Summary: We can take this controversy and debate about the Da Vinci Code and we can engage others with the truth of the gospel.
Making The Most Of The Opportunity
Text: Colossians 4:5 Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.
Reading: Acts 17:16-34
On May 19th, theaters opened the doors to people eager to see the Da Vinci Code. Directed by Ron Howard and starring Tom Hanks, it is sure to be a blockbuster for the summer. It is already a best seller, with sales of the book at over 20 million. Debates are raging in the print media as well as prime time news. Thrust to the forefront is the debate about the truth of the gospel, life of Jesus Christ and the truth that Christianity has centered on for almost 2000 years.
Unfortunately, we live in a society that is looking to believe something, even if that something is based on lies. Someone has said we live in a mushroom society: we love to live in the dark and we grow best when living in large amounts of manure. The Da Vinci Code provides both. It is a well written fiction that many are claiming to be the "real" truth concerning Jesus. As our brother Tim Hale from Escondido told us last Saturday, this is nothing new. These are old lies repackaged and remarketed but the same for the last 2000 years.
Ill: Refute the “…all descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate.”
I. Make the Most of Your Time
A. First of all, we must be very careful how we live because our time on this earth is limited.
1) Psalm 39:4 “LORD, make me to know my end; And what is the extent of my days; Let me know how transient I am. Behold, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my lifetime as nothing in Your sight; Surely every man at his best is a mere breath.”
So what are we to do with this latest assault on the gospel? I can think of three possible responses. One is the Monk, the other the Ostrich, and the other: Make the most of the opportunity.
1) During the "dark ages" monks would build huge monastery compounds to house those that believe the same. Today, we have church buildings that can perform the same function.
2) If we are unwilling to engage others, except at church, if we are unwilling to mix with anyone who has a different opinion, if we refuse to get involved, then again we are allowing those we work and live with to die in ignorance.
3) It’s easy for Christians to fall into the "monk" mentality instead of remembering the words of Jesus:
Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
1) We can try to ignore the controversy. We can accept that we know the truth about the gospel (and we do), and like the proverbial ostrich, we can bury our head in the sand. It’s simple, effective, and requires little effort. Unfortunately, it isn’t even remotely scriptural.
C. Make The Most Of The Opportunity
1) We can take this controversy and debate about the Da Vinci Code and we can engage others with the truth of the gospel. Like Paul, in Acts 17:16-34,
2) So in walks Paul. Was he repulsed by what he saw? Absolutely! Verse 16 says “his spirit was being provoked within him as he was observing the city full of idols.” Yet he knew he was facing a choice: He could either lash out or he could reach out. He could either attack the Athenians or he could attract them – but he couldn’t do both at the same time.
3) So he decided to engage with them. Verse 17 says: “So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present.”
4) Whoever he encountered, wherever he encountered them – Paul initiated spiritual conversations. In fact, he was taken to the Areopagus to face the intellectual elites of Athens – and in verse 22 he actually congratulates them for being spiritual. He says, “Men of Athens! I observe that you are very religious in all respects.” In effect, he was building a bridge by saying; Hey we have something in common. You’re religious and so am I. Let’s build on that.
5) With that as a starting point, he delivered a brilliant discourse, giving them persuasive reasons for believing in Jesus Christ, who proved He’s the Son of God by returning from the dead. In fact, Paul clearly knew their stuff – he had read their book and seen their movie, so to speak – and he quoted from confidence from their own sources.