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Hello,Church!GoodAfternoon.Thereisalottocovertoday.Soletsgettoit.Today IwanttocontinuegoingthroughActs17continuingwhatMinisterCraigstarted.I lovethetextbecauseitnotonlygiveinsightonGodbutalsohowtoliveoutthe mandateGodhasgivenusinsharingtheGospel,andonthenatureofsalvationn TodaywewillbefocusingonActs17:1632.Aswegothroughthepassageverseby versewewillconsiderhowtoapplytheversetoday.Imgoingtogooversomeof whatMinisterCraigstartedtoputthingsincontext.Iwouldberemisstonotpoint outthatitsthe10th anniversaryoftheTerroristattacksonAmerica.Wewillbe lookingathowtorespondtosuchthingstodayinourtimeandculture.

PaulwaswaitingforSilasandTimothybecausehewasforcedtoleavefirstThessalonica andBereabecauseofthepersecutionandrejectionandoppositionthatcamefromhim preachingtheGospel.TheyhadrealizedthatPaulspresencewasnotrequiredinBerea, SilasandTimothycouldfinishtheworkinBereaandjoinPaulinAthens.Letslookata shortvideothatshowswhatPaulwascontendingwith. WhileinAthens,PaulwentaroundlookingaroundthecityofAthensandrealizedthat AthenswasfullofAthens.HesawacitywithoutGodandwithoutHope.Hesawacitythat wasdrowninginsin,shame,anddecadence.

FromahistoricalstandpointweknowthatAthenswaslikeanyothermajorcity.Crimeand corruptionabounded.Yes,theyhadculture,artandscience,butweknowthatcitieshave alltheseproblems.Tomakeitworse,thesepeoplewereprayingtoidolstosavethemand helpthemandintruthgettingnothing. Letmebeclear:peoplebackthenwerenotmorestupidthanus.Insomecases,theywere trickedandhoodwinkedbytheseotherreligions.Sometimespriestspoisonedworshippers andthengavethemtheantidotesothatpeoplewouldthinkthatthepersonhadbeen healed.Sometimestheyusedpropsandspecialeffectstofoolpeopleintothinkingthat theyhadwitnessedmiracles.Theyweremisguidedandfooledintobelievingliesinmany cases.OfcoursePaulwasdistressed.Hisheartwentouttothepeople.Hewantedthemto knowthetruth. JustlikePaulhadtocontendwithfalsegodscompetingfortheheartsandmindsofpeople, wemustcompetetoday.LetsexaminePaulstacticsbecausetheywillworktodayalso! Whataboutustoday?Peopleinoursocietyarejustasmuchinbondage.Maybemore becauseatleastthentheyhadenoughsensetolookforagodtosavethem.Somepeople todaysneerattheideaofapowerorauthoritygreaterthanthemselveswhilepeoplein ancienttimeshadwaymoresensethanthat.Shouldntourheartgoouttoourownpeople todaysothattheywouldknowtheGospel?
Icantmakethispointimportantenough:PaulhadjustgotkickedoutofTWOtownsandinsteadof

waitingforbackuphejustpickedupwhereheleftoffinAthens.

WheneverPaulhittownhehadamethodofoperationofhowtoevangelizethe city.HewouldstartwithChristianityswarmmarket peoplewhoalreadyknew thescripturesandwerelookingfortheMessiah.ThenPaulpreachedinthe marketplaceinpublictoanyonehecouldreach.WhatisyourM.O. forsharingthe GospelintheplacesandtothepeopleGodhasgivenyou?

