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Synopsis of Witnessing in a Pluralistic Society
Good and joyful day today to all Christian brothers and sisters on this the day the Lord has made. Pull up a chair, pour yourself a cup of coffee, or tea, or milk, or whatever is your favorite, we’re about to slice a piece of the Bread of Life, the Word of God. And today’s slice comes from: ACT 17:17 He went to the synagogue to debate with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and he spoke daily in the public square to all who happened to be there. 18 He also had a debate with some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers. When he told them about Jesus and his resurrection, they said, “This babbler has picked up some strange ideas.” Others said, “He’s pushing some foreign religion.” 19 Then they took him to the Council of Philosophers. “Come and tell us more about this new religion,” they said. 20 “You are saying some rather startling things, and we want to know what it’s all about.” 21 (It should be explained that all the Athenians as well as the foreigners in Athens seemed to spend all their time discussing the latest ideas.) 22 So Paul, standing before the Council, addressed them as follows: “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious 23 for as I was walking along I saw your many altars. And one of them had this inscription on it – ‘To an Unknown God.’ You have been worshiping him without knowing who he is, and now I wish to tell you about him. 24 “He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, 25 and human hands can’t serve his needs – for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need there is. 26 From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand which should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries. 27 “His purpose in all of this was that the nations should seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him – though he is not far from any one of us. 28 For in him we live and move and exist. As one of your own poets says, ‘We are his offspring.’ 29 And since this is true, we shouldn’t think of God as an idol designed by craftsmen from gold or silver or stone. 30 God overlooked people’s former ignorance about these things, but now he commands everyone everywhere to turn away from idols and turn to him. 31 For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead.” 32 When they heard Paul speak of the resurrection of a person who had been dead, some laughed, but others said, “We want to hear more about this later.” 33 That ended Paul’s discussion with them, 34 but some joined him and became believers. Among them were Dionysius, a member of the Council, a woman named Damaris, and others.
First…. Let me reiterate several statements in this passage:
- He went to the synagogue
- to debate with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles,
- spoke daily in the public square
- also debate with some philosophers.
- Question: Are you lifting Christ in the marketplace. Or, do you only share Christ with those with whom you are comfortable with because you know that they are already Christian? How about at your workplace? Perhaps, even with laborers you’ve hired to do work around your home?
- I have found that when going door to door as a church family, into the local neighborhood, I might witness a little differently. For instance; with a family who has a cross or other religious symbols on their walls or mantles I might get right down to an invitation to visit us. I’d probably accept a soft drink or coffee to set a comfortable atmosphere. However, should I walk into a family who are all sitting around watching T.V. and drinking beer; when asked if I’d care for one, would say no thanks I don’t drink. However, I would not put them down with body English or facial expressions that indicate that I think less of them. I have heard too often, Christian bragging with a comment, “Alcohol has never touched my lips.” Sure, I’m glad to hear that, but that kind of comments in the wrong situation may sound like you’re putting them down because they are not equal to your holiness. Forget the invitation!
- I can recall visiting a new “neighbor to be” just visiting the property he planned to build on, only to be invited to have a beer. I said that I did not drink, but, never showed any animosity toward them. The second and subsequent visits I brought along a can of Coca Cola and joined them in discussing their plans. Later this young man married and is raising a family nearby and I see him taking them all to church every Sunday. I don’t think he is doing that because of me; but, perhaps I may have planted a seed.
- . This is the reason I frequently use other than The New King James version in my messages. Although, I believe the majority of my listening audience are mature Christians who read and fully understand that very poetic version; I do know of some listeners that have spoken to me in restaurants, etc. telling me that they are thankful that I use the more xxxxx versions.
- . I still remember a sermon by a young seminary student who used a “plaited” or “braided” whip he had made to represent the whip used by Christ to run the money changers out of His Father’s house. His point was that Christ had not done this in a fit of anger, because, if you read it carefully Jesus had taken the time to “plait” the whip He used. This young man recounted how long it took him to “plait” such a whip; indicating this was not a spur of the moment angry action performed by Christ. Yes, such a whip could be used for devious reasons not pleasing to God; but the instrument made a point that I think would be pleasing to God.
The bottom line to this message is that we, in our witnessing, are to lead others to Christ without beating them over the head with the Bible. A Good example of this I received just as I was finishing this message. So, I’ll just share it with you. It is about, and is written by, Peyton Manning.
Any fan of Peyton Manning or the NFL generally knows that Manning is the consummate professional. He treats the fans, media personnel, teammates, and opponents with respect. He works as hard—and probably harder—at his craft than any other player in the league. And he produces one fun, family-friendly commercial after another, showing his sense of humor and a humble assessment of his own importance. But what many fans of Manning and the NFL may not be aware of is Manning’s Christian faith. In the excerpt below from Peyton’s book Manning (available on Amazon in paperback hereand Kindle here), which he co-wrote with his father Archie Manning in 2001, the record-setting quarterback gives a rare description of his faith and its importance to him. The description is a rare one, not because Peyton’s faith is an insignificant part of his life, but because, as Peyton explains in the excerpt, he has intentionally chosen to speak more by his actions than by his words.
Here is the excerpt :
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