Summary: We are called to WAR, we are called to defend our Faith. How will we fight?
Defending God’s Honor
Being a Defender of the Faith
Intro: Welcome Back Kotter scene.
We always take exception when someone we love is insulted, even if it is done in ignorance.
Paul is in Athens, he was waiting for Silas and Timothy to catch up. Everyone heard of Athens, it would be the Las Vegas of its day. There is a chapel on every corner for every type of belief. It was the vacation spot of the day. What would you do?
1. Check the Regency Zeus for a hot tub.
2. Go to the Mall
3. Check out the spa’s
4. See what the green fees are for the Country Club golf course
5. Catch a show.
In fact Paul does take a little vacation. He is walking around taking in the sights. After all he had just been jailed, beaten, thrown out of the city, he deserves a break. As he walked through the city, he saw things that would have made him very mad. He saw idols everywhere. This city was drowning in idols.
Paul was probably upset, but why?
1. God is insulted by idolatry
2. Athens was the Mecca for knowledge, how could they be so ignorant.
What upsets us?
1. When people call abortion a choice?
2. People insist on many ways to Heaven?
3. People call the Bible “outdated”
4. Taking the Lord’s name in vain
5. How do we act when we have been insulted.
Paul was not blind to the beauty of the place.
1. Fabulous art pieces
2. Famous sculptures
3. Stoic and Epicurean philosophy
4. The Parthenon
Verse 16 tells us Paul was provoked/distressed over what he saw. But then he did something about it.
Many times we get angered or frustrated with a situation, we complain about it, but what do we do about it?
In 1775 many people complained, especially those in the New England colonies about the taxation and the high handed tyranny of King George. They gripped, they complained, they even made threats. However, a few, a group called ‘the militia” rose up to do something about it. This week we honor those who heard the call took up the cause and defended our country. There was the paid army/infantry/cavalry and then there the volunteers, farmers mostly who took up arms. They were probably the first camouflaged fighters. They did not wear a uniform, but their hearts were dedicated to the proposition of freedom. Today it is the same, these brave men and women have heard the call and volunteered themselves to their country’s service. We honor those brave heroes.
Paul heard the call; he saw the opportunity and took advantage.
1. Teachable moments
2. Reasoning over arguing
3. The Greeks were great debaters.
4. It helps to appeal to reason.
To take people where they need to be, we need to know where they are. We need to engage people in conversation. It may take time, but it will be worth it when it comes together.
V18-21 Paul listened to what they were saying.
People do not need to know they are sinners, most already know that. What they need to know is that there is GRACE. They need to know that there is a way out. They need to know that God is forgiving, he forgave us didn’t he? Instead of insulting people calling them sinners and idolaters, Paul tells them about what they do not know. Paul will speak life into this spiritually dead city. Paul’s reaction to what he saw was not merely negative feelings of being provoked, but positive and constructive: he began evangelizing. Where some might see the situation as hopeless and throw up hands in despair, Paul saw the great need for the Word of God and he began unleashing its power. He spoke to Jews in the synagogue, and God fearing Gentiles, and in the marketplace every day. His approach to evangelizing took on two tiers. He would proclaim Jesus, as the risen Christ to those familiar to God’s word by heritage and by fall out, and to those not familiar at all. He worked in the synagogue and in the market place.
In other words he told them what they did not already know. This was foreign to them, to think there is a god who actually cared about them individually. This is what our world, our society needs to know. It is not about religion, it is about a relationship, a real relationship.
The following is an outline of evangelism.
He met them where they were. Jesus did the same. He went to the people, met the need. Paul met them where they were; he came to understand them in the place they are. As stated earlier, in order to bring someone to where they need to be, we need to know where they are.