Memorise: For as I passed by, and behold your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. Acts 17:23
Read: Acts 17:22-28 (KJV)
22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.
23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, To The Unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
In Matthew 4:19, Jesus likened evangelism to fishing.
“And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
When you want to go fishing you need to have some bait that will attract the fish to you before you catch it in your net or hook. This is the same way we must approach evangelism. If you make it obvious while approaching people that you have come to preach the gospel, they are likely to put a front, but if you approach them with a possible point of interest and they warm up to you, then you can present the gospel to them.
In Acts 17:22-26, Paul wanted to win a community for God. Having noticed that they were already ignorantly worshipping God at an altar dedicated to “THE UNKNOWN GOD”, he decided to start from there. When you want to preach to someone, find out their interest or curiosities first, then start from there. If you approach a person to discuss his/her area of interest, you would definitely get their attention and then you can present the gospel afterward.
One day, I was on a plan and seated beside me was a man who had on gold necklaces, a gold wristwatch and even his walking stick was gold. I said to him, “Sir, do you know my father? He owns plenty of gold. He even has gold factories all around the world.” I had the man’s full attention. He asked “What is his name?” I said “His name is Chief Emmanuel” and then I went on toll describe God some more to him. By the time I was through, he was eager to meet my Father, so I introduced him to Jehovah, the King of all kings. I am sure nobody had ever presented God to him that light before, so it was easier for him to accept. If you are preaching to a farmer, speak the language of farming that he understands; if you are talking to politicians, tell them Someone somewhere has been a leader even before we were all born and no one has ever been able to overthrow Him. Get good knowledge about the person you want to preach to and approach them from their area of interest. The Holy Spirit will do the rest.
Every successful fisherman goes fishing with a bait. If you don’t have any bait when fishing for souls, you may not get any results.
Adapted from Open Heavens Daily Devotional written by Pastor E.A. Adeboye, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, one of the largest evangelical Churches in the world and also the President of Christ the Redeemer’s Ministries.