Acts of the Apostles

Different Tactics

Acts 14:15 – “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them.”

Paul and Barnabas are currently in Lystra (southern Turkey), an area heavily influence by both Greek and Roman culture. They had been preaching the gospel and engaging with people when Paul noticed a crippled man listening intently to the Word and he could see that the man had faith to be made well. When the people witness the man standing up and walking at Paul’s command, they thought that their gods had come down among them. They believed that Barnabas was Zeus and Paul, Hermes, and brought sacrifices in their honour.

Paul and Barnabas were so distressed by what was happening that they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, “Why are you doing these things?” They had come to show the people a real living God as opposed to mythical deities who could do nothing for them. The people served gods who they believed sat in a heavenly place but Paul wanted them to see the God who actually made the heavens!

Talking to people and sharing the gospel with those who have completely different views or beliefs can be difficult and it can sometimes mean having to adjust the focal point. When Paul preached to the Jews, he referred to the Torah and their forefather, Abraham. In Asia Minor, with Greco-Roman influence, he referred to the living God, the Creator of all things. The message of salvation never changed, just the way in which it was told.

God, by his Spirit, can guide us as we spread the good news of Jesus Christ to people from diverse backgrounds. When we understand our audience, we can better explain the wonders of God’s kingdom and the power that He has to change their life on a personal level.

Every person deserves to hear of God’s salvation; we just need to find the right way to tell them about it.

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