Focal passage: Acts 17:16-18, 22-23, 30-31
The gospel of Jesus Christ can impact any culture.
Did you know you can order a Happy Meal in over 115 different countries? McDonald’s, known around the world for its Big Mac and fries, sells fast food to millions of people every day.
No matter the country, each restaurant displays the same logo, offers the same basic menu and operates under the same corporate guidelines. Just as important, each McDonald’s makes unique cultural connections to attract the local population. In China guests can order soup, in India there’s no beef and in Indonesia people snack on shrimp! Because each McDonald’s has effectively engaged local culture, this restaurant has made an immeasurable impact on the eating habits of the developed world.
True, international access to cheeseburgers is of no eternal value, but this strategy is strikingly similar to the one God calls us to follow as we share the gospel. In Acts 17, Paul demonstrates this strategy as he shares Christ with people from diverse backgrounds. In each opportunity Paul preaches the gospel clearly, but each time he does so in a way that meets the unique needs of his audience.
When speaking in the Areopagus, Paul identifies similarities between Christianity and the already held beliefs of his listeners. He declares, “I see that you are extremely religious in every respect” and he notes their altar to an unknown god (Acts 17:22). After making these connections, Paul tells the people of the hope only Jesus brings. Paul intentionally structured his conversations in such a way that he would be able to connect with his hearers and then point them to Christ.
The next time God provides an opportunity for you to share Christ with someone who seems to be drastically different from you, please remember that McDonald’s sometimes sells soup. Ask God to show you a way to make a connection between the culture of your friend and the salvation message you want to share.
You see, diverse cultures are not a hindrance to the gospel. Instead, the gospel can impact any culture.