Summary: What makes you uncomfortable as a Christian? God can use that to motivate you to spread the gospel! Look at Paul’s example here in Acts 17
Getting God’s Message Out.
What do you do when you are surrounded by things that make you uncomfortable?
When Paul came to Athens, he walked through town and was upset by all the idols that he saw there.
Now just think about the different ways he could have responded to it.
1. He could have just left town. He had been run out of Thessalonica and Berea. Why waste time here?
2. He could have checked into a hotel and watched the Olympic games, and just ignored everything. Why should these people listen to him, a Jew. These were the educated elite of Athens! They were arrogant academic egg heads who loved to argue the latest issues. Let someone else deal with them.
3. He could have just admired the diversity of the religious scenery and appreciated the many forms of worship of the culture of the day. I mean everyone has a right to worship like they want to, right? No one should be cramming their religious views down anyone else’s throats, so live and let live, right.
What would you do if you were there in Athens and saw all the idolatry there? What would Jesus want you to do?
Illustration: I heard about two salesmen who were sent to a place in Africa to sell shoes. When they arrived they noticed that everyone was walking about barefooted. Both called back to the home office to report. One said, “I’m coming home, there’s no use opening a store here, they don’t even wear shoes.” The other one practically shouted, “Send me everything you’ve got, this is a perfect place, we’ll be the first shoe store here!”
Perspective on a situation makes a huge difference.
Here in Acts 17, God has given us a great example of how to handle a city lost in sin. Paul is exhibit “A” for Action against Idolatry. So, instead of sitting on his hands, he proclaimed the gospel to anyone who would listen. I love the way he vented his frustration. Not with violence, but with vigilance. He unleashed the most powerful weapon there is! He publicly presented the truth about God proclaiming Jesus, judgment and the resurrection. And look at what happened.
16 Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was being provoked within him as he was beholding the city full of idols.
17 So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present.
18 And also some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were conversing with him. And some were saying, "What would this idle babbler wish to say?" Others, "He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities,"-- because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection.
19 And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, "May we know what this new teaching is which you are proclaiming?
20 "For you are bringing some strange things to our ears; we want to know therefore what these things mean."
In the face of sin, we need to react God’s way. What made Paul so upset? At least these four things:
1. Paul was convinced that idolatry was so bad that it must not go unchallenged.
2. Paul was also convinced that God’s honor was at stake here. These people should be respecting the will of God who made them.
3. Paul was convinced that the message of Christ could save them. He had first hand experience in the power of the Word of God.
4. Paul was convinced that he must not be silent. All it takes for evil to abound is for those who know God to do and say nothing.
Are you convinced that God’s Word is true? Will you prepare to give an answer for the hope that is within you? You have a mouth. When the Lord saved you from sin, he saved your mouth too. He has a job for it. 1 Peter 2: 9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
This verse says that God chose you, anointed you as priest, sanctified you, and made you his own so that you would declare his praises. He called you out of darkness. Your job is to call others out of there too.
But first you must be convinced, convicted and converted. Convinced that Jesus is the Christ who died for our sins, convicted that you are a sinner, and converted by the glorious gospel of God’s grace. If you aren’t convinced, you can’t convince anyone else.
Paul was convinced. Are you? Convinced people are compelled to share their faith.