Passage for Study: Acts 17: 10 - 34 … Acts 17 linked for study …
My Journal for Today: Chuck Swindoll has selected the text from Acts 17 which describes Paul’s famous preaching stint to the Greek philosophers on the hill known as The Areopagus in Athens; and Swindoll’s devotional today was mainly directed toward preachers or pastors who have the responsibility of preaching the word of God to groups of people who may include skeptics such as atheists or agnostics. But don’t turn me off here if you don’t consider yourself to be a preacher/pastor; because the points made by Dr. Swindoll can and should apply to all of us because of the admonitions of Jesus Himself in the Great Commission (see Matt. 28: 19-20) and by the Apostle Paul in Acts 1: 8.
You see, my dear fellow Christian, we are all to be “preachers” of a sort, sharing our testimony of salvation in witness to our faith whenever or wherever the opportunity presents itself. That was also the admonition of old Peter, the Apostle, in 1st Peter 3: 15, to “ … always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness [i.e., compassion] and fear [i.e., respect].“ Therefore, since there will be a time when any Christian must witness his/her faith, we can all learn from what Chuck Swindoll is sharing for and/or to preachers today.
And in that sense, Swindoll first charges “preachers” (or those sharing their faith) to STAY ON THE SUBJECT – CHRIST. As you read in today’s passage, Paul, though he used an introduction that the Greeks could understand, was focused on doing one thing; and that was sharing Christ with his audience. And if you are given the divine appointment of sharing your testimony with someone, especially a skeptic, we should always remember that our testimony is about Christ, not about our selves.
Secondly, Swindoll exhorts us to ALWAYS SPEAK THE TRUTH WITHOUT FEAR; and I know that is a tall order for many Christians who don’t consider themselves preachers or evangelists. But we simply must remember what is at stake here; and that may be the eternal life of the one to whom you have been called to give your testimony or with whom you are given the opportunity to share the Gospel. Hence, Peter’s exhortation above to “always be ready to give a defense … for the hope that is in you;” … and that is eternal lift in/through Christ. And I also exhort you to learn and internalize the truth of 1st John 4: 4, … which states truth that ”… greater is HE that is in you (and that is Christ) than he that is in the world” (Satan or any other man/woman). You can stand without fear; because you stand with and for Christ. In that regard, also check out Romans 8: 31.
Now, thirdly in sharing our faith, we should remember to ALWAYS START WHERE YOUR AUDIENCE IS. In other words, the sharing of Christ or your testimony should take into consideration with whom you are sharing. Paul was speaking to a group of highly educated Greek philosophers; and he certainly wouldn’t share the Gospel with these men the same way he would to a group of Jewish peasants in a synagogue. And he didn’t. No, Paul catered his words to his audience; and that’s what we need to do when we share our testimony with some so-called intellectual “snob” as opposed to a lost buddy in the locker room after a game of pickup basketball. Remember with whom God has given you this 1st Peter 3: 15 opportunity; and share your story with respect to that person.
And finally, ALWAYS SURRENDER THE RESULTS TO GOD. And this may be the most important point in sharing your faith. It is not your responsibility to save the lost. It’s God’s! So, leave the outcomes to God. Our responsibility is only to share Christ; and then let Him do the rest. Therefore, when He presents us with an opportunity to share our testimony, don’t get hung up on trying to be the one to do the salvation gig. That’s God’s business. And also remember, that NO ONE can argue with a testimony. Oh, they may argue about the validity of the Bible or give all kinds of arguments about how Christ is not pertinent to their lives, but they cannot argue with the truth of what Christ has meant to you. So, your testimony, considering their feelings, is your best weapon in sharing Christ with anyone, no matter what their station in life may be.
And the closing words of Pastor Chuck today are good ones. ”When your moment comes (i.e., your divine appointment to share Christ), stand and deliver. God will give you the courage as you tell others of His Son. And there is no greater honor on earth.” [context added by yours truly – wrb]
My Prayer for Today: Lord, give me the opportunity to share You with others; and when the appointment arises, give me the boldness and the words to tell my story of the hope I have in You. Amen