What is oikos?
Oἶκος (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 sharing the gospel with those in your oikos.
Over 75% of all believers came to follow Christ through a friend or family member sharing the gospel or inviting them to church. We must realize that God has not called us to share the gospel with everyone, but to be willing to share it with anyone! This is important to remember, since it is easy to take on the weight of the world when considering evangelism. Remember, God put us in the midst of our oikos 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 think of evangelism as a monthly event, a spiritual gift in just a few people, or the work of a missionary in Africa. It can be those things, but it is so much more! Evangelism is a lifestyle!
Evangelism is sometimes seen as separate from discipleship, when it is really a crucial part of discipleship. When Jesus made disciples, he evangelized the lost by calling them to repent and believe in the gospel, urged them to be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and then taught them to obey the scriptures and follow him. That's discipleship!
It's amazing to share the gospel and watch God save someone as they put their faith in him for the forgiveness of their sins. However, if we stop there, we might have made a convert, but not a disciple. At the same time, it's amazing when we teach younger believers to grow in their faith. However, if that is all we are doing, we are missing more than half of what Jesus devoted his life and ministry too. We must ALL be faithful to show and share the good news of the gospel with those who have yet to believe AND be committed to helping them grow in their faith and obedience to Jesus Christ.
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 and blood of His Son Jesus Christ. 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 glorify God as we show and share the truth of the gospel with the people in our oikos. 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 show and share the truth with those He has put around us.
We have four helpful words for guiding our intentional interaction with our oikos:
Pray for your oikos by name regularly
Spend time with your oikos in everyday life
Share the Word of God with your oikos
Invite your oikos to consider following Jesus or even come with you to church
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 help you remember to intercede for them, to invest in them, to influence their lives with the gospel, and to invite them to follow Jesus.