How to share the gospel accross cultures

A while back I used these notes in a training session on reaching out to those from different cultures to us thought I would share them with you here….

The Promises that encourage us

Gen. 22:18 And in your Seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed

Ps 22:27 All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the LORD; and all the families of the nations shall worship before You.

Ps 96:5 For all the gods of the nations are idols; but the LORD made the heavens.

Ps 2:8 Ask of Me, and I shall give the nations for Your inheritance; and the uttermost parts of the earth for Your possession.

Rev 7.9-ff. After these things I looked, and lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, out of all nations and kindred’s and people and tongues, stood before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palms in their hands. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God sitting on the throne, and to the Lamb.

This encouragement is necessary. The devil would love us to be discouraged and only attempt to witness to people like ourselves. The truth is God has broken down all the barriers. We can reach out.

The Ministry we have received

2 Cor 4.1ff Therefore since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not faint. But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness, nor adulterating the Word of God, but by the revelation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. But also if our gospel is hidden, it is hidden to those being lost, in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving ones, so that the light of the glorious gospel of Christ (who is the image of God) should not dawn on them. For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ For it is God who said, “Out of darkness Light shall shine;” who shone in our hearts to give the brightness of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us;

1. We have received what we can give!

2. No funny stuff called for!

3. We must not add or subtract from the word of God. What is important? It is the truth we teach not our ideas. Consciences of all bear witness. People do know (see Ro 1). They are without excuse.

4. It needs a sovereign work of God to unblind minds. He makes his light shine! We need to ask him to do that. There is no such thing as an easy case for salvation. Lets believe that he can save a hardened Muslim as easily as a secular Brit.!

5. We don’t preach ourselves- we are to serve, unlike some colonial missionaries!
How do we go about it?

1 Cor 9v19 For though I am free from all, yet I have made myself servant to all, so that I might gain the more. And to the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might gain the Jews. To those who are under the Law, I became as under the Law, so that I might gain those who are under the Law. To those who are outside Law, I became as outside Law (not being outside law to God, but under the law to Christ), so that I might gain those who are outside Law. To the weak I became as the weak, so that I might gain the weak. I am made all things to all men, so that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the sake of the gospel, so that I might be partaker of it with you.
How are we to be all things to all men?

1. Being appropriate

Non-English are more amenable to being approached than English. I deliberately say English- in my experience the English are much harder to talk to than the Scots! Generally whatever the culture a guy on his own should not approach a woman on his own. There are exceptions – Jesus did! But in general DON’T DO IT! Dot be afraid to walk into some of the coffee shops and talk to people. Try and meet people as friends not salesmen!

2. Dress sense. Some cultures offended by women in jeans. Almost all by women in short skirts- Don’t offend people unnecessarily.

3. Public displays of affection are a general no-no for most cultures!

4. Ask about family more than work! Non-westerners tend to think in relationship terms.

5. Find a point of contact. Even if it’s I visited a nearby country once. Even better if have friend already. Ask God to give you friends from other nations. I did that as a child in Sussex where non-whites were few and far between and ended up in Essex and then here! I love your country’s food is a great one!

6. Find out as much as possible about other countries their news etc. If you don’t know anything, be honest and ask them!

7. Avoid politics

8. Jesus’ tips for successful evangelism were as follows-

Lu 10:7-8 And into whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. And heal the sick that are in it, and say to them, The kingdom of God has come near you!

So Eat the food! Get your lunch in a Turkish restaurant/ buy some Turkish sweets. If you are visiting and they offer you anything TAKE IT!!! Food is very important. If you eat haggis with a Scot then you are halfway to being accepted by them, curry with an Indian likewise!

1 Co. 10:27 If any of those who do not believe invite you to a feast, and if you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you, asking no questions for conscience’ sake.

You may well want to pray more earnestly than normal. Don’t forget there is a real spiritual power behind false religions. Don’t get in too deep. Pray before, during, after any evangelism. Look after each other. If doubts start to rise or you feel heavy afterwards find someone who isn’t like that and ask them to pray for you.

And don’t be afraid to ask to pray for the person you are talking to for healing or that God would reveal himself to them. Remember, the bible says if people seek for God with all their heart he will be found by them, so encourage people to seek!

9. Emphasize sin and grace as the distinctives of our faith. Challenge them to ask their leaders, search other faiths for an answer for the sinner other than Christ. They may come back with things to do, but they are laws that we cannot fulfill. Say how can a holy God accept sinful man. Talk of prostitutes and ask why their people don’t try and evangelize them! Let the offense of the gospel be seen in all its glory- The gospel has power!

10 Don’t sin or water down the gospel to be culturally relevant.

“We must never forget that the early Church did not explode because it was

a comfortable haven for those weary of life’s pressures or because it accommodated

the cultures values. The early Church turned the world upside down because

the believers confessed that Jesus, not Caesar was Lord. They did not embrace

the culture, they scandalised it.” (Colson, The Body, p335).

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