6-Week Series: Against All Odds

Sermons

Summary: 1. Know that we will face the same feelings (vs. 15-16). 2. Be properly provoked about lost people (vs. 16-18). 3. Tell the truth about Jesus to everyone you can (vs. 17-21). 4. Remember that we are never really alone (vs. 34).

Alone and Outnumbered -- What Should I Do?

The Book of Acts - Part 58

Acts 17:15-21

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - September 14, 2014

BACKGROUND:

*Here in God's Word, Paul was alone in Athens, and he has some things to teach us about being alone. But before we read Acts 17:15-21, let's remember why Paul was alone in Athens.

[1] First it was for his safety.

*The trouble in Acts 17 started in Thessalonica. Verses 4-6 tell us that:

4. . . some of them (i.e. some of the Jews) were persuaded; and a great multitude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women, joined Paul and Silas.

5. But the Jews who were not persuaded, becoming envious, took some of the evil men from the marketplace, and gathering a mob, set all the city in an uproar and attacked the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.

6. But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, "These who have turned the world upside down have come here too."

*Next in vs. 10-14, the trouble followed the mission team to Berea:

10. Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews.

11. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.

12. Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men.

13. But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was preached by Paul at Berea, they came there also and stirred up the crowds.

14. Then immediately the brethren sent Paul away, to go to the sea; but both Silas and Timothy remained there.

*Paul spent time alone in Athens for his safety. But Paul was also willing to be alone, because of his love and concern for the new Christians in Thessalonica. That's why "both Silas and Timothy remained there." Paul wrote about his loving concern later in his first letter to the Thessalonians.

*Please listen to what he said in 1 Thessalonians 2:17-3:2:

17. But we, brethren, having been taken away from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavored more eagerly to see your face with great desire.

18. Therefore we wanted to come to you even I, Paul, time and again but Satan hindered us.

19. For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?

20. For you are our glory and joy.

*Then as Paul continued, in 1 Thessalonians 3, he began to speak of himself in the third person, and Paul said:

1. Therefore, when we could no longer endure it, we thought it good to be left in Athens alone,

2. and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith.

*Paul was alone for some very good reasons. And in tonight's Scripture, he helps us see what to do when we are alone. Let's begin by reading vs. 15-21. (1)

INTRODUCTION:

*Most of us have had the experience of being cut off from someone we love. Many times, it's by death, sometimes it's by military service, sometimes it's by divorce, but all kinds of experiences can cause us to feel isolated and alone.

*The Empty Nest syndrome is another good example. King Duncan read about a luncheon group of older moms in New York. This group goes by the name: "It Wouldn't Hurt You to Call Me Once in a While Club." (2)

*Duncan also told about a program at the University of Florida vet school. Some of the students worked a hotline to help grieving pet owners cope with the death of their animal friends. Faculty member Thomas Lane said, "There is a tremendous need for such a service." And the reason why is so many people are close to their pets. (3)

*Many different situations can make us feel alone. And as believers we can feel outnumbered against the forces trying to pull us down. That is the situation Paul faced in Athens. And in these verses, he shows us what to do, both for God's Kingdom and for ourselves.

1. First: Please Know that we will face the same feelings.

*Think about how Paul must have felt in vs. 15-16. There again, God's Word says:

15. So those who conducted Paul brought him to Athens; and receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him with all speed, they departed.

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