Introduction

  1. Text: Col. 4:5,6.
  2. When we communicate the gospel of Christ, the “what” of the message is important – Jn. 8:32. Cf. 1 Tim. 2:4.
  3. But the “how” of our communication is also important.
    1. We are to give a defense of our faith, “yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Pt. 3:15). Cf. Eph. 4:15.
    2. And we speak courteously, we must also speak clearly and boldly – Eph. 6:19,20. Cf. Col. 4:3,4.

I. We Must Be in Touch with the Real Life of Our Generation

  1. We need to know what parts of the faith the devil is attacking most fiercely right now.
    1. The devil changes his attack from time to time — it is dangerous not to know where the “front lines” are.
    2. We need to pay attention and listen to the culture around us.
  2. At the personal level, we must seek to “identify” with the struggles of those outside of our own experience.
    1. The Lord knows what it is like to live in “our” world – Heb. 2:17,18; 4:15.
    2. For the sake of the gospel, Paul sought to bridge every cultural gap that he could – 1 Cor. 9:19-23; 10:32,33.
  3. Genuine empathy and understanding gain a hearing that can’t be gained any other way. Cf. Lk. 7:36-50.

II. We Must Speak a Language That Can Be Understood

  1. Our message must not only contain truth — it must be communicated intelligibly. Cf. 1 Cor. 14:16,23.
  2. We need to pay careful attention to our “diction.”
    1. Diction = choice and use of words in speech or writing.
    2. Sometimes we use lingo that is not intelligible to those outside of our own religious circle.
    3. Sometimes we fail to adapt our approach to our audience. For example, the message was the same, but Peter’s sermon in Acts 2 in Jerusalem was very different from Paul’s in Acts 17 in Athens.
  3. Sometimes our “religious” manner of speaking leaves the common man confused.
    1. Jesus spoke in such a way that “the common people heard Him gladly” (Mk. 12:37 NKJV).
    2. There is a kind of “eloquence” that gets in the way of understanding and conviction – 1 Cor. 2:1-5.
    3. The NT was written not in scholarly Greek but the “common” (koine) Greek of the first century.
  4. We shouldn’t expect our hearers to do all the work required to understand our message — we should be willing to do some of the work to bridge the “communication gap.” Cf. Neh. 8:7,8.
  5. Without compromising the gospel, we must speak so as to be understood by hearers from varied backgrounds.

III. We Must Proclaim the Whole Message of Christ — and Nothing But

  1. We cannot leave out anything that Christ wants to be presented to our hearers – Ac. 20:20,26,27.
    1. Do we sacrifice candor for courtesy? Cf. Eph. 6:19,20.
    2. Are we willing to evoke “godly grief” in the interest of salvation? Cf. 2 Cor. 7:8,9.
    3. Are we willing to risk friendships in the effort to save souls? Cf. Gal. 4:16.
    4. Are we prepared for some to retaliate rather than repent? Cf. Ac. 7:54-58.
  2. We are “accursed” if we modify the gospel to suit anyone – Gal. 1:8,9.

IV. We Must Aim at a Knowledge of Christ, the Savior

  1. The object of our teaching is that people may know God — and not just know some facts about God.
    1. “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (Jn. 17:3).
    2. “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” (Phil. 3:8).
    3. “But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed” (2 Tim. 1:12).
  2. In our own learning, we must not be “always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:7).
  3. The gospel of Christ does involve a “theological system” and an “ethical philosophy” — but it is much more than that.
  4. As we debate the “process” of the gospel, let’s not forget its “purpose” — a personal relationship in which people actually know God and walk with Him.
  5. We must aim at true conversion of heart and obedience of life – Ac. 3:19.

Conclusion

  1. As we learn to influence others more effectively, let’s not forget to build godly character in our own hearts and lives.
    1. Working on our own character comes first — only then may we profit from an improvement in our communications skills – Mt. 7:5. The best approach is “inside-out.”
    2. The ultimate “communication technique” is to walk more genuinely and closely with the Lord ourselves.
    3. When we fail to live our message, even our best communication efforts will be seen as manipulative.
  2. What we ARE communicates more powerfully than anything we SAY – 1 Tim. 4:12. Cf. Mt. 5:14; Phil. 2:15.
  3. Like Paul, we must be able to express the desire that others become what we ARE – Ac. 26:28,29.

Gary Henry – WordPoints.com

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