OnethingIhavefoundoutisthatthemomentyouremindpeopleweareallsinners inneedofsalvationandJesusistheonlyantidoteforthepoisonweallhave,you aregonna getopposition.Peoplewilldebatewithyouandtrytoshowwhytheyare righttorejecttheGospel.PaulwaspreachingaboutJesusandtheResurrection. Thatwashisfocusinsteadoftryingtotellthemwhattheyneededtochangein theirlives.Thephilosophersdidnotseemtounderstandwhathewassaying.They thoughtthathewaseitherbabbling alotofwordswithoutmeaning orthathe wasjustpreachingaboutsomeotheruselessgod.Theyneededanothergodlike theyneededaholeinthehead. ThisisagreatexampleofhowgreattheBibleis.Wehavetheauthor,Luke,pointing outthattwoofthemajorgroupsinPhilosophythatweknowexistsforafact:The EpicureansandtheStoics. TheEpicureans said,"Pleasureisthechiefendoflife;everythinghappensby chance;deathendsitall."TheStoics were"Pantheistic;allisfatedbygod;wemust beindependentofexternals.Pantheismisthebeliefinagodthatismanifested everywherebutwithnowillorpersonalityofitsown.Neitherbelieveinlifeafter death,either. TheEpicureansweresearching forpleasureandtheStoicswerefocusedonapathy. http://ncbible.org/resources/ActsComm17.html

Weknowfrommanysourcesthatthesepeopledidexistandwestillhavepeople whosubscribetotheseviewstoday.Imustalsopointoutthattheyarebothinsevere conflictwiththeBible!HowdoesPaultalktopeoplewhofromthegetgo disagree withhim?

ThentheytookPaultotheplaceinAthensthatthephilosophersgatheredto debateanddiscusstheideasthattheycameacross.Ithinkthatwecouldstandto learnfromthemaboutthattoday.Wehavesuchashortattentionspantoday.We hearsomenewsoranideologyanddontstoptoreallyseeifitstrue.Insteadof kickingthetiresorputtingsomestressesonittoseehowmuchweightitcan bear,wemissoutonsomeimportanttruth.Ithinkwecandobetter.Truthdeserves better. TheplaceinAthenswasknownastheAreopagus whichmeansRockofAresor MarsHill.AresakaMarswastheGrecoRomangodofWar.AresinGreek. MarsinLatin. AtleastthesepeoplewerewillingtohearPauloutcompletelyandevaluatewhathe hadtosay.CananyoneofsaywehavealwaysbeenopentoheartheGospel?

Paulstartsoffnotwithaninsultsorsuperiority.Paulcomplimentsthemonthefact thattheyatleastrecognizethattherearethingsgreaterthanthemselves.

Pauluseswhatisaroundhimtomakehiscase.Henoticedthattheyhadanaltarto anUnknownGodandheusedthattoopenthedoortointroducehishearersto God.Ignoranceinthiscaseisnotaninsult.Hesnotsayingthattheyarestupid. Paulisinsteadpointingoutthathecantellthemmoreaboutsomeonetheyalready worship.

PaultellsthemsomefundamentalinformationaboutthisGodtheydontknow.The Lordofheavenandearthanddoesnotneedus.Ourverylifeandexistence dependsonhim.EverythingwehaveisbasedonwhatGodhasgivenus.Godmade allpeoplefromonemanandsetupwhereandwhenandhowtheylive individualsandnations.Weallbelongtohim.

HereisPaulspoint:WhydidGodgothroughallofthis?Whyputusthroughallof this?GodwantsustoseekHim.Notpleasure.Notfreedomfrompain.Him.Thisis aboutGodappointingourtimeinhistoryandtheboundariesofourlives not closinghiseyesandcrossinghisfingures hopingthatwewilllookforhim.Ithinkthe NIV translationisalittledifficulttoexplainthisverse.LetslookattheNIV. thattheywouldseekGod,ifperhapstheymightgropeforHimandfindHim, thoughHeisnotfarfromeachoneofus;(NASB) IthinktheNASB islittlemoreclearer.TheuncertaintyisnotonGod.The uncertaintyisours.Wearegropingaroundinthedarkness.Feelingaroundandnot knowingwhatwearefeelingforbutknowingthatwegottohaveit.Itsnotanit, wearelookingGod.Godisnothidingfromusheisclosetoeachoneofus. WelovethatsongSearchedalloverbutPaulissayingthatwegropeallover. Whatareyougropingfor?Whathaveyoufound?IfyouareabornagainChristian, youknowGod.GropecarrieswithittheideathatwedidntfindHimbecausewe aresmarterorcanseebetter,Weweregropingaroundinthesamedarkness.It wasntdependentonus. Thisamajorpointthatcantbeunderscoredenough!You everythingyouareand
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haveexperiencedhashappenedtogiveyouthebestpossibleopportunityforyouto findGod.Thebestpossiblecircumstancesaredifferentforeveryone.Somepeople hadtobeborninChristianhomes.SomehavetobeborninHinduhomesandsoon. AndthereisnopromiseorguaranteethatyouwillfindGod(fromourpointofview). Itsastraightgift!ImremindedofastoryofaMuslimmanborninLebanonwho foundJesusbecausehewashavingdreamsthatJesusisLordandSaviorandhefled toSyriabecausehisfamilywantedtokillhim.TherehelearnedaboutJesusandwas saved.HethenwentbacktoLebanontowitness.Orabouthowmissionarieshave wenttovillageswheretheGospelhasneverbeenpreachedandfoundoutthatGod hadgivensomeinthevillagedreamsandvisionaboutJesusandallthepeople wantedtoknowwashowtobesaved.Godsmorethangotthis.Allwehavetodois dowhatHehassaid.

