Scripture Reading: Acts 8:34–36
A. One of the great challenges of teaching lies in the fact that no two students have the same skills, background, or style of learning.
B. As it is with secular education, so it is with spiritual education: as evangelists, we must begin with people where they are.
I. Paul’s speech in Athens was different from his sermon in Antioch.
A. Paul’s sermon in Antioch contains several direct quotations from the Scriptures, an appeal to the witness of John (Acts 13:25), and a reminder of God’s promises to Israel (vv 29–39).
B. Paul’s speech in Athens contains a quotation from an Athenian poet (Acts 17:28) and not so much as a passing reference to the nation of Israel.
C. One of the requirements of an effective evangelist is that he know his audience (1 Corinthians 9:19–23).
II. We can only know our audience if we are willing to listen.
A. This was the case with first-century evangelists like Philip (Acts 8:30) and Paul (13:14; 17:22–23).
B. Listening is important, but it usually isn’t easy (James 1:19; Proverbs 18:2, 13).
C. Listening requires a great deal of integrity and courage (1 Corinthians 9:24–27–10:13).
D. Sometimes even great disciples need to reconsider some things (Acts 18:24–26; Luke 24).
When we go out to make disciples of others, let’s not forget to make disciples of ourselves, and remember that a disciple is one who never stops listening to the words of Jesus (John 8:31–32).