Summary: After enough news and encounters with haters you'd be prone to think that no one really cares to know about God, but you'd be wrong. There's always someone out there, someone within your circles, who truly wants to know more about God.
Series: We’re on a Mission from God
Message: This Side Up
Text: Acts 17:1-9
Date: Jan 24, 2020
Big Idea: After watching enough news and having personal encounters with haters, you'd be prone to think that no one could care less about Jesus, but you'd be wrong. Allowing this negative view to become a part of our mindset will end up hindering your adventures and obedience in personal evangelism. Truth is, there's always someone within your circles who truly wants to know more about Jesus.
Map of 2nd Missionary Journey
Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they (paul, silas, and timothy-its believed that Luke, most likely a gentile stayed behind to pastor and lead the new found church. Paul and Silas however have been run out of town) came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. (Jews First) 2 And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” 4 And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women. 5 But the Jews were jealous, and taking some wicked men of the rabble, they formed a mob, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason, seeking to bring them out to the crowd. 6 And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also,7 and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” 8 And the people and the city authorities were disturbed when they heard these things. 9 And when they had taken money as security from Jason and the rest, they let them go.
-Thessalonica is about 100 miles from Philippi. It’s the old St. Louis of it’s day.
SLIDE Map of Greece
1-Some were persuaded
And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women v.4
We’re so used to encountering skeptics and cynics that we forget that there are people out there who are genuinely interested in God.
Seekers: There were some people in this synagogue who were persuaded. They were the ones waiting for the promised Messiah. They were the ones praying every day that God would send the Messiah. They were the ones who believed in bible prophecy.
ILLUS: Have you ever had a craving for a particular food item and you couldn't be satisfied until you had it i.e, as good and as healthy as they are a plant based hot dog just isnt the same thing.
Blaise Pascal introduced the concept of what’s been described as a “God shaped vacuum”. Most people know that something is missing in their lives and they try to fill this void through works, social justice, wealth, popularity, etc. but ultimately only Jesus can fill it.
ILLUS: Rodman 5x Champion, 7x Rebounds. Tom Landry (1960-88)
So, for some, all that Paul needed to do was to show them that Jesus was, in fact, the One God had promised to send. Like Cornelius and Lydia, there are people who are already spiritually curious but just need to have someone guide them to Christ.
We sometimes refer to them as “seekers” meaning that they already have a spiritual curiosity. All they need is for someone, someone like you, to help them along the way. Normal and objective.
Seekers are characterized by an openness. Let me encourage you to be on the look out for them and to engage them in conversation. Ask God to reveal them to you.
Include church in your conversations. Do you have any spiritual beliefs? Did you ever go to church or anything like that as a child? How can I pray for you?
2-Some People need Evidence.
“On three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” (17:2b-3)
“Reasoned” with them in: Thessalonica (17:2), Athens (17:17), Corinth (18:4), Ephesus (18:19; 19:8,9), Troas (20:7,9), and Caesarea Maritima (24:25)
Specifically, that “It was Necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead” v.3