Summary: verse by verse through Acts
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  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  go the extra mile to do everything possible to help with communicating the message of life.