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Summary: verse by verse through Acts

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What a great song that was, In Christ alone. That’s the kind of song that should move us to action. If we really believe all that we just sang we should be moved and excited to get this message out to others. And I’ll bet that many of us here do have a burden for people who don’t know the Lord and would love to share Him with them.

But where do we start? I mean, just how do we get the conversation started? Especially with people who are so different than us. We live in one of the most diverse places in America. Most people who live here are from somewhere else. And then there’s the age differences, cultural differences, socioeconomic differences, and even religious differences. So just how do we reach people that are so different than us?

The Apostle Paul was a master at planting churches amongst people of differing cultures. He didn’t just try to reach people who were like him – he reached out to whoever the Lord led him to. And God did some amazing cross-cultural things through him. So how did he do it? He decided to [2] be all things to all men. Paul did whatever it took to be able to communicate the message of life to whoever he could regardless of their cultural background or differences.

[Read I Corinthians 9:19-23.]

Paul cared so much about reaching the lost that he would do whatever it took to communicate the message of life to those who were lost – even if it meant loosing his own personal identity in the process.

This helps us understand why he and Timothy did what they did in preparation for his second missionary journey.

[Read Acts 16:1-5.]

So Paul selects Timothy to be his replacement helper for Mark and circumcises him before the head out on the mission field. But wait a minute! Why did he circumcise Timothy? I thought the Jerusalem council just decided that gentile believers didn’t need to be circumcised! And that was the major content of the decrees that Paul and Timothy were delivering to the churches they visited. Why was Timothy circumcised?

Well, let’s learn a little bit about Timothy. He was a young man in his late teens or early twenties who had a great reputation of faith amongst the believers there. He also had a Jewish mother who was a Christian, and a well-known Greek Father who was either dead or not a believer. (Since he wasn’t involved in this event.)

Now Timothy having both a Jewish and a Greek background would be helpful on the mission field. He understood both cultures and could help with cross-cultural communication.

But at the same time he could be a real hindrance to reaching the Jewish people.

Remember, Paul always went to the Jews first and usually preached in their synagogues. If the Jews got wind of Timothy, who was of Jewish descent but wasn’t circumcised, they would have assumed that he had renounced his Judaism and they wouldn’t have even let them into the building. All communication would have been stopped.

So in light of this, Timothy decided to [3] go the extra mile to do everything possible to help with communicating the message of life.

[Read Acts 16:3.]

Talk about becoming all things to all men! Timothy wasn’t a baby or even a boy when this happened. He was a young man who simply wanted to reach people no matter what it took. I think we need to be just as selfless for the sake of others. There’s things that we can choose to do or even choose to not do so that we can effectively communicate with others.

[Political argument, golf, missionaries drinking wine in Germany examples.]

We’ve got to be selfless and do whatever it takes to open up the lines of communication with those we’re trying to reach.

But let’s be careful and not take this too far. It’s never right to do the wrong thing.

[Drinking, smoking pastor, cursing pastor examples.]

It’s never right to do the wrong thing. But we should do whatever it takes to open up the lines of communication with those we’re trying to reach. And once those lines of communication are open, we fill the airwaves with [4] the gospel message of Jesus.

[Read Acts 16:4, 10.]

Paul knew that once he had the people’s ear it was his responsibility to give them the message of Jesus that could save their souls. Paul talked about the importance of giving the gospel message in Romans chapter ten.

[Read Romans 10:17.]

Faith comes by hearing the Word of God and nothing else. People’s souls aren’t saved by hearing about morality. People’s souls aren’t saved when they understand the history of Jesus. And people’s souls aren’t saved when they attach themselves to some religious movement. People’s souls are saved when they put their faith in Jesus Christ.

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