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Missions 101

Presenting the Gospel

Apr. 18, 2012By: Ben StaffordAuthor Bio

Last week in our study on evangelism we looked at Paul and observed that in presenting the gospel we ought to have humility, consecration of life, and carefulness.

What does this look like in practice?

In the Acts of Apostles:  the message of the Gospel was one and the  same for each situation.  We saw this message two weeks ago: "God has provided a way sinners can be reconciled to Himself; through Christ alone."

However,  there was differentiation and variety to the approach it was presented depending on the circumstance, AND the starting point was determined based on the knowledge of those who were to hear it.

·       1st Half of Acts:  Message framed more towards the Jewish Nation

-   Acts 2: 14-36; Pentecost

-   Acts 3:11-11-26:  Peter before the Jews on Solomon’s portico

        -   Acts 7:  Martyrdom of Stephen

·       2nd Half of Acts:  Message the same; but framed differently; the starting point was different

-   Acts 17:22-34:  Paul at Athens (pagans); history of Jewish race irrelevant

        -   Acts 8:13-15: The conversion of Lydia

        -   Acts 8:25-31: The conversion of the Philippian Jailer

It is important to know the message and to articulate it; it is also important to know our audience, to determine the starting point to bring them from a state of hearing to a state of seeking    and on to the place of salvation. 

The starting point can be any number of things:  

a) a rudimentary knowledge of God to the ignorant,                  

b) the Law and thunders of Sinai to the arrogant and careless,

c) grace and forgiveness to seekers,

d) gentle persuasions via stories & illustration to children.       

Paul’s approach to illustrate this differentiation is summed up in 1 Cor. 9:20-22:  he entered into the mind & thinking of his hearers, identifying with them. 

To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. (1 Corinthians 9:20-22)

Ben Stafford is the Director of Short-Term Ministries, overseeing the logistics and vision of all the short-term trips as well as representing TLI to students, teachers, and other organizations. Before joining TLI, Ben was the Director of Programs at the Foundation for Economic Education where he oversaw the educational events geared towards high school and college students. His work primarily involved strategic planning, managing, and measuring the department’s resources and results, bringing the programs department to a new level. Previously, he worked as a research intern for two summers at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. He still teaches students of all ages about business and economics on the side.

Ben graduated in 2008 from Hillsdale College with a degree with Economics. He enjoys real food, barefoot runs, playing classical guitar, climbing mountains, and international travel. More than all these, he echoes the sentiment of Jonathan Edwards in that God’s purpose for his life is that he have a passion for God’s glory and that he has a passion for his joy in that glory, and that these two are one passion.

He currently resides in Atlanta, GA where he is actively involved with the saints at Perimeter Church.

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Tags:  evangelism
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