Summary: To examine Paul’s sermon on Mars Hill to the philosophers of his day
Paul’s Sermon on Mars’ Hill, Originally preached on 2/23/03 7 pm worship service FBC Hull Scripture reference:Acts 17:18-34
Primary Purpose: To see how Paul addressed the philosophers of his day with the truth of God’s Word
After Paul was led by night to go to Berea. After establishing the church there the opposition from Thessalonica comes and persecutes Paul and
Paul must move on again to Athen. Paul leaves Silas and Timothy behind to take care of establishing the organization of the church with instructions to
follow as soon as possible. As Paul waits for them he begins to share his faith in both the synagogue and in the marketplace. In v.18 they call Paul a babbler. The word babbler in the Greek is the word spermologos (sper-mol-og-os) it means a bird who picks up seeds, an empty talker, beggarly, getting a living by flattery or bufferoonery. Clearly, this is far from flattering. It appears that the only reason they give him a hearing is that he is new and different and they enjoy hearing new ideas and teachings. In v.21 it indicates that this is what they did all day, sit around and discuss new ideas. So, they take him to the Areopagus (a word that is the latin form of the Greek word rendered Mars’ Hill). He encounters two groups of philosophers. Even though we don’t have these groups today we
have some of there philosophy in our society. The two groups are the Epicureans and the Stoics.
The Epicureans- believed that everything happened by way of chance. The gods if they existed were uncaring about man’s situation. Death was the end
of all life. So, the chief aim of life was to get what pleasure out of it you could. Any happiness was here and not in any afterlife. This type of belief
may be considered a type of fatalism or a deist or even a headonism lifestyle. They don’t believe in heaven or hell.
This type of person could be very pleasant because this person was striving for heaven on earth or they were trying to make the best of their situation
now. At the core of this kind of thinking is a type of hopelessness.
The Stoics- an opposite line of thinking. They believed that everything had the spirit God within them. This is similiar to the New Age Movement. They
thought that everything that happened was God’s will. The Stoics could be very moral. These people are the tree hugging environmentalist of our day.
They were the social reformers and activists of our day.
Both of these groups fail to recognize that God is outside of his creation. They fail to see that God both knows us by name and desires a
personal relationship with us. They failed to see that God will one day to hold us to account to Himself.
Paul addresses them by saying:
1. God is both creator and provider of all. v.24-25,28. God is not in a tree, but he made the trees. He is not unconcerned about what we are going
through, but gives us all good gifts. Paul says he is our provider of everything. To them he stressed that God transcends the creation and isn’t in need of anything. He also stressed that he is not limited to a particular place or temple. He says “In him we live and move and have our being.” v.28
2. God desires for us to seek Him and to know Him. To both groups he declared that God “he determined the times set for them and the exact places
where they should live. God did this so that man would see him and perhaps reach out for him and find him.” v.26-27 He presented him as not something
unknown, but someone that could be known.
3. God has appointed a day of judgment for those who don’t follow Him v.31 The one who judged would be the Christ. The evidence that this is true is that God raised Jesus from the dead.
Both groups failed to consider that God would personally hold them to account for their lives one day. Paul said that proof that Jesus has been
appointed as the one through whom God judges is the resurrection. By this is evidence that Jesus has the ultimate authority of all things and has the right to
The Response: Paul received 3 different responses to his message. Thelargest group sneered at him. We need to remember what 1 Cor 1:23 says that
Christ crucified is to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeksfoolishness. They considered him foolish for speaking about the resurrection. v.32
Other Scriptures that talk about this (1 Cor 1:19-20,27; Matt 11:25)
The second response was some desired to hear him again. The smallest group was those who accepted the gospel of those we know only 2 names. After all this, we are told that Paul simply leaves Athens, he is not forced out, but leaves on his own.