Introducing Others to Jesus – Paul in Athens – 08/05/22

PASSAGE: Acts 17:16-34

After being on the run for his life, Paul finds himself in Athens, a cultural and intellectual hotspot of the Roman Empire. Here there are many views on life, ideas to debate, gods to worship and the Christian faith isn’t overly familiar. While this is very different to the world we find ourselves in now, in some ways it feels familiar and so as we look to live out or faith in the places we find ourselves in, with the people we meet, what might we learn from Paul?

1. Paul makes CONNECTS with the ideas around him

One way Paul CONNECTS with where he is, is through paying attention to where he is and who he is with. A way to consider in doing this ourselves is through LISTENING WELL, with HUMILITY and in PRAYER.

2. Paul makes CONTACT with the ideas around him. 

As we approach our culture we can do so in 3 ways. We can EMBRACE it, ESCAPE it or ENGAGE it. By ENGAGING the culture we do so with ANYONE who might cross our path and by COMMUNICATING with them in a way they can understand.

3. Paul presents a CHALLENGE to the worldview of the people he meets.

In his interactions with others, Paul takes the opportunity to present a CHALLENGE to their thoughts and beliefs. We can do this ourself in a way thats centred on PRAYER by… 

Praying for OPPORTUNITIES, AWARENESS and COURAGE.

CONNECT, CONTACT and CHALLENGE. In looking to INTRODUCE HIM TO OTHERS, these observations of Pauls time in Athens may provide some help for our own lives.  

Questions to consider PERSONALLY or within LIFE GROUPS. 

  1. What from the passage comes alive to you when you read it? WHY do you think that is? WHAT might it mean?
  2. CONNECTING, CONTACTING and CHALLENGING… What of these 3 areas do you find easiest/most difficult? Why?
  3. What might it look like for you to try CONNECTING, CONTACTING and/or CHALLENGING in the up coming week?
  4. Who would be 1 PERSON and what would be 1 AREA that you could pray for this week in relation to this mornings thoughts? 

Apply

As I reflect what have I found interesting? 

As I reflect what has challenged my life, attitudes and actions

Is there one practical step I can apply to my life to help me to become more like Jesus?

How would this help me to introduce others to Jesus?

Is there there anything I need to pray about, explore further or extra help I need?

Is there someone I should share with, pray with or encourage?

Introducing Others to Jesus – Telling Others – 01/05/22

Passage – 1 Peter 3:15-16

15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

The passage 1 Peter 3, 13-22 is entitled suffering for doing good, yet Peter does not illustrate what the issues were. As we, now, in the Western ‘civilised world’ think about persecution, of the Church we are drawn, by Peter, into the persecution of the Early Church. We are left to our own conclusions what persecution means, then, and now, and how we might respond when we are persecuted or rejected for our belief in Christ.

In Ch. 1; 6 & 7 Peter talks about trials and trials which will show that our Faith is genuine, yet in Ch. 3 Vs 16 he states keep your conscience clear. Both of these statements bring us encouragement that in following Christ, Ch.3 Vs 15, for everything that we will be in His will.

Our trust is that in studying 1 Peter, Ch. 3; 15 & 16 that you will be better suited and more willing to share, walk and be blessed in following Him. It takes courage to interact with someone who is sceptical of our Christian beliefs, yet, we have to remember, their scepticism may be a front, for someone really searching, non-questioning, someone seeking, yet not really seeing. Christ asks us to be His voice in approaching others so that they may respond and follow Him.

  • How does Philippians Ch. 2 Vs 12 & 13 help us understand 1 Peter Ch. 3 Vs 15 & 16?
  • Our Testimony is personal, yet we make it public, in doing so do we give Jesus as the reason for our hope?
  • Communicate the gospel and do it with Gentleness and respect – what does this look like and how does it stand against righteous anger? How does James Ch. 1 Vs 20 or Romans Ch. 8 Vs 31 help us?
  • What is the importance of clear conscience here 1 Peter Ch. 3 Vs 16?
  • Early Christians suffered many forms of persecution because of their faith, but Jesus promised, “He who seeks his life will lose it; and he who loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:39; 16:25). Does this help us understand the verses in 1 Peter, or help to encourage us to witness more passionately?
  • 1 Peter is a book where every chapter is about how Christians suffer, for being Christians. Can you associate with this statement, and as you reflect on the hurt received, would you do it again?
  • Peter is a book of encouragement and challenge, where each verse is filled with statements bringing us closer to the living God. Do you think this is a fair or biased summary of the book?
  • No matter the situation you find yourself in, when sharing about Jesus, you will be amazed at your choice of words and the depth of your vocabulary as you share. Each time you talk about Jesus you get stronger and more convicted to tell others what He did for us.
  • When we share about what Jesus did for us are we being challenged to share Him further, each and every day?

Introducing others to Him. 1 Peter Ch. 3 gives us reassurance that:

  1. Christ will help us speak out for Him
  2. We should expect to suffer, as Christians, like Christ suffered for us
  3. We are not of this world, but are to witness to it.

Apply

As I reflect what have I found interesting? 

As I reflect what has challenged my life, attitudes and actions

Is there one practical step I can apply to my life to help me to become more like Jesus?

How would this help me to introduce others to Jesus?

Is there there anything I need to pray about, explore further or extra help I need?

Is there someone I should share with, pray with or encourage?