The Gospel Grows
TRANSCRIPTION OF THIS SERMON
- Some Reject (v. 17:1-10)
- Some Receive (v. 17:11-15)
- Some Ridicule (v. 17:15-32)
- Acts 17:1-10 – Paul in Thessalonica
Discipleship takes decades, not days. What may look like an epic failure to us can turn out to be fantastic in the long run. How did Paul’s three weeks of ministry in Thessalonica turn out a decade later (1 Thessalonians 1:1-10)? How does this encourage you to press on and not lose heart (1 Corinthians 3:6; Galatians 6:9)? Can you think of a story where you waited a Long time, but at the Right time a seed sprang to life in yourself or another?
- Acts 17:11-15 – Paul in Berea
We all have different soil in our hearts (Luke 8:4-15). The soil can be overly receptive (Naive and foolish) or overly rejecting (Negative and foolish). Which type of soil do you tend to identify with most (rejecting or receptive)? How does the Berean’s example teach us to be receptive and faithful to the Bible? What would it look like to repent and ask Jesus to give us His heart?
- Acts 17:15-32 – Paul in Athens
Paul preached an absolutely brilliant sermon and saw very little impact and a great deal of ridicule. How did this impact Paul (Acts 18:1 & I Corinthians 2:1-5)? Where do you tend to trust in your own abilities, gifts, talents and skill rather than the Spirit of God? What would it look like to repent and trust the Spirit of God to do the work through you as you walk with Him?
1Now when they had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. 2And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.” 4And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large number of the God-fearing Greeks and a number of the leading women. 5But the Jews, becoming jealous and taking along some wicked men from the market place, formed a mob and set the city in an uproar; and attacking the house of Jason, they were seeking to bring them out to the people. 6When they did not find them, they begandragging Jason and some brethren before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have upset the world have come here also; 7and Jason has welcomed them, and they all act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” 8They stirred up the crowd and the city authorities who heard these things. 9And when they had received a pledge from Jason and the others, they released them.
10The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. 12Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men. 13But when the Jews of Thessalonica found out that the word of God had been proclaimed by Paul in Berea also, they came there as well, agitating and stirring up the crowds. 14Then immediately the brethren sent Paul out to go as far as the sea; and Silas and Timothy remained there. 15Now those who escorted Paul brought him as far as Athens; and receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible, they left.
16Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was being provoked within him as he was observing the city full of idols. 17So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present. 18And also some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were conversing with him. Some were saying, “What would this idle babbler wish to say?” Others, “He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities,”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. 19And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is which you are proclaiming? 20For you are bringing some strange things to our ears; so we want to know what these things mean.” 21(Now all the Athenians and the strangers visiting there used to spend their time in nothing other than telling or hearing something new.)
22So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. 23For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. 24The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; 26and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ 29Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. 30Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, 31because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” 32Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some began to sneer, but others said, “We shall hear you again concerning this.”