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Paul, the Areopagus & the Why of evangelism

We all find evangelism hard. Admitting that is the first step to dealing with it. But what’s the second step? What gets in the way of people taking the next step with their acquaintances, friends and family?

Our Mission Pastor, Sam Hilton recently gave an excellent talk from Acts 17 that highlighted 3 big reasons. I’d recommend you listen to it. If you’re training an MTSer, it would be a great resource to listen and review together.

  1. We don’t understand the non-Christian world-view enough
  2. We don’t get distressed about people’s idolatry enough
  3. We get caught in the same idolatry, and don’t long for God’s glory enough

Have a listen here.

 

What did Paul share when he shared his life?

In 1Thessalonians, Paul says “We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.”

A common reaction to this is to almost imagine that Paul had two lives… his gospel preaching life, and his normal person life. The implication being that pastors and ministers today should not just peach the gospel to the flock God has given to their care, but they should share their hobbies, their song lists, their holidays.

But, think back to 1Thessalonians… Paul had been with them about 3 weeks (Acts 17:1-9) before being chased out of the city after a new convert (Jason) got persecuted. What did he share with them? His love of soccer? His favourite movies? No. He shared the gospel with them, and he shared the effects of preaching the gospel with them. He recruited them to his passion… gospel preaching.

We see this when you put verse 8 and 9 together… Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well; Surely you remember our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.

I fear a future where pastors are mainly on about life-sharing and less on about gospel-passion-sharing. Because for Paul, they were one in the same thing.