Summary: In this sermon, we explore Paul's preaching and teaching by looking at his sermon in Acts 17.
A. The story is told of a preacher, who one day at the end of the worship service was shaking the hands of the congregation as they departed.
1. A very old lady went past him with a big smile on her face.
2. Following her was her middle-aged, adult son, who said to the preacher: “Our mother thinks you’re the greatest preacher she has ever heard.”
3. Then the son leaned toward the preacher and added in a confidential half-whisper: “Of course, we think she’s losing her mind.”
B. I read about another young preacher who was flattered when someone described him as a “model” preacher, until he looked up the word “model” in the dictionary and saw that one of the definitions for “model” is “A small imitation of the real thing.”
1. That experience made him a little more cautious to the compliments he received.
2. Soon after, someone else in the congregation described him as a “warm” preacher.
3. Again he consulted his dictionary, and was disappointed to see that one definition of “warm” is “not so hot.”
C. Preaching the Word of God, and teaching the Word of God, and sharing the Word of God, are some of the most important and rewarding activities that any of us can be involved in.
1. And at the same time, preaching, teaching and sharing God’s Word, can be one of the most challenging and humbling activities that any of us can be involved in.
D. The apostle Paul was one of the most effective and faithful preachers, teachers and sharers of God’s Word.
1. Any study of Paul’s life must include attention to the way that he handled the Word of God.
2. Today’s sermon applies very easily to me, and to all our ministers, elders and teachers.
3. But today’s sermon also applies to every Christian, because all of us must properly employ the Word of God in our own lives, and we are all called to share the Word of God with others, not necessarily in a formal or public way, but privately and personally.
4. Paul’s admonition to Timothy certainly applies to all Christians: Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. (2 Tim. 2:15)
5. So let’s turn our attention to the preaching and teaching of the Apostle Paul and see what we can learn from his example.
I. The Story
A. A quick survey through the book of Acts demonstrates Paul’s passion for communicating the message of Christ without hesitation or apology.
1. Paul spoke boldly. Paul preached the Word. Paul taught with conviction. Paul connected with the needs of his hearers.
3. Let’s take a close look at Paul’s sermon in Athens and learn some important principles about properly handling God’s Word in our lives and in our ministry.
B. In our sermon last week, we did a quick overview of Paul’s 2nd Missionary Journey.
1. We traced his travels and experiences, and we mentioned that he went to Athens.
2. Today we want to take a closer look at what transpired there in Athens.
3. You will recall that just prior to going to Athens, Paul was in Thessalonica and Berea.
C. The Bible says: 13 When the Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God at Berea, they went there too, agitating the crowds and stirring them up. 14 The brothers immediately sent Paul to the coast, but Silas and Timothy stayed at Berea. 15 The men who escorted Paul brought him to Athens and then left with instructions for Silas and Timothy to join him as soon as possible. 16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. (Acts 17:13-16)
1. So, when Paul reached Athens, he was alone.
2. While Paul waited for the arrival of his missionary partners, he ventured into the crowded streets of that famous metropolis.
3. As Paul moved about soaking in the sights and sounds of Athens, he encountered Greek culture at its worst, and it upset him deeply.
4. The prevalence of idols and the resulting commercial windfall and sinful behavior they spawned gnawed at that preacher’s soul.
D. Most of us have never experienced a culture like that so full of idol worship, but there are cultures and places in the world today, that mirror what Paul experienced in ancient Athens.
1. How troubling it was for Paul and would be for us to see sincere people bringing their treasures and offering them to gods of stone and wood.