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Paulthenreallybringsithometohishearers.Paulquotestheirownpoets.Paul quotes:Phaenomena byAratus ofCiliciaabout270BC. http://ncbible.org/resources/ActsComm17.html Thisisawesome.Paulusesthefactthattheyrecognizedthatweareallcreatedbya singlesourcetobuildacaseforGod Noticehegivesthemonlywhattheycandigest.Giventhatwehavemore informationthantheydid,wecanusePaulslettertotheRomanstohighlightthe pointheismaking.Romans8:2829says
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AndweknowthatinallthingsGodworksforthegoodofthosewholovehim,whohave beencalledaccordingtohispurpose.29 ForthoseGodforeknewhealsopredestinedtobe conformedtotheimageofhisSon,thathemightbethefirstbornamongmanybrothers andsisters.

Thewholepointtoappointingourcircumstanceandlivesandexperiencetheway GodhasissothatwewillbemorelikeJesus.Itsforourgrowthandmaturationso wecanbringGodglory. Idontreallyhavetimereallytotacklehowourwillplaysintothis,butaswegrow tobemoreandmorelikeJesuswewillwhatHewills.Thatswhereweneedtobe.

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IfyougrantthatweareallofGodsoffspring,Paulsgotyou.Itdoesnotmake sensethattheideathatthedivinebeingcouldbemadeofgoldorsilverorstone. Itsjustimagesmadebypeople.

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Nowcomesthehammer.Paulpointsoutthatpeoplewereworshipingidolsbecause theywereignorant theydidntknowbetter andGodoverlookedit.TheKJV used thewordwinked.WhatwasthisignorancethatGodoverlookedinthepast?This struckme.ImeanintheOldTestamentitseemedthatGoddidverylittlewinking giventhenumberofpeoplewhowerewipedoutbecauseoftheirsins.Imean hasntGodalwayscommandedpeopletorepeateverywhere?Thisleadmetothink aboutthejudgmentintheOldTestament.IrealizedthatGodneverinScripture judgesordestroysanyoneduetotheirignorance.Justliketoday,Godcommands allofustobemore.WecanrepentandstopbeingignorantofGod.

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DoyouneedtheGospelinanutshell?Acts17:31isit.ThiswasthepointPaulwas bringinghishearerstoo.ThesameGodwhomadeusandeverythingwilljudgethe worldwithjusticethroughasinglemanthatHeappointed Jesus andprovedit byraisingJesusfromthedead.

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WhenyoupreachtheGospelyougettwopossibleoutcomes.Eitherpeoplewill rejecttheGospeloritwillsinkintotheirheartsandminds.

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SeehowPaulhandlesthat?HejustsharedtheGospellistenedtotheresponseand withdrew.Hedidntpressit.Hedidntcontinuetoargueandfight.Hedidntseem totakepersonaloffenseortoattackhisattackers.

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ThegoodnewsisthatwhenyouobeyGodandshareChristwithothers,weseeGod moveonpeoplehearts.Verse34namestwopeoplewhodirectlybecamebelievers afterhearingPaul.DionysiusandDamaris mostlikelydidnotbecomeChristianson thatsameday.TheymaybeheardtheGospelseveraltimesshowingthatwemust notgiveupbutshareJesuswheneverwehaveanopportunity.

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