Summary: Exposition of Acts 17:1-15 regarding the second missionary journey in Thessalonica and Berea
Text: Acts 17:1-15, Title: Turning the World Upside Down, Date/Place: NRBC, 10/12/08, AM
A. Opening illustration: our baseball team turns the world upside down every time we play
B. Background to passage: Having been freed with some dignity after being so spitefully treated (1 Thess 2:2) our missionary team goes through two fairly large cities and passes them by. This has to be a man who is walking close to Jesus to know not to leave when the chains came off and to know to pass through some cities and to set up shop in some. And by this point, he and his team had gained quite a reputation for stirring things up. Even to the point that people followed them and joined themselves to them.
C. Main thought: there are three contributors in this text to turning the world upside down.
A. The Proclamation of the Gospel (v. 1-4)
1. According to this text, for at least three weeks (but probably more because we know that Paul worked making tents while he was there to not be a burden as a traveling missionary) Paul preached the gospel to those in the synagogue. He simply demonstrated out of the OT scriptures the evidence for the fact that the Messiah would have to suffer and be killed and then be raised up. And the gospel, when properly proclaimed is offensive, but mighty to save.
2. Rom 10:1, Luke 24:26-27, 1 Cor 15:1-4, Rom 1:16, 1 Cor 2:1-5,
3. Illustration: talk about the discussions that I had about church planting with the two reformed Baptists about which came first the church or the gospel in church planting, had a radio DJ offer to help us get a spot on the radio weekly—that’s one of the things that got the Apostle going, Reidhead tells about two young Moravian Christians who heard about an atheist British man who owned an island on which he owned 2,000- 3,000 slaves. The man decided that no preacher or clergyman would ever come onto his island because to him religion was nonsense. These two young Moravian men sold themselves to the British planter and used the money for transportation to his island so that they might have a chance to preach the gospel to those slaves. The slavery into which they sold themselves was not temporary; it was permanent. Naturally the men’s families wept as the men prepared to leave, knowing they would never meet again. As the ship set sail one of the young men shouted out the last words that were ever heard from him: “May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering.” 70% of Tifton is lost, as Don prayed on Thurs what if each one of our 4000 worship attendees won one person to Jesus this year,
4. Real simple: if you want somebody to be saved, you have to go to where they are and proclaim the gospel to them. What is the gospel? What are the essential components? This is a crucial question, because ultimately the furtherance of the kingdom depends (from a human standpoint) on the proclamation of the gospel. We must be about the business of making known the death, resurrection, and call to repentance of Jesus Christ. So I think the evaluative question for us as a church is: Are we proclaiming the gospel? And if so, where and how? We must look for other ways to do it rather than simply on Sunday mornings from this pulpit and at communion? Personally, are you proclaiming Christ’s message to others? And yes, it is offensive and repulsive, and it will not make you popular, but hated and despised, but it will turn many worlds upside down for the glory of Christ when you do.
B. The Persecution of the Brethren (v. 5-9)
1. As usual along with the proclamation of the gospel comes two things. First, that some believe and join themselves to the faith. Second that some get angry, refuse to believe, and start a riot, and begin dragging people through the streets that are involved in the proclamation. But they can’t find the world changers, so they get the next best thing—those who housed the world changers, and beat them up and drag them through the streets under the charge of sedition and disturbing the peace. And we don’t know the details of what all transpired between Jason and the authorities, but money was taken from him to ensure that the troublemakers left town. And in 1 Thess, Paul speaks of being ripped away from these new believers, and being thwarted from coming back to them by Satan.
2. Philip 1:29, 3:10, 1 Pet 4:12-14, Rom 8:17-18, 2 Cor 1:7, 4:10, 2 Tim 2:12,
3. Illustration: I see this kind of thing in my baseball team: one kid gets asked to play a position that he really doesn’t want to play. So then he pouts and mopes around, smarts off to the other kids that try to encourage him, develops an attitude with the coaches, then does a terrible job playing the position, all because it is not what he wanted, the whole team suffers because of the mess that he stirs up, Nizhizaka Hill is the place in Nagasaki Japan where the 26 martyrs were executed on 15 February 1597, 400 years ago. They went to their deaths singing Ps. 113. Paul Miki was preaching. Contrary to Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the ruler of Japan’s expectation the Christians’ faith was strengthened. Amongst them was a young boy, Thomas Kosaki, was crucified for being a Christian with his father. He wrote to his mother a letter while on his way to martyrdom: "Mother we are supposed to be crucified tomorrow in Nagaski. Please do not worry about anything because we will be waiting for you to come to heaven. Everything in the world vanishes like a dream. Be sure that you never lose the happiness of heaven. Be patient and show love to many people. Most of all, about my little brothers Mansho and Philipo, please see to it that they are not delivered into the hands of the Gentiles. Mother I commit you to the Lord."