How do you witness to someone of another faith or no faith?

22 Jul

As nearly every community in America grows more diverse, it becomes increasingly important to get comfortable sharing Christ with people of another faith or no faith at all.  For those of us who grew up in the Bible belt, that can be a daunting task. Some time back, I shared a message with our high schoolers on this subject. Here are the highlights of it. May we all share Christ with someone this week!

“How Do I Witness to a World that Believes Everything?”

Acts 17:16-31

Years ago, I became concerned about a friend of mine because I knew his family didn’t go to church and I was afraid that he was not a Christian. One day I talked to him about it. Do you know what he said?  “I don’t believe all that stuff.”  “How do you know the Bible is really true?”  “How do you know that your religion is the right one?”  “I just take some of your religion and some of another religion and make my own religion.” AND I HAD NO IDEA WHAT TO SAY!

That conversation with my friend was my first experience with a world that believes everything. I have had many since. Have you noticed that more and more people say things just like my friend said?  How would you respond if you had someone say to you, “I don’t believe the Bible. I believe the Book of Mormon.”How can we tell the world if the world doesn’t believe?  The world does believe. It just believes all kind of stuff – mostly the wrong stuff.

  If you want to be a witness……

1)             Be informed about the diversity of our world  (v. 16-20)

Did you notice v. 16?  It says that the city was given over to idols.  Let me read you a description of this…

Athens was filled with examples of artistic beauty, particularly its statues of the Greek gods and the architectural magnificence of its temples. Paul, however, was deeply troubled by the idolatry that the art represented

Some of Athens’s most prominent features were its numerous pagan temples. The great temple to Athena (the Parthenon), the Erechtheion (dedicated to multiple deities), and the temple to the goddess Roma and the emperor Augustus stood atop the acropolis overlooking the city. Many other pagan sacred sites have also been found, confirming Petronius’s satirical assertion that it was easier to find a god than a man in Athens.

From the ESV Study Bible Commentary on the verse

It was easier to find a god than a man. THAT is religious diversity, my friends. That is the world that Paul was speaking to.  Like Paul, we live in a world today that has increasing ethnic and religious diversity…

  • More and more people do not believe (other religions/no religion)

Let me share with you two important numbers that you need to know:

A.)       The number of people in America who identify themselves with religions other than Christianity and Judaism has DOUBLED in the last 20 years (Since I graduated from high school)

B)        The number of people in America who tell surveyors that they have no religion at all has DOUBLED in the last 20 years.

  • More and more people have never heard

I could tell you about whole countries in our world where very few if any people have ever heard the gospel. However, did you know that there is a growing number of people right here in Alabama who have never heard the gospel?  Just the other day, I talked with a man who lived within a couple of miles of our church, but who had never heard about Jesus and the cross. If you don’t remember anything else I have shared, don’t forget this:  DON’T ASSUME ANYONE HAS HEARD THE GOSPEL.  Make sure by sharing it with them.

2)         Find a way to connect where they are        (v. 22-23)

You don’t get anywhere by just condemning people. I once knew of a young man who attempted to witness to a non-believer that he had met while in college. The conversation started out this way:  “How does it feel to be going to hell?”  Now the person who did that – they had their theology correct. If the person did not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, they were on their way to hell.  However,  he approached it all wrong. You can go about the right thing the wrong way. The Apostle Paul does a good job in these verses of connecting where the people were. Start out with where they are in their understanding.

3)         Focus on Creation   (v. 24)

Why is it important to go back to creation?  Because anybody with any sense knows that this world did not get here by accident. There are truly not many people who believe that this planet and the people on it just happened by chance. Not many at all.  Most people believe that there is a creator because they inherently know that all of those could not have just happened by accident. How does this help us tell the world?   I once witnessed to a young man who told me that he was agnostic, but I took him back to creation and he believed that there had to be a creator.  “Wouldn’t it make sense for that creator to reveal Himself?”   That led me to Jesus and the Bible.

 

4)         Focus on God’s authority  (v. 25-26, 30-31)

Do you know why some people just cannot open their mind up to anything but the idea of evolution and the fact that there is no God?  Because to believe there is a God in Heaven who made the world would mean that there must be some rules in this universe.

5)         Focus on the Resurrection of Christ (v. 31)

6)         Always share Hope   (v. 30)

“…should repent” They have an opportunity to believe


Always remember….

 

·      Be unashamed            (v. 22)

·      Expect opposition        (v. 32a)

·      Be confident in the Gospel’s power  (v. 32b)

Don’t shy away from sharing with someone of another faith or no faith. God will use you to build bridges into their life and, if you approach them respectfully, you will gain a hearing for the gospel of Christ!

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