up. It was the blade first, then the ear, and then the full corn in the ear. The intellectual style realizes that he or she is planting seed. I promise you. It will break out of the ground one day. All the name calling is worth it. All the stoning and beatings and imprisonment is worth it. I began to immediately bring forth the fruit of what I learned. I was harvested for the kingdom. That is the way it works. It can make a difference if you can get a tape or a book or a video or a CD into a person’s hand.

I want to take this opportunity to say something about our vision. Did anyone wonder why your giving may have been down a little this past year? You tithed, but your total giving was less. You made as much or more money, but your giving was less. Every year in the past I have tried to have an outside ministry in at least once per quarter. Sometimes it was more. Last year, other than a Gideon, we did not have any outside ministries. Therefore, no special offerings were received for outside ministries. Usually about $5,000 to $6,000 goes out every year to outside ministries. This year we do not have any outside ministries scheduled. There are a few reasons. One is we have excellent in house ministries. It doesn’t get much better than what our own people can teach. Another reason is we believe the Lord told us to focus on our region. I may have some outside ministries, but we won’t have much. However, we will receive some special offerings this year which will give us the opportunity to do something to reach people in our region.

What we want to do is have a special offering in a few weeks for a mixing board that will give us the ability to mix the sound with a quality we have not yet gotten. We will be able to make CDs of our praise and worship. We will be able to make CDs of the messages. The TV sound should be more like it is here in the auditorium. The thing will cost $3,500.00, but will give us something to hand people and be very proud of what we give them. It should help us reach our region with an excellence. So on February 10, we will give us all a special opportunity to give toward the mixer. February is Lenten Sunday which is a day we will project and ask everyone to fast something for the reason of getting the people on our impact lists to come to the Easter Drama or Easter Sunday. How many will pray and see if the Lord will put it on your heart to give? Thank you.

Other Related Sermons:

Going All Out For God – sermon video audio notes

Seven Styles of Evangelism – Still Hope – sermon video audio notes

Prayer for the New Year – sermon notes

Also see:

Sermons Change The World

Life Gate Church sermons by Delbert Young