Monthly Archives: December 2014

“Common Ground”

Pastor Dave Brooks, my Pastor, preached an effective message on evangelism last Sunday.  If you would like to read my summary of that sermon, “Common Ground,” my notes follow.

“Common Ground”
By Pastor Dave Brooks
Waukee Community Church
Sunday, December 7, 2014
Text:  Acts 14:1-28
Summary Notes of and Editorializing of Dr. Bob Stouffer
We work hard to protect our privacy.  And we are annoyed by interruptions.  As a result, we look at others, don’t want to be annoying to them, and we do not share the Gospel.  In this passage of Acts, Paul effectively spoke about Jesus to a culture which was annoyed by Jesus.
Paul and Barnabas are on the 1st Missionary Journey.  They were speaking to people who were far away from God.  Paul created common ground with people who did not know God.
How do we speak of Jesus in our culture?
1.  Speak WITH CONFIDENCE.  Barnabas spoke boldly about the Lord (Acts 14:3).  These evangelists were equipped by the power of the Holy Spirit and power of the message of the Gospel.  God will give us what we need when we speak this powerful message to others.  God confirms the message through the power of the Holy Spirit.  As with Paul and Barnabas, some will believe, and some will not believe.  Like these 1st Century evangelists, you could get “run out of town.”  Still, speak boldly.
2.  Speak WITH GREAT HUMILITY.  Know that most people have no knowledge of God.  This truth should allow you to better understand why people reject the Gospel message.  God healed a man through Paul; as a result, the people thought Paul and Barnabas were gods.  Paul and Barnabas corrected the people’s wrong thinking; they were men, not gods.  The evangelists were humble; they elevated Jesus.  He is God.  We, also, should be filled with humility, grace, love, and mercy.  Point the people to God.
3.  Speak BY FINDING COMMON GROUND (Acts 14:15b-17).  Paul looked for object lessons in his evangelism.  Paul was looking for commonality, which would lead to dialogue, not debate.  We should listen to bridge gaps.  Diversity?  Yes, God loves all people of the world!  Current events?  Yes!  Ferguson, Missouri.  Such events are breaking God’s heart.  Christmas?  Yes.  Gifts.  Handel’s “Messiah.”  Pray by name for Gospel common ground with people.  Speak of similarities first — then, the differences — without confrontation.
4.  Speak and PERSEVERE.  Some will be offended.  Paul was stoned almost to death as a result of the people who were offended.  We can’t even imagine a mob pelting us with rocks!  Paul got up!  He went back to his evangelism!  Paul went to new cultures, and he came back to towns who had previously run him out of town!  He went back to the town where the people had stoned him!  He persevered.  He endured.  The path of Kingdom work is not easy.  Life is hard.  Obstacles or persecution will come.  Persevere!  (2 Timothy 3:1-4:1-8).  With Kingdom advances will come opposition — which is often the greatest when we are on God’s agenda.
Speak with confidence, with great humility, by finding common ground, and while persevering!