The Mars’ Hill Sermon: Motivated to Share
Bible Text: Acts 17:16-34 | Preacher: Pastor Steve | Series: The Solid Acts of God
Acts 17:16-34 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols. Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there.
Does the godlessness in people who are all around us blinded by evil bring up pain, anger, grief or anguish or SORROW in us?
Do you see that today more of the world is coming into the church impacting the church rather than
the church impacting the world?
SORROW: extreme pain and distress emotions so stirred that it becomes OVERWHELMING
2 Corinthians 7:9-10 …because the pain caused you to have remorse and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have…for God can use sorrow in our lives to help us turn away from sin and seek salvation…sorrow without repentance is the kind that results in death.
Acts 17:18-21 Then certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered him. And some said, What does this babbler want to say? Others said, He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods, because he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection. And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine is of which you speak? For you are bringing some strange things to our ears. Therefore we want to know what these things mean. For all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing.
The Epicureans, followers of Epicurus believed that the chief purpose of life is pleasure and happiness. They believed:
Everything happens because of chance or randomness
Death is the end of everything
The gods were remote from the world do not care
Pleasure was the chief purpose of life
The Stoics were followers of Zeno who taught on a porch or patio called a “stoa,” hence the name “Stoics.” They believed:
God is in everything
We are in charge and control of our destiny
Mankind has a spark of God in them; when we die that spark goes back to God
Every so often the world disintegrates, burns up and then has to start all over again, the cycle of life is then repeated.
Isaiah 42:8 I am Yahweh that is MY name I will not give MY glory
to another or MY praise to idols.
Acts 17:22-23 Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you:
The UNKNOWN god
The Athenians had built an idol to the unknown god for fear of missing blessings or receiving punishment.
He declared the following:
God was not created He is the CREATOR
God put the desire for Him in our DNA
It is possible to personally know the Lord of all Creation
Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem
Luke 19:41-44 But as they came closer to Jerusalem
and Jesus saw the city ahead, he began to cry.
Acts 17:24-27 God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;
God is the source of all life and breath and purpose.
Acts 17:28 …for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, for we are also His offspring.
Paul was blowing apart three major false Greek ideas of life by telling them:
God is knowable
God does NOT live in man-made temples
God is way involved in human affairs
Acts 17:29-31 Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising. Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.
Essentially Paul taught (summary):
God CREATE all things
He cannot be worship by anything made of human hands.
God guides history. He is behind the rise and fall of nations;
God has made human beings in such a way that it is in our DNA to long for, pursue God and search for Him in the darkness of the world
The days of feeling our way and of ignorance are gone; Jesus Christ has made known to all mankind the knowledge of God and the way to the Lord, we are now without excuse
The Day of Judgment is coming. Life is a journey to the judgment seat of God where Jesus Christ is Judge of all.
The proof of that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God is the resurrection. There is no unknown God but a risen Christ with whom we have to deal.
Acts 17:32-34 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, We will hear you again on this matter. So Paul departed from among them. However, some men joined him and believed, among them Dionysius the Areopagite, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.
There are generally three reactions to the Gospel:
1 Corinthians 15:12-13 If there is no resurrection, if there is no heaven or hell, then let’s eat, drink, and be merry. If there’s no judgment, why do I risk my life? Why do I take beatings? Why do I suffer in prison? Why do I do all of this?
1 Peter 3:13-17 …But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t be afraid and don’t worry. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if you are asked about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But you must do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak evil against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!