Family Bible Study lesson for Nov. 11: Good News to All Cultures
October 26 2001 by David Edgell , Acts 8:26-40

Family Bible Study lesson for Nov. 11: Good News to All Cultures | Friday, Oct. 26, 2001

Friday, Oct. 26, 2001

Family Bible Study lesson for Nov. 11: Good News to All Cultures

By David Edgell Acts 8:26-40 What makes you uncomfortable? Is it sharing your faith with a stranger? Is it talking to someone for whom you have little respect? Is it going to an area considered "unsafe" to witness for the Lord? We are often faced with overcoming fear. We affirm that God in His sovereignty has provided salvation for all. We affirm that it has always been God's will for the people of the earth to come to Him through faith. But we allow others to convince us that we must erect barriers to the gospel. We convince ourselves that someone else will complete the task. We allow fear of the unknown to paralyze us from sharing Christ with those of another culture or background. I saw this in a vivid way recently in Romania.

I was participating in a mission trip to Eastern Europe and my team was working in the southern city of Slatina, Romania. Almost immediately upon arrival, we were informed by fellow Christians to be aware of the presence of gypsies. The gypsies have a bad reputation for stealing, scamming and begging for money. We were informed any money given to the gypsy children would be applied to something other that what was claimed and that giving money would result in being overwhelmed by other gypsy children. Most thieves in the city and the pickpockets on the public transportation would surely be gypsies. The advice given to the Americans was to be careful of the gypsies.

Our first day witnessing on the streets in Slatina was a rich and a rewarding time. We were able to give out gospel tracts and share Christ's message of hope with numerous individuals as we made our way around the center of the downtown.

One street corner provided an encounter with several men who had a shell game set up on a makeshift table. One man spoke to get our attention and asked us to join them. My translator became instantly standoffish and quietly indicated "gypsy."

He looked in disbelief when I asked the man coordinating the game, "Do you like a game of chance?" I waited for a translation, but there was silence. I looked at the translator and he was unsure if I really wanted to speak with the men.

"Go ahead, let's talk to them," I said.

"Are you sure?" he responded.

"Yes, they need to hear the gospel and it will be fun," I said.

Unsure of my sanity, the translator began a conversation that yielded a strong challenge for these men to follow Christ.

This encounter challenged my translator and me regarding our preconceived notions about people of other backgrounds. He later shared his sorrow over his hesitation and I had to confess that I had kept my hand on my money clip as I shared with the men.

In Acts chapter eight, Philip crossed over several cultural barriers as he preached in Samaria. He preached to those whom the Jews had stated were beyond reach. His message focused on a repentance that was for anyone who would believe. He even joined in evangelistic efforts with Peter and John. Two men who had heard Jesus state that they were to go to "Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth" (Acts. 1:8).

Philip's ability to cross religious and cultural barriers was used by God to send him on a specific mission to a man whom God was preparing.

This was what God had in mind when He inspired Solomon during his prayer at the temple concerning the foreigner: "Then hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and do whatever the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your own people Israel, and may know that this house I have built bears your name" (2 Chr. 6:33).

Philip encountered a man returning from the temple reading scripture inspired by God. And it was Philip, the man prepared by God and who had been willing to share with the Samaritan people about God, that God used to reach this foreigner with the message of Christ.

May we follow Philip's example and move beyond our comfort zones and be faithful to share the message of Christ with all people in the face of our fear. Then it may be that God will break through and use us to reach those He has prepared with His message of hope.

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10/26/2001 12:00:00 AM by David Edgell , Acts 8:26-40 | with 0 comments
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