Tuesday: The Gospel as a Point of Contact

Given what we learned yesterday, it is not difficult to see why-when the gospel came to Thessalonica-many non-Jews of the city responded positively. Whether or not Paul was aware of the Cabirus cult before arriving in the city, his Messianic approach in the synagogue resonated with the unique spiritual longings of the local pagans.

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When the gospel came to Thessalonica, the working classes of the city were ready for it, and they responded in large numbers. They were also ready for extreme interpretations of the gospel. The Cabirus cult had enshrined in the people a spirit of rebellion against authority that may have been the source of the disorderly conduct that Paul addresses in his two letters to them (see 1 Thess. 4:11125:142 Thess. 3:6711).

Read 1 Corinthians 9:19-27. What fundamental missionary strategy does Paul lay out in this passage? What potential danger lurks in this method? How can the two principles of this passage be kept in proper balance?

The gospel has the greatest impact when it impacts the needs, hopes, and dreams of the audience. But while the Holy Spirit can provide bridges for the gospel, this normally happens as a result of much listening and prayerful experimentation on the part of those witnessing. Experience has also taught us that people are most open to the Adventist message in times of change. Among the changes that open people to new ideas are economic turmoil, political strife, war, weddings, divorce, dislocation (moving from one place to another), health challenges, and death. The Thessalonians had experienced their fair share of change and dislocation, and this helped the gospel to take root.

But people who are baptized in times of dislocation also tend to be unstable, at least at first. Most apostasies occur in the first few months after conversion. The letters to Thessalonica bear witness to considerable instability in the church in the months following Paul’s original visit.

What can we do to help members who are still adjusting to their new life in Christ? Seek out someone new, or even a young person. What can you do to help keep this person grounded and stable in the Lord? You’ll be amazed to find out how much this kind of ministry will help strengthen yourself, as well.



Tuesday: The Gospel as a Point of Contact — 3 Comments

  1. In my part of the world as is the case in many other parts of the world the church has the golden opportunity of capitalizing on the economic and political challenges that are facing us. People are seeking a better way and that better way is Christ Jesus. No wonder the gosspel is called the GOOD NEWS OF SALVATION. One of the challenge that the church will have though is to help these people understand that the changes they desire may never be seen in this political or economic system but in God's eternal government which He will set up.

  2. The churches today appear to be taking a behind the scene approach to societies ills, economic turmoil, political strife, health challenges (which the secular society has taken over completely), etc. The church is still doing great work however, in disaster relief, food distribution, hospitals. This is what I see in Adventism, but a large number of people have never heard of Adventist, they get their understanding of Jesus, the gospel, and church through these more visible churches, and these churches support all kinds of worldly endeavors, be it entertainment, lifestyles, basically their overall worldview. Like Paul, we as individual disciples of Christ need to become "Street Preachers".


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