Daily Devotional: Day 152
“And he [Paul] reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks” (Acts 18: 4, NKJV).
In Acts 18, Paul is in Corinth. Here he meets Aquila and his wife, Priscilla, and stays with them. During his stay in Corinth, which lasted eighteen months, Paul spent considerable time with Jews and Gentiles, hoping to bring them to a knowledge of Christ. Today’s passage tells us that Paul reasoned with them every sabbath and persuaded both Jews and Gentiles. I’d like us to focus today’s message on the importance of reasoning and persuasion when we present the Gospel to those who don’t believe in Jesus.
Contrary to what some suppose, Christianity is a reasonable faith. Therefore, it is not acceptable to tell people to just believe in Jesus and they will be saved. Asking people to abandon their long-held beliefs and practices to follow Jesus is a big deal. People are where they are for a reason; we shouldn’t assume they are stupid. What we need to do is to be able to reason with people, make the effort to understand their point of view, their cultural and religious milieu, as well as their worldview, and meet them at that point; from there we can make the case for Jesus Christ. Learning to reason with non-Christians is as essential as reasoning with believers.
Paul reasoned with people of diverse cultural and religious background: Jews and Greeks. He made the effort to listen to them, understand where they stand, and why they believe what they believe. This is important, because you can’t any meaningful conversation with people if you fail to understand them. You don’t have to agree with them, but it is important to understand their position. Only then can you effectively present the Gospel in a manner that is persuasive and reasonable.
Christianity has a logic of its own, and it’s important to articulate this logic when we converse with those who don’t believe in Christ. We must rely on the Holy Spirit, but this does not mean we should ignore or downplay the value of reasoning. The Holy Spirit is not an unreasonable spirit. Relying on God’s wisdom, the message we present about Christ must be coherent and convincing.
Some Christians feel lost when they are asked tough questions about their own faith. Some even get angry for being asked questions about the very message they want people to believe. This shouldn’t happen. Let’s learn how to effectively engage with unbelievers. Let’s learn a thing or two from Paul’s playbook.
May grace, wisdom and peace be multiplied unto you today! Amen.
For further study: John 4:1-28