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
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
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
2: 14-36; Pentecost
3:11-11-26: Peter before the Jews on Solomon’s portico
7: Martyrdom of Stephen
· 2nd Half
of Acts: Message the same; but framed differently; the
starting point was different
17:22-34: Paul at Athens (pagans); history of Jewish race irrelevant
- Acts 8:13-15: The
conversion of Lydia
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)