Summary: Three different presentations of the gospel and three different receptions.
A Study of the Book of Acts
Sermon # 30
“Three Different Reactions to God’s Word”
In the last chapter we examined three different salvation stories and tonight we are going to look at three different presentations of the gospel and the three different receptions that it received.
I. THESSALONICA: RESISTING THE WORD 17:1-9
“Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. (2) “Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, (3) explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.”
Verse two says that Paul “as was his custom” went into the synagogue on the Sabbath. Some eighty percent of Americans claim to be saved but only sixty percent of those, claim to see any need for the church in their lives. That is not in line with the salvation exhibited in the book of Acts. Like our Lord (Luke 4) the believers made it a habit, a practice, settled policy to be in the house of God. They did not come because it was a special occasion or because they did not have anything better to do, they came with regularity and faithfulness. The truth is that the church in American will have to struggle through the summer because the members have not made coming to church a habit in their lives.
In the synagogue he “….reasoned, explained, and demonstrated..” First, Paul “reasoned with them from the Scripture” (v.2)” The Greek word translated “reasoned” is the root of our English word “dialogue.” There was an exchange of ideas, questions and answers. He dialogued with them “from the Scriptures.” Secondly, there according to verse 3 was “explaining. ” This word literally means “opening.” It is the same word used in Luke 24:31 to describe the opening of the disciples eyes on the road to Emmaus. Paul opened the word with simplicity and clarity. Third, he “demonstrated that the Christ had to suffer. ” This word is translated as give evidence or prove. It literally means “to place beside” or “to set before.” The apostle set before them one Old Testament proof after that Jesus was indeed the Messiah.
As a result of his preaching, verse four says, “And some of them were persuaded; and a great multitude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women, joined Paul and Silas.(5) But the Jews who were not persuaded, becoming envious, took some of the evil men from the marketplace, and gathering a mob, set all the city in an uproar and attacked the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. (6) But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too. (7) Jason has harbored them, and these are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king—Jesus.” (8) And they troubled the crowd and the rulers of the city when they heard these things. (9) So when they had taken security from Jason and the rest, they let them go.” (NKJV)
Some of the Jews rejected the message of Paul and recruited a mob of “evil men,” the King James Version calls them “lewd fellows of the baser sort.” I like A. T. Robertson’s translation he calls them “bums.”
II. BEREA: RECEIVING THE WORD 17:10-15
“Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. (11) These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether
these things were so. (12) Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men. (13) But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was preached by Paul at Berea, they came there also and stirred up the crowds. (14) Then immediately the brethren sent Paul away, to go to the sea; but both Silas and Timothy remained there. (15) So those who conducted Paul brought him to Athens; and receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him with all speed, they departed.” (NKJV)
How many lies do we end up believing and how much damage is done to the cause of Christ because Christians do not take the time to examine what the Bible says. Some we in a second marriage believe that they are living in perpetual adultery. Some believe that suicide is the unforgivable sin and therefore those who commit suicide are in hell; and a thousand other lies because they don’t examine the scriptures for themselves.