PREACH THE GOSPEL WITH HUMILITY AND GRACIOUSNESS
In Acts 28:17-20 we read: "After three days he called together the leaders of the Jews. When they had gathered he said to them: “Brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors, I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. After they examined me, they wanted to release me, since I had not committed a capital offense. Because the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar; it was not as though I had any accusation against my nation. For this reason I’ve asked to see you and speak to you. In fact, it is for the hope of Israel that I’m wearing this chain.”
He was tactful, respectful and conciliatory to the Jewish leaders at Rome.
He called them brothers.
Far too often we forget, that we were once lost like those are without Christ. We forget, that we were once under the wrath of God, that His word says we were against Him, and even working against Him! This is what Jesus tells us in Matthew 12:30 "Anyone who is not with Me is against Me, and anyone who does not gather with Me scatters." I really like the way "The Message" translates this verse: "...If you're not on my side, you're the enemy; if you're not helping, you're making things worse."
This should cause us to be humble and gracious when we present the gospel. It should fill our gospel message with compassion and understanding, causing us to remember where we were, in opposition to Christ, working against Him. This is amazing when you stop and think about it, because Christ died for us, while we were yet sinners, while we were on the opposite team, while we were fighting against Him, He gave Himself for us. So in the same way, with love, compassion, mercy and grace, let us humbly take the gospel out to the world.
Paul, while a prisoner, was gracious to those he spoke to, he asked permission to speak to them, and told them that it was because of hope he was there.
We need to recapture the spirit of humility and graciousness as we share our faith, just as Paul did. And while I know that there were times when Paul was more aggressive in his preaching, and that he did preach judgment at times, this was after people had rejected the gospel that he delivered in humility and graciousness, and even this was an act of love, as he was warning them that there was not hope for them apart from Christ.
For the glory of God, in humility and graciousness, let us proclaim the news, Jesus saves, Jesus saves!
Trembling and pierced by the Word,