Common Ground

Who are the easiest people to talk to in your life? I don’t mean your parents, although hopefully they are still easy for you to talk to. The easiest people to talk with are those who we have something in common with. That is both a blessing, and a curse. I won’t dive into why it could be a curse today, maybe another day. But we can easily talk to those that we spend the most time with, and that we have something in common with. Let’s apply that to evangelism. Who should be the most natural group of people we share the love of Jesus with? It is those we have something in common with or those we spend the most time with. Why? When you have something in common, it gives you more credibility. We see this in Acts 22:1-2 which says, “Brethren and fathers, hear my defense before you now. And when they heard that he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, they kept all the more silent.”

Paul has been attacked, and some Jewish people want to kill him. They have incited a riot against him. So much so, that some soldiers had to swoop in and protect him. As they were going to take him into the barracks, Paul wanted to make a plea to the people. It is here that he starts to speak to them in Hebrew, their language. Or course, Hebrew was also Paul’s language because he was Jewish as well. At least for the moment, it gave Paul an “in” with the crowd. This wasn’t someone of a different country or origin wanting to tell them how to believe. This was one of their own. If you read on in Acts 22, you will see that it didn’t last long. However, Paul had a moment, and he seized it. Paul was intentional about pointing people to Jesus every opportunity he had. I have talked with many Christians who say that they know they should do that, but they struggle in doing that. I completely get it. Sometimes it is hard to get that conversation started, or it feels awkward. However, we need to realize that that is Satan trying to silence us, or it is possible that it is our own pride in wanting to be liked and accepted by people keeping us silent. Setting those two possibilities aside, what about those who want to do the right thing, but aren’t sure how to? Let’s let Scripture be our guide in how to get into those conversations.

If you read in Acts 22, you will see that Paul simply shared his testimony. He didn’t have some long presentation that he had memorized. When he was given the opportunity, Paul shared how God called him, saved him, and was in the process of changing him. That is the best advice I can give you, share your testimony. If you are truly saved, then you have a story. It breaks down into three parts: what your life was like before Christ, how you come to know you needed to be saved, and what God is doing in your life since He saved you. Use the Bible to help you in your presentation, but share your story. It always amazes me how God puts me in front of people who are walking down similar paths to the ones I walked down. God, in His sovereignty, arranges these meetings so that I can point people to Him. On Sunday mornings, I’m pastor Justin who is preaching to the people about what God says and how we should live. But in these encounters, I’m who I really am, a person who has been saved by God’s grace, and just wants to tell others how they can be as well. When I share my testimony, I gain some credibility because I can understand where they are, and what they are experiencing. It doesn’t mean that I have all the answers, but it does mean that our common ground builds a bridge that allows me to invite them to trust Jesus. What’s your story? How can God use your story to reach others? Will you let Him?

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Justin

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