Letters to the Family of God

by Joe Franzone | February 24, 2022 | Pastor's Blog

Family of God - Website

February 24, 2022

So, he reasoned in the synagogue with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there.



Dear friends,


When the Apostle Paul took the Gospel to Athens, he came to know some of the Epicurean and Stoic intellectuals very well through their conversations. How well? As you read of this in Acts chapter 17, the modern Christian might be surprised they invited him to their place first!

Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we would like to know what they mean.” (Acts 17:18-20)

There is a part of personal evangelism that takes time, a lot of time. Long, informal, continued relationships and conversations that keep gospel lines open. These relationships will become more and more essential in our increasingly secular world, as many Christian beliefs are misunderstood or disagreeable to people, just as it was in the first century. Not only this but there are also many first-time hearers and always a new generation of listeners. What is Good News to us is increasingly becoming New News to them.


Under God, there is always a part of gospel expansion that will be intimate, organic, incremental, and often unnoticeable for a time. Something like a Question-and-Answer time on why our friends live and think as they do; and why we live and think as we do. Of course, to get to that kind of discussion takes time and trust.


For the Christian, evangelism can come out naturally and organically in friendship. We will stumble and bumble around for a time, set and reset perhaps often, but to be a Christian is to be in Christ. It is He that tells us we are completely accepted by Him, which removes both the fear that keeps us from being honest about our weakness in life and the vanity that could lead us to treat friends as only an evangelistic mission project, a notch in our belts. That is to dehumanize them when Jesus died for them too.


The more these gospel distinctions are present in our lives, the more we glory in the Gospel and put no confidence in our flesh (Philippians 3:3), others will be joined to us like a magnet (Acts 2:47).


This is not just one more thing to do as a Christian rather something we already do by nature—forming relationships. The difference is relationships with people to help them find Christ in the most truthful, plausible, natural, and fruitful way. Offensive not defensive.


One last thing, when life takes its sharp turns, and we respond by grace, in humility and neediness to Christ, that is a more powerful distinction than every other philosophy or religion. Our unbelieving friends will have to consider this—which is, I think, good.


Thank you for considering these things.



Grace and peace to you from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Savior, King, and Friend.

Pastor Joe