We’re in a new series called “Foundations” which builds off of Jesus’ metaphor in Matt 7: “A house built on sand will never be able to stand BUT a house that’s built on the rock will never be able to fall.”
This week, we’re in Practice #7: Go Evangelize. On Sunday, our guest preacher Kyle Martin shared with us four steps to take when sharing the gospel with someone new: Love - Listen - Discern - Respond.
Today, let’s consider what DISCERN looks like in the context of sharing the good news about Jesus, beginning with Acts 17:16-31 (NET):
While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, his spirit was greatly upset because he saw the city was full of idols.So he was addressing the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles in the synagogue, and in the marketplace every day those who happened to be there. Also some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were conversing with him, and some were asking, “What does this foolish babbler want to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods.” (They said this because he was proclaiming the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.) So they took Paul and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are proclaiming? For you are bringing some surprising things to our ears, so we want to know what they mean.” (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there used to spend their time in nothing else than telling or listening to something new.)
So Paul stood before the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I see that you are very religious in all respects. For as I went around and observed closely your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: ‘To an unknown god.’ Therefore what you worship without knowing it, this I proclaim to you...
If you look at the pattern of the apostle Paul’s missionary encounters in various Greek and Roman cities, you will see that his first step is always to observe. He acts as a detective - watching, listening, discerning. In the text we just read, we see Paul observing the Athenians. He notices their religiosity. He takes the time to understand the practices of worship they engage in. He reads their religious materials. This is all toward the goal of discernment.
Consider how discerning you are with regard to the people around you. Do you know their values? Their goals? Their priorities and patterns? Discerning how and what God may be doing in someone’s life is a key step in sharing the good news about Jesus with them. Since God is inviting them into relationship with Him, we can model that relationship through intentional discernment and friendship. Ask God to make you a willing discerner of the people around you. Pray that as you discern a person’s wants, needs, and desires, that God would open up a conversation for you to tell them about Jesus.
Published on 11-10-2021 @ 4:20 AM CDT