Summary: Evangelism - sharing the faith (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reading: Acts chapter 17 verses 1-1:
• Several years ago, American Larry Walters, a 33-year-old man;
• Decided he wanted to see his locality from a new perspective.
• So he went down to the local army surplus store;
• And bought forty-five used weather balloons.
• That afternoon he strapped himself into a garden chair,
• And several of his friends tied the now helium-filled balloons.
• He took along a six-pack of beer, a sandwich, & a Bull-bearing gun,
• Figuring he could shoot the balloons one at a time when he was ready to land.
• Walters, who assumed the balloons would lift him about 100 feet in the air,
• But he was caught off guard;
• When the chair soared more than 11,000 feet into the sky.
• This took him smack into the middle of;
• The air traffic pattern at Los Angeles International Airport.
• Too frightened to shoot any of the balloons,
• He stayed airborne for more than two hours,
• This forced the airport to shut down its runways for much of the afternoon,
• Causing long delays in flights from all over the country.
• Soon after he was safely grounded and cited by the police,
• Reporters asked him three questions:
• First question: “Where you scared?”
• He replied “Yes.”
• Second question: “Would you do it again?”
• He answered “No.”
• Third question: “Why did you do it?”
• “Because,” he said, “you can’t just sit there.”
That’s what the book of Acts is saying, shouting to us in these verses:
• In a world with no idea who the real Jesus is
• Or the real message of Christianity, what the good news is:
• The book of Acts is a constant reminder;
• That you and I “Can’t just sit there.”
• Reaching people for Jesus requires action!
• Mercedes Benz were the company who first produced;
• A car body design that absorbed the force of a collision on impact.
• One Mercedes Benz TV commercial;
• Shows their car colliding with a cement wall during a safety test.
• Since then of course many other car companies have followed it’s design.
• Someone then asks the company spokesman;
• Why they do not enforce their patent on the Mercedes Benz energy-absorbing car body.
• He replies mater-of-factly,
• "Because some things in life are too important not to share."
• How true!
• In that category also falls the good news of Jesus Christ,
• News that saves people from far more than auto collisions.
Ministry in Thessalonica (vs 1):
• The apostle Paul, was the first person to travel widely telling people about Jesus.
• He is considered the first missionary - a word meaning someone who is sent out.
He made three missionary journeys:
• You can read about his first missionary journey in Acts chapters 13 and 14.
• This first expedition lasted at least two years,
• His second missionary journey is found in Acts chapter 16, 17 and 18.
• This trip is likely to have lasted at least three years.
• You can read about his third missionary journey in Acts chapter 19, 20 and 21.
• This trip lasted about five years.
Note: In Acts chapter 17 we are breaking in to Paul’s second missionary journey:
• Where we are told in verse 1:
• “When they had passed through Am-pi-polis and Apoll-on-ia, they came to Thessalonica.”
• This was a long stretch of the journey - over 100 miles of walking;
• Yet Dr Luke dismisses it in a sentence of a few words.
• Notice: That they passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia without preaching;
• Question: Didn’t these folks need to hear the message as well?
• Answer: Twofold:
• First: It was Paul’s strategy to minister in the larger cities;
• He then expected the new converts in that city;
• To then reach out with the gospel to the other towns & villages around them.
• And if you read his letter to the Thessalonians – that is what happened.
• ill: 1 Thessalonians chapter 1 verse 8:
“The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia - your faith in God has become known everywhere”.
• Second: Whenever Paul went on this journey;
• His strategy was to start preaching in the synagogue;
• Verse 1b: “Where there was a Jewish synagogue”
• It is believed that there was no synagogue in those other two places he passed by.
(1). City and Government
(a). It was a key city.
• Thessalonica is today called Salonika;
• And it has become the second largest city in Greece.
• In Paul’s day it was the capital of Macedonia,