Summary: Sometimes we simply have to explain to people why we are the way we are. We explain by telling about Jesus and what he had done to our lives.
Difference Makers Explain
Years ago Verizon Wireless came out with a commercial with one man and a cell phone. He was simply dressed, kind of nerdish; he had one line that he repeated over and over. He would take a step and say “Can you hear me now?” Paul is at that junction in his missionary life; his desire was not only to get the gospel to the Gentiles, but to convince his fellow Jews that Jesus is the Christ. Do you know how to explain to a non-believer that Jesus is the Christ?
Paul starts by explaining why he is there in chains.
1. It is the Hope of Israel
a. He spent time in each city reasoning with the Jews there that Jesus is the Christ.
b. He used the prophets and the Law
c. He taught how Jesus fulfilled all the Law and the Prophecies concerning the Messiah until that time.
d. For this reason he is in chains in Rome.
The words of Simeon ring out in Paul’s testimony about Jesus
LK 2:32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel."
Paul took on the task of revealing Jesus for the glory of Israel and a light to the Gentiles.
Witnessing to these groups took a lot of knowledge and a lot of patience. I will deal with some how to’s in a little bit.
When I first became a Christian, I wanted to share the message with everyone. I wanted to convert everyone I met. One of my co-workers was a Jehovah’s Witness, he was very difficult because he would ask me question I could not answer. He would send people from his congregation to visit with me. I admit I was out of my league. I began to study what they taught. The more and more I studied, the angrier I got. I began studying other religions as well, and before I knew it, I was more involved in studying Cult Theology than I was in the Bible.
Later I was involved in reading books that told about all the problems in the CHURCH. Negative books highlighted many of the problems of the church, but none of the fixes. That was like going to the Doctor’s office to have the Doctor tell you “you’re sick” but offer nothing to make you better. This too got me very angry.
One day, a mentor to me in my younger days, Buddy Sarno made a suggestion to me. He said, “When bank tellers want to be able to tell a counterfeit bill from a real one, they spend their time studying the real so closely that when a counterfeit comes across they notice it because something just doesn’t look right.” When I told Loretta what Buddy said, she said, “Then put these books away and study the Bible, maybe you won’t be so angry any more.” Very sound advice. Paul told the Jews what scripture said and how Jesus fulfilled it, he told the Gentiles all Jesus did proving He is the Son of God.
In this case Paul wanted to make it very clear why he was there. He called the meeting, and uses the chains to teach these Jews why Jesus is the Christ. Sometimes God puts us in places to do the very same thing.
What about us? Are we aware of things in our lives that may hinder others from receiving the gospel? How much of a concern is that to you personally?
I remember once hearing a speaker at a youth rally say, “If you are not going to try to act like a Christian, please don’t tell anyone that you are one.” It’s Christians like that who make it hard for those of us who want to share our faith with others! If you wear the name, live the name. Peter once said, “(1 Peter 2:12) Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
2. Take them from where they are to where they need to be.
AC 28:23 They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. 24 Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe.
A. It helps to know our audience.
B. This approach would not work with Gentiles because they would not be familiar with the Prophets and the Law.
C. He reasoned with them, he explained Jesus to them.