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Summary: America is no longer “culturally Christian”, thus we are living in a mission field.

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Living in the Mission Field

Acts 17:30-31

Introduction: Today is Our Celebration of Missions Sunday

Latin: Missio - one sent off (same root as missile); has come to be associated with those who seek to take the Gospel to different cultures.

America is no longer “culturally Christian” (which is good and bad), thus we are living in a mission field.

Last night, I has a discussion about Short Term Missions Trips.

They have value in exposing people to other cultures and to people who are desperate for the Gospel.

But we do not have to board a plane and fly thousands of miles to find a culture in need of the Gospel; we are living in one right now.

America is a mission field: How are you engaging it?

CONTEXT BEFORE:

+ Paul is on his second missionary journey, and he has been taken to Athens (v.15).

He is alone, and persecuted; some say this is a low point in his ministry; but this is the man who said, “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10).

+ Paul, while waiting on the arrival of Silas and Timothy, begins sharing his faith (v.16-21).

Epicureans - believed the chief end of man was pleasure and happiness

Stoics - believed that thinking should be above feeling and sought to suppress their desires and show no emotional response to pain or pleasure.

Areopagus - Also known as Mars Hill, this was the place where the Areopagus Court would meet and discuss civil, criminal and religious matters.

+ Paul begins his presentation of the Gospel (v.22-28)

Very Religious - deisidai÷mwn (deidoœ to fear, and daimoœn deity)

Unknown God - ∆Agnw¿stwˆ qewˆ◊.

Illustration: Setting the Goats Free - Terrible plague, Epimenides set goats free and wherever they lay were assigned shrines to “unknown gods”.

God who made everything - a direct attack against Epicureans who believed matter is eternal and the Stoics who believed God is in everything (pantheism).

Quotes Greek Poets: Epimenides and Aratus

+ Paul addresses the sin of the Athenians: Idolatry (v.29)

PRIMARY TEXT: ACTS 17:30-31

I. God has held back His righteous judgment for a time

“Overlook” does not mean that the people before this time escaped judgment

Romans 2:12-16 “sin without law perish without law”

It means that the people were not judged immediately as was deserved; the fact that the world still exists is testament to the fact that God is holding back His judgment.

Acts 14:16 “All nations went their own way”

Romans 3:25 “Passed over former sins”

Consider This: On the individual scale, no sin had been overlooked. Those who have died in their sins have been sent to torment awaiting the lake of fire like the rich man in Luke 16. But, on the grand scale sin has not yet been fully punished. On the grand scale judgment has not yet come. It has been overlooked, but it will not be forever.

Revelation 20:11-15 “Death and hades gave up their dead”

II. God has commanded repentance of the whole world

God does not suggest, or request our repentance - He commands it.


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