Summary: The early christians and early church were very effectively in the communication of the gospel. This series investigates the why and how of their effectiveness. Part 1 examines why Paul was so effective.
“How to communicate the good news effectively”
One Sunday as they drove home from church, a little girl turned to her mother and said, "Mommy, there’s something about the preacher’s message this morning that I don’t understand." The mother said, "Oh? What is it?" The little girl replied, "Well, he said that God is bigger than we are. He said God is so big that He could hold the world in His hand. Is that true?" The mother replied, "Yes, that’s true, honey." "But Mommy, he also said that God comes to live inside of us when we believe in Jesus as our Savior. Is that true, too?" Again, the mother assured the little girl that what the pastor had said was true. With a puzzled look on her face the little girl then asked, "If God is bigger than us and He lives in us, wouldn’t He show through?"
I love that little story; it’s cute, however to effectively communicate the good news it does take more than a silent witness. Don’t get me wrong there are times that it is appropriate. But a silent witness in and of its self will never bring in the harvest. It will never get a conversion or commitment.
So what does it take to clearly and effectively communicate the good news of the gospel? To find the answer to this question let’s turn to the manual. The answer book! God’s Word! Go with me to Acts the 17th chapter. This is the story of Paul in Athens. Now you know that the apostle Paul was arguably one of the most effect communicators of the good news of the gospel.
16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols.
17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there.
18 A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to dispute with him. Some of them asked, "What is this babbler trying to say?" Others remarked, "He seems to be advocating foreign gods." They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.
19 Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, "May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting?
20 You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we want to know what they mean."
21 (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.)
22 Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: "Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious.
23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.
24 "The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.
25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.
26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.
27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.
28 ’For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ’We are his offspring.’
29 "Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone-- an image made by man’s design and skill.
30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.
31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead."
32 When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, "We want to hear you again on this subject."
33 At that, Paul left the Council.
34 A few men became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others. (NIV)