Summary: Sharing the gospel and making an impact.
The truth is, bad news generally travels faster than good news. Within two hours the whole world knew that President John F. Kennedy had been killed, who killed him, where he was killed and how he was killed.
Today, still more than half the world does not know the good news that Jesus died, where He died, and the purpose of His death. 64 million people die every year that don’t know that Jesus died for them.
Surveys tell us that about 98 percent of the Christians do not regularly introduce others to their Savior. We are going to talk about this today, not to beat you guys up, not to get you down, but to build you up, to encourage you to share your faith. Before we get into our study though, let’s pray.
Last week we saw what great lengths Paul went to so share the gospel, even being humiliated and thrown