Imitate Paul


Monday, we discussed how NOT to share your faith. Yesterday, we looked at the ultimate role model: Jesus.

Today’s topic? Be Like Paul.

Here’s what Paul himself said:

I urge you to imitate me. (1 Corinthians 4:16)

How exactly did Paul share his faith? Let’s take a look at one of his most famous examples.

He was hanging out in Athens, Greece one day. He was “distressed to see that the city was full of idols” and that its inhabitants “spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.” (Acts 17:16, 21)

So, he decided to tell ’em about the biggest idea ever: Jesus. He stood up right in the middle of their idea-swapping meeting place (sort of like the Internet, except with more dirt and giant stone columns) and started sharing the gospel. Here’s how he kicked it off:

People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what your worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you. (Acts 17:22b-23)

He then described the God he knew personally:

The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places they should live. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out to him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being. As some of your own poets have said, “We are his offspring.” (Acts 17:24-28)

Here’s the big finish:

Therefore, since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone — an image made by man’s design and skill. In the past God  overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he  appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.  (Acts 17:29-31)

So what does it mean to imitate Paul? Here are a few suggestions based on the above:

  • Be bold
  • Know your audience
  • Seek common ground
  • Compare and contrast
  • Keep it simple and straightforward
  • Let God’s truth speak for itself
  • End with a call to action

So, what happened after Paul shared his faith? Some “sneered.” Others said: “We want to hear you again on this subject.” And others “became followers of Paul and believed.” (Acts 17:32-34)

Be like Paul. And then let God do the rest.

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