Summary: Picture youself sitting in a small boat. Lean far to one side by following some foreign doctrine, the boat turns over, lean too far to the other side in not doing anything, the boat turns over. Balance is needed.
Title: The Question of Balance
Scripture: Acts 17:1-15
Have you ever wondered just why it is you have a little toe? I mean really, think about it! It doesn’t do anything but just sit there. All the other toes move while we are walking. All the other toes are active and support us just fine. Why did God give us the little toe? The answer is: for balance.
Without the little toe we would simply fall over to the side where there isn’t a little toe. If we were to have an accident and the little toe was to be removed, we would have to go through a rehabilitation program to learn to walk without a little toe, because it provides the balance that we need to stand upright.
Balance is surely needed in walking down the street, and balance is surely needed when we are witnessing on that same street. If there is no balance in our message the person we are witnessing to will remain lost. Without balance in our Christian life we will not be able to bring a balanced message to the people. Balance is needed. No matter what word you use to explain it, it is needed:
I. Steadiness (vv.1-4)
II. Unsteadiness (vv. 5-9)
III. Balanced (vv.10-12)
IV. Unbalanced (vv.13-15)
V. Staying Poised (vv. 16-17)
VI. Wobbling (vv.18-21)
VII. Upright (vv. 22-31)
VIII. Even Keel (vv. 32-34)
I. Steadiness (vv.1-4)
1 When they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. 2 As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. "This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ, " he said. 4 Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women
Balance requires steadiness. Meaning, you are not easily going to swerve to the left or the right. Paul was steady in the fact that he always went straightway into the Jewish synagogue whenever he entered a city. Paul was also steady in the fact that he never wavered in his message, whether to the Jew or to the Gentile.
Paul used the scriptures, that is the Old Testament, to not only maintain his personal balance with the Lord, but when he was sharing the Gospel message as well. He reasoned, explained and proved, proclaimed and persuaded men and women to put their faith in Jesus Christ through the Word of God.
(Isaiah 1:18) "Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.
The Bible tells us to come to the Lord and reason with the Lord. It is implying that we may intelligently and mindfully seek the Lord. Nowhere in scripture are we asked to blindly and dumbly worship God. Whether we go into the Bible Study or the streets, we are asked to reason, to let the Spirit of God guide our minds to persuade the immature and lost.
b. Explaining and Proving
As we reason, we provide explanations and exposition to encourage and enlighten so that we are able to prove, through the Word, what we are talking about. The Bible says that Paul explained and proved to the lost what he was talking about.
These types of sessions, that is reasoning, explaining, and proving, are much different than proclaiming. These types of sessions are more similar to the group setting, with interaction.
c. Proclaiming (state publicly, announce, declare, decree)
But, Paul did not only reason, explain and prove, he also proclaimed. He publicly stated his belief in Jesus. He publicly announced that Jesus was the Lord of his life, and that others should follow Jesus also.
In an effort to maintain a ‘steadiness’ in our Gospel message we must use, like Paul, reasoning, explaining, proving, and proclaiming in an effort to bring others to Jesus, in our effort to persuade others and to build up those already in Christ.
Our passage says in verse four:
“4 Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women.”
Paul was successful in evangelism because he studied the scriptures. How could you reason from the scriptures without study?
Paul was successful in his evangelism because he approached evangelism with the scriptures. How could you explain and prove without the scriptures?
Paul was successful in his evangelism because he believed and proclaimed that Jesus is the Christ. How could you persuade anyone to become a Christian without this very important detail?