Know your audience
Acts 23: 6 “Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, descended from Pharisees. I stand on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead.”
I have lost count of the times when people have come to see me but have not done any homework beforehand. From organisations who want to partner with us but who have not researched to see what exactly we already do to people who want to go overseas but haven’t been on the website to see where we are working, there seems to be a lack of desire to know their audience, namely me!
Paul knew his audience.
He knew within the Sanhedrin were Sadducees. They only held to the written Law and not any Oral tradition and so they did not believe in the Resurrection as it is not mentioned in the Torah. The Pharisees on the other hand held to a belief in the after-life and to judgment. They also believed in a Messiah to come.
The Sanhedrin accused Paul of violating the Temple by bringing in to the holy place Gentile men (He hadn’t) and also of believing in the resurrection of Jesus. He stands before the Sanhedrin and in one sentence begins to create an even bigger divide. Perhaps the High Priest was a Sadducee? In any case Paul aligns himself with those who believe in the resurrection, he was a Pharisee.
It is not what we believe that is of the greatest concern. You can attend all the courses in the world to become proficient at what you believe but if you cannot use the Koran to reach a Muslim or if you do not know that the Buddhist holds to values such as purity of heart, compassion, charity and humility very similar to Christianity then we are going to struggle to reach them. It is not what you know that is everything it is also what they know. You need to build a bridge for them to walk towards you.
Today when you are with people who do not know Christ, try and find out what they do believe. What values do they hold dear? What inspires them? What is the foundation of their life?
Know your audience.