Oikos is a Greek word that means “extended household.” In Acts 17, Paul was sharing the gospel with a group of men at a temple in Athens. He told them that God “made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place.” (Acts 17:26) It meant the same thing for them as it means to us: God intentionally determined the place and time you would live in history. In fact, he placed you in a community at this time for the purpose of you sharing the gospel with those in your oikos.
Over 75% of all believers came to follow Christ through friends or relatives. This is an important fact to remember, since it is easy to take on the weight of the world when considering evangelism. We must realize that God has not called us to share the gospel with everyone, but to be willing to share it with anyone! God put us in the midst of our οἶκος so that we can intentionally and feasibly take part in making disciples of Jesus with those right around us.
Evangelism can be easily misunderstood as many things. You may have seen it as a monthly event, or a personality or spiritual gift in just a few people, or the work of a missionary in Africa. It’s sometimes seen as something separate from discipleship, when it is in fact a crucial part of discipleship. When Jesus discipled the Twelve, He had to evangelize, to share the gospel with those who were lost. It’s amazing when we disciple other younger believers to maturity in their faith, but it is revolutionizing when we disciple a non-believer and see God bring them to new life in Christ and continue the work of discipleship to maturity. This is the true work of the church in allowing God to use us to bring people to Him.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 reminds us that we are not our own. We were purchased by God for a price and the price of our ransom was the life of His Son Jesus. Jesus also used similar language to declare that we are His (John 17:10) and now we are intentionally sent into the world with His word (John 17:11, 18). The purpose of every believer is to share the truth and life of the gospel with our οἶκος. Jesus tells us that it will cost us (Matthew 8:18-22), but when we consider how much He paid for us, we realize it doesn’t really cost us much to speak His truth and life into those He has put around us.
We have four helpful words for guiding our intentional interaction with our oikos:
Intercede | Pray for your oikos
Invest | Spend time with your oikos
Influence | Share the Word of God with your oikos. Let the Gospel infiltrate your conversations
Invite | Invite them into your life, your MGroup, our Sunday Gatherings; ultimately, invite them to come and see Christ
Download an oikos card. Write down the names of people God has placed into your life that do not know Him, people that He has entrusted to you with the task of sharing the truth of the gospel. Use it to remember to intercede for them, to invest in them, to impact their lives with the gospel, and to invite them to follow Jesus.