Summary: We will continue our series from the book of Acts and our text for this morning is Acts 17:16-34. In the beginning of this chapter, Paul was in Thessalonica. He visited the synagogues to dialogue with the Jews there.
Good morning church!
What a privilege to come together as a body of Christ to study His word. Let us begin our time with the word of prayer.
We will continue our series from the book of Acts and our text for this morning is Acts 17:16-34. In the beginning of this chapter, Paul was in Thessalonica. He visited the synagogues to dialogue with the Jews there. But the Jews persecuted him, so the believers sent him to Berea overnight. When he came to Berea, he did exactly the same thing, went to synagogues to dialogue with the Jews. The same group of Jews from Thessalonica heard about it and came to persecute him there. So, the believers in Berea sent Paul to Athens. Now, he is in Athens waiting for his disciples, Timothy and Silas who were still in Berea. As he went around Athens, he saw the city “wholly given to the idols” and it troubled his heart. He had a sense of holy discontent after seeing that city wholly given to the idols. So our topic for this morning is HOLY DISCONTENT.
We’ve heard sermons on being content. ”Be content with what you have.” ”Be content with who you are.” ”Be content with where you are.” and so on. But too often, we as Christians are too content. When someone is discontented over a matter that also brings discontent to God, that person is experiencing a “holy” discontent. Bill Hybels says, “Holy discontent is a motivation to action that is initiated by the Holy Spirit.” It is a discontentment with sin, pain and sorrow that we see around us. It is not all about us; it is all about the glory of God. Holy discontent flows out of our intimate relationship with God and it is deeply sensitive to God’s heart for people. There will be a great impact when we willingly convert the frustration of our holy discontent into fuel for changing the world for God. This morning, I would like to share with you how can we discover our holy discontent and do something about it by depending on God for the result. First of all,
“God Puts Us in Places for Purpose” (vs. 16-21).
Now, Paul is in Athens. It was the center of philosophy and culture, which gave birth to philosophers like Socrates and Aristotle. In those days the Greeks worshipped as many as 30 thousand gods and goddesses. They would erect statues and monuments and altars to them. The streets were full of idols. It has been said, “It was easier to find a god than a man in Athens.” “Idols everywhere.” They were afraid that they had perhaps missed some gods, so they even built an altar with the inscription, “To the Unknown god.” Paul discovered his holy discontent right away when he entered Athens and saw idols all over the city. So he started doing something from there…
Synagogue – (among his own people, Jews)
Paul began in the synagogues with his own people. We can see in verse 17 that Paul shared the message on a daily basis. He did the same in Thessalonica and Berea as well. This is a model we need to follow. Begin with our family, relatives and friends. Begin from where we are in terms of geography and influence.
Marketplace – (among Business people, Philosophers)
Then he moved to the marketplace where he met some people busy doing business and others busy sharing ideas. He reasoned with Epicureans who believe in enjoying life and Stoics who believe in enduring life. In the middle of these two extreme ideas, he proclaimed about the eternal life, in Jesus Christ. The question for us today is,
Do we bring Jesus to our marketplace?
That's where people are. That's where ideas are being shaped, people get education, make money. Many times, we leave Jesus in the church for Sundays and forget about Him for the rest of the week. We should bring Jesus in our workplace, school, company, etc. And after marketplace, God put Paul at the Areopagus or Mars Hill.
Mars Hill – (among government people, authorities)
In vs. 22 we find Paul at the Areopagus, where Athens held high court for religious, philosophical, and moral matters. It is called Mars Hill in Roman. Mars was the Greek God of war and it was a small rocky hill northwest of Athens. It was here that Paul delivered perhaps his most famous sermon, his only speech in Acts, to an entirely pagan audience. This is where he met government officials and religious leaders, policy makers and authorities. Paul discovered his holy discontent from where he was and started working on it.
Nehemiah provides a complete example of having a sense of holy discontent. He received a report of how Jerusalem was in trouble and disgrace. The walls of the holy city were broken down and the gates were burned. Listen to his response in Nehemiah 1:4, "When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven." Nehemiah immediately discovered his holy discontent (rebuilding the wall) from where he was, and he started working on it.