Here is a little snip from my scripture reading recently. (It really meshes with the post below)
Acts 22:2 “When they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew language, they became even quieter.” (HCSB)
The context of the above quote describes the loud and raucous audience that had formed as a result of Paul’s missionary exploits. Paul had been instructing people in “The Way” – specifically the controversy seemed to stem from Paul bringing in Gentiles (ahh, racism) into the Temple and thus ‘defiling’ it.
Luke’s description of the crowd’s reaction is quite interesting to me though. As soon as Paul spoke in the Hebrew language, the audience responded. The Jews who were in rage over the Gentiles understood and spoke the Gentile language. The whole world spoke and understood Greek at this time, BUT the Jewish population responded when he spoke to them in Hebrew! Why? Because it was the language of their culture.
Lesson learned? It isn’t enough to speak English – we must speak the language of the culture!
What does our preaching sound like in the ears of our culture? Is our message powerful, but our delivery killing it? Something to ponder.
7 thoughts on “Speaking the Language of the People”
I believe that scripture is a great example of a christian’s willingness to be obediant to the Holy Spirit. All christians need to be obediant to the Holy Spirit when presenting the Gospel even if that means being counter-culture much like John the Baptist. Only God can fully know the hearts of men. I believe this means as I let the Light of Christ shine through me I shouldn’t go on my own understanding when I contemplate how that should be done. I should look to the Lord and be willing to obey. I have a question for you. Is it possible to kill the Gospel of Christ? Matthew chapter 11 has some great insight into all of this. I believe God will do anything to reach His children. He will be relative to culture and anti-culture. It’s the Gospel of Christ that will never change. The package that the Gospel comes in is ever changing because we are individuals and God treats us as such. The sad truth is that there are individuals who will reject Christ no matter how He comes and they may try to use how He comes as an excuse much like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day did. Again, the wisdom here for christians is to be obediant to the Holy Spirit for only He can truly know the hearts of the people we are presenting the Gospel of Christ to and how best they will receive Him.
I agree totally that it is imperative that we be filled with the Spirit and follow His leading. I am also confident that God wants us to be strategic and use the minds that He created in us to be as effective as we can.Here is a classic example: In Acts 16 Paul’s missionary travels bring him to Derbe and Lystra where he finds Timothy – a young man who is deemed by the church as gifted as such to be Paul’s ministry companion. It is interesting that the very first thing Paul does is have Timothy circumscised (ouch!) specifically because of the Jewsish people they would encounter on their way. Timothy was born of a Greek father, and thus could be a hindrance if he repelled thos of the Jewish community. Paul made a strategic decision to have Timothy bend to the culture, so that his ministry among the Jews could be MORE effective.
As far as “Killing the Gospel” – I’m not sure what you mean exactly. I do know that some people will ultimatley reject the Gospel. Matthew 11 is part of the fulfillment of O.T. Prophecy that Israel would reject Jesus as the Messiah and that God would then turn to the Gentile nation. (Acts records this)People will reject Christ that is a fact of History, but hopefully they will not be helped in this rejection by ineffective ministry strategy on our part and hopefully never becuase of our insensitivity to to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
I was refering to your question posed in your blog concerning our delivery of the Gospel possibly killing the Gospel. Would God allow a person to be lost forever to Him because of a christian’s unwillingness to be obediant to the Spirit? I think he used Paul and Timothy so much because they were abundantly willing to be obediant to Him even when it caused them severe pain (much like the scripture verse in Acts), or going against traditions if need be. I think God doesn’t use some christians very much to convey the gospel to unbelievers because they aren’t completely willing to be obediant. I realize this is a simplistic way of looking at this, but I am confident if I am willing to trust in Him, He will never lead me into hindering the Gospel.
I’m sorry, I should read my own words I guess. I just used the words “killing It” as an expression. God is capable of doing whatever is neccesary to bring about salvation to a soul, I was just trying to make the point that we are characters in God’s story – and He has charged us with the Great Commission, therefore we have the responsibility to be the best stewards of the Gospel as we can be. Thus we should be as strategic as possible.
My friend and brother in Christ, I wish you well in your pursuit. Never forget that it is the power of Christ and what He did on the cross that convinces and saves a person. Not anything we do or say. I Corinthians chapter one. I thank the Lord that this is the Truth and find great peace in it.
Amen, It is certainly only His grace which saves us, and I am thankful for that!