Worship God not Men
“But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting: ‘Men, why are you doing this? We too are only men, human like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them…He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; He provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.’" - Acts 14:14-17 Some people might relish being worshipped, but not Paul and Barnabas. They had unwittingly stumbled into a scenario that rattled even Paul. Paul had just prayed for a lame man, who instantly began to leap and walk. When onlookers saw what happened, they began to call Paul and Barnabas Zeus and Hermes, two Greek gods.
Paul and Barnabas instinctively tore at their clothes, a Jewish response to blasphemy.
Paul ran into the multitude crying, ”Why are you doing this?” He was horrified! “We are men like you,” he shouted. And then he began to speak, instinctively, naturally, and from his heart.
He was in a tough situation, fraught with cultural and political intrigue. He could so easily have alienated the crowd, but he didn’t. When I look at his example, I see three pieces of advice for effectively sharing your faith:
1. Be passionate. When Paul tore his clothes in response to being worshiped, people sensed the depth of his commitment to the truth. People don’t care about what you have to say until they know how much you care!
2. Build a bridge. There was no synagogue where Paul preached that day. He was out in the back country, away from his “turf” and definitely out of his comfort zone. He was used to being able to go to a local synagogue where people knew the scriptures and prophecies and believed in God. Now he was talking to a group of people whose thoughts and worldviews came from a totally different context.
So he built a bridge by He talking about nature and creation.
He spoke of rain, crops, and the blessings of fruitful seasons. He connected with them in areas common to both cultures. He earned their trust and their interest, and he taught them of a God who loves them and provides such beauty.
3. Be brave. You will face opposition from the enemy when you share your faith. Expect it. You will face rejection from some people. Don’t let it scare you.
Jesus was rejected, but He pressed on, motivated by greater forces than fear or humiliation. He knew the joy that was set before Him.
His love overcame rejection and fear. It’s worth it to find the treasure of hearts prepared by God, eager to know more and to enter into His Kingdom.
When a group of disciples returned after being sent out by Jesus, amazed at what they witnessed and moved by the power of God, Jesus said (and I think He felt proud of them and touched by their joy), “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10: 18).
Every time a soul gets saved, does a piece of Satan’s kingdom fall like lightening?
“What a hollow ring there is to evangelism when it does not overflow from a Christ-filled heart.” —Sherwood E. Wirt
[Photo: a AVILA, CreationSwap]