“For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you” (Acts 17:23).
What a wonderful Mission Festival we had. It was so exciting to hear about what God is doing in our backyard and across the globe. We were also challenged to put feet to our mission emphasis by getting involved in the various missionaries and agencies we support. And what a great time of fellowship we had together after worship.
Let me remind you all that we will continue raising support for the native couple in West Africa that will be joining the RUF work there, as well as providing a set of English commentaries for Minsk Reformed Seminary. Won’t you consider contributing to these causes?
I was asked by several people yesterday if I could share the six lessons we should take away from our look at Acts 17. I have included them below, and hope that they become part of our DNA here at Grace.
1) Be sensitive to God’s leading in our lives. Make the most of every opportunity that the Lord gives us. As we said a few weeks ago, Paul was driven not only by the command of the Great Commission, but also by God’s love in him. If Jesus would come to seek the lost, so should Paul (and so should we). Are you praying regularly for the salvation of your family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors? Do you have specific people you are bringing before the Lord by name?
2) Don’t be passive in waiting for opportunities to talk to others about Jesus. Trust that God places you in the right place at the right time and make the most of the opportunities that he gives you.
3) Know something about those to whom you are talking. Paul gives us a great example of what true, biblical contextualization is about. Ask questions, get to know others and what they believe instead of just pulling out the sledgehammer to bash away.
4) Try to find some common ground with the person to whom you are talking, then bridge the conversation to the truth about God and the claims of Jesus Christ. Obviously, this takes work, but it mostly requires being a good listener. We too often are thinking of a response even while someone is talking, which means we never listen. Listen!
5) Don’t directly attack other people’s religion. The goal is to glorify God by declaring his true nature and actions, which will always be superior to false gods and false ideas about the true God. Only after you have done that should you declare the claims the true God has upon all people.
6) Be faithful and true to the truth about God and the gospel of Jesus Christ but leave the results in God’s hands. You cannot argue someone into belief and salvation. You can only point the way. Pray for them.