Summary: This message looks at the lessons we can learn from Paul's teaching as he traveled throughout Europe with the Gospel message
* Progression in the book of Acts:
- started with a group of men, given a challenge by Christ to take the message of Christ to all the world
- these and faithful to share that message, as were those they shared it with; a successive chain of evangelism
- the growth/flourish of the church = because of their outward focus
- hallmark event in chapter 9: the conversion of Saul
- the leadership mantle was passed from Peter to Paul in chapters 12-13
- the great things Paul has done from chapter 13 to now...
* Text: Paul in Europe; evangelizes in four cities = his European Tour
* What happened at each city teaches us something about Christ, God, and the Word
THESSALONICA: The authority of Christ (17:1-9)
* Verse 7 = Jesus is King: Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament promises of a perfect king who reigns over his people and the universe
* NT concept of the kingdom of God pictures Jesus as King, Ruler, or Lord; the culmination of that theme is found in Revelation 19:16
* The authority of Christ (Jesus as King) is both present yet future, already here and yet to come, spiritual and universal
1) The present kingship of Christ = see Luke 17:21
- refers to the rule/authority of Christ over his people (Col. 1:13-14)
- the present rule of Christ is a spiritual realm established in the hearts and lives of believers; Christ administers his authority by spiritual means, namely the Word and the Spirit
- whenever believers follow the lordship of Christ, the Savior is exercising his ruling or kingly function
2) The future kingship of Christ will be seen and understood fully when Jesus returns = see Matthew 19:28
- the future kingdom will be essentially the same as the present in the sense that men and women will acknowledge Christ’s rule in their hearts
- the future kingdom will be different from the present in that the rule of Christ will be perfect and visible (1 Cor. 15:24-25)
* What Paul’s stop at Thessalonica teaches us about the authority of Christ as King:
A. Christ desires to be the King of all nations (v. 4a) = Jews and Greeks
B. Christ desires to be the King of all people (v. 4b)
C. The authority of Christ takes precedence (v. 7)
BEREA: The importance of the Word (17:10-15)
* The contrast between those in Thessalonica and those in Berea (v. 11): how they responded to the Word
* The example of the Bereans for what we should do with God’s Word...
A. They accepted the Word (v. 11 - received): they were open to what God had to say
B. They accepted the Word willingly (v. 11 - eagerness = willingness; readiness)
C. They accepted the Word carefully (v. 11 - examined = to scrutinize, to question): they made sure what Paul said was true and squared with the rest of Scripture; wanted to follow God’s Word, not man’s opinion
D. They accepted the Word faithfully (v. 11 - every day): living the Word was a daily task
* What does Berea teach us about the Word of God and it’s importance?
A. The Word is important because of WHO the Word is (John 1:1, 14)
B. The Word is important because of what the Word does (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
C. The Word is important because it points others to Christ (v. 12 is the result of verse 11) (John 5:39)
ATHENS: The supremacy of God (17:16-34)
* The essence of what Paul is saying: God is above all and greater than all
A. God is greater than our ideas (v. 19-21): What we think must take a back seat to what God says
B. God is greater than our religion (v. 22-23)
C. God is greater than our selves (v. 24-26): God doesn’t “need” us to be God
* Implications of God’s supremacy...
A. Because of God’s supremacy, we need to know him (v. 27): we need to know the one who is the greatest
B. Because of God’s supremacy, we need to repent (v. 30): we see ourselves as we really are when we understand God’s supremacy
C. Because of God’s supremacy, we need to avoid judgment (v. 31)
CORINTH: The purpose of Christ (18:1-17)
* Paul’s message at Corinth (v. 5) = Jesus is the Christ (Christ = “anointed”)
* Jesus was anointed and appointed by God for a specific purpose (Luke 19:10)
* The purpose of Jesus being the Christ was to die in order that sinners could be saved (Luke 4:18-19)
* The implications of Paul’s European Tour for our lives...
1. Are you allowing Christ to be the King of your life?
2. Are you living the Word as you study it for yourself?
3. Are you giving God supremacy in your life?
4. Have you experienced the purpose of Christ by accepting him as Savior?