6 Ingredients to Bringing the Gospel to the People of Your New Culture
There are 6 ingredients to bringing the Gospel to the people of your new culture. We see this in Acts 8. As God will place us in the new culture, one of our responsibilities will be to share Jesus with the people in our new culture. How are we to do this? How can I share Jesus with someone who does not speak my language clearly and to whom I cannot speak their language clearly? This is a difficult task, but it can be done.
We have an example here of how it was done. We see several ingredients of bringing the Gospel to the people in my new culture.
6 INGREDIENTS TO BRINGING THE GOSPEL TO PEOPLE OF MY NEW CULTURE
1. Familiarize myself with foreign cultures. (8:25)
Philip took time to familiarize himself with the foreign culture. He had spent time in Jerusalem and then in Samaria.
Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. And there was great joy in that city.
(Acts 8:4-8 NKJV)
As Philip was learning to reach people who were different from himself, God was bringing the people of Samaria to Him. Then God gave Philip a new assignment. God said that He wanted Philip to go and speak to someone from Ethiopia. In this case, the person would have no connection to Jewish traditions. In all likelihood, this person from Ethiopia was a Gentile and not a Jew. As such, God is showing His servants that He wants to reach the entire world, not just Jews. Since this eunuch was a Gentile, of Ethiopian heritage, the approach would have to be different. Philip had learned new approaches with the Samaritans and now he could adapt these approaches for the Ethiopian – for Gentiles.
2. Focus on the direction of the Holy Spirit (8:26-29)
We have to listen to the Spirit
We have to obey the Spirit
We have to go where the Spirit leads us
We have to talk to the people that the Spirit tells us to talk to.
3. Fix my eyes on the needs of the person (8:30-31)
Philip, after He obeyed the Spirit, started to look at the needs of the person. He saw an opportunity when it came to understanding the Scriptures.
Something should be said about the translation that the eunuch was reading. He apparently was reading the Septuagint (Greek translation) of the Old Testament. As a Greek translation, it was different than the Hebrew. Just as expressions in English are different than the original Hebrew and Greek.
Many people have needs and they look to God for answers. When it comes to God’s Word, they have problems understanding. As Christians, we want to tell them what to think and what to do. But many times the people just need guidance to find the answers themselves. As they struggle, we can be there to answer questions and direct them to where God wants to help them. Not in a way that says that we know everything, but in a way that says that we know how to find God.
The Ethiopian asked for GUIDANCE not necessarily answers. We have to let the people discover for themselves who God is, and what He wants from us. It is also a more polite form of evangelism. When we tell people that they need Jesus, and then command them around with their relationship, we can lose our opportunity for God to use us. We are there to help and let the person who needs Jesus to FIND Him.
Notice the conversation that happens. The Ethiopian shares what he is learning and he is asking questions. Philip is providing answers and all the while, directing the Ethiopian to Jesus.
4. Find them a way to see Jesus as their answer (8:31-35)
Three primary ways in which Philip helped the man:
1. He listened to the questions that the man was asking.
2. He helped the man understand what the Bible was saying.
3. He used the Bible to point the man to what he really needed, Jesus.
Could you effectively share Jesus using only Isaiah 53? Philip did. This example shows the importance of knowing the Bible. The reason you want to know the Bible really well is because you need to ready to use different parts of the Bible to reach different people for different reasons.
You need to know the words – You need to memorize the Word of God (verse memory)
You need to know the truth – You need to meditate on the Word of God (truth memory)
You need to know the person and the approach – You need to mechanize the Word of God (sharing memory)
Let me share with you a few mechanisms that you can use to share Christ
1. Roman Road – This is sharing the importance of Jesus Christ using only the verses in Romans (Romans 3:23, 6:23, 5:8, 10:9, 10:13)
2. Spiritual Laws – You can use the Four Spiritual Laws as an approach to sharing the Gospel. This has been used very effectively by Campus Crusade for Christ and other organizations around the world.
4. Give a Question and Answer Session
5. Share Your Personal Testimony
The first three mechanisms are objective. Even the Q&A session can objective. You are letting the Bible answer the questions for
you. The last mechanism is very subjective. You are sharing with them your personal experience. No one can argue with your experience. But no matter what mechanism you choose, you will need to know the Bible very well.
When you know the culture, you can find ways that are effective in sharing Christ.
5. Forge them with the community of Christianity. (8:36-39)
Baptism is the way we identify with the Christianity. When we get baptized, we are saying that since we follow Jesus, we want to join the community of Jesus. In this case, there were probably a few witnesses of this baptism. This baptism occurred while they were traveling south. The eunuch wanted to define himself with the Christian community before he returned to his homeland. Perhaps he was one of the people who helped forge a new Christian witness in Ethiopia. Philip did not force baptism on the eunuch. Instead, the eunuch saw the need for community with other Christians. This is a natural result of following Jesus. We should not want to follow Jesus in isolation. We should want to follow Jesus in community.
When we accept Jesus, we accept the community of Jesus. We want to join Him and His family.
6. Fluctuate myself to the leading of the Holy Spirit for the next encounter (8:39-40)
When we have finished the task of the mission with one person, the Holy Spirit will prepare us for the next encounter. He will take the experience and use it for the next person that He wants us to reach. The Holy Spirit goes from person to person and reaches the world for Jesus. He will prepare us for one-on-one encounters.
I have to be ready to reach the next person for Jesus. I have to fluctuate myself to whom the Holy Spirit wishes for me to reach. I cannot just say: “I have witnessed to my family and now my task is over.” No, the task is continual and life-long. We go from person to person, family to family, city to city and even country to country – culture to culture. We are called to reach others for Jesus.