Summary: Are you just surviving or thriving? Learn why and how to thrive in God’s word.

Surviving or Thriving?

Acts 17:1-12

Pastor Mark Olson


Some People Only Survive...Never Learn to Thrive

Story: Boy Scouts survival camp; TV “Man vs Wild”

Spiritually thrive - God’s power must be present & at work in your life

But how do you/I tap into this power?

Answer: means of grace/spiritual disciplines

To neglect these practices - thwarts God’s power

To Thrive, Turn to the Source: God’s Word

Collection of books/writings

Story of God’s plan of salvation

Created in God’s image Gen 1:26-27

Lost that image Gen 3

Being created anew in God’s image through Christ Col 3:10

Insights: Bible is-

Not just bare history, but history with a message

Prophet’s role - interpret history, reveal God’s plan in history

Events recorded were chosen - fit God’s story

Record of God’s dealings

Past: how he has worked his plan in individuals

Present: principles for daily living in God’s

Future: promises/ hope

Paul’s Example vv 2-4

Reasoned from the Scriptures:

Explained the Bible - lit. opened, unlocked its meaning

Demonstrated the truth: Jesus’ death & resurrection saves

Theme: Jesus is the Christ: salvation thru his death & resurrection

Goal: Persuade/win over/ satisfy people to believe in Christ

Action Points: Paul’s example invites you to intellectually engage the word, to weigh its teaching and to think deeply about them.

Witnessing: need to explain & demonstrate the truth in the Bible

focus on Jesus - death & resurrection

remember: goal is to persuade, not force-feed

Berean’s Example vv 11-12

Noble character: lit. of noble descent - open-minded, well-disposed

Received - eagerness = teachable, responsive, obedient

Tested Paul’s message = Bible is standard for truth, beliefs,

Insights: God works through his word when...

Your attitude is open, positive & teachable

You study His word - takes effort, must be a habit


How much do you read (listen, etc) the Bible?

How well do you understand and grasp its contents?

Do you prioritize learning God’s word?

Are you merely surviving...or thriving?

Why You Need to Learn God’s Word

1. To know and understand God: nature, character, values, will

Relationship with God demands you know him personally

This requires knowing his word - revelation of his will

2. To learn your purpose in life: not self-evident, not written in the clouds or on the rocks (sunset is beautiful, but it doesn’t reveal your purpose in life). Only in God’s word is your purpose made known.

3. To know your goal of life: Is life going somewhere? What is my destiny? What happens after this earthly life? The bible contains answers - not total answers, but sufficient ones.

4. Spiritual warfare: We live in a battlefield - temptation, trials, hardships, difficulties, & questions test us, weigh upon us, try us - are you prepared? Do you grasp the nature of the conflict and why it happens? Do you know how to overcome?

5. Growth and development: You will only grow to the level of understanding God’s word (as pts 1-4 make plain)

Action Steps: To Thrive in God’s Word...

1. Decide right now that you are going to learn God’s word

2. Determine a plan: (A) Individual (B) Group

3. Follow through—stick to it! Story: Les Schwab Tire Stores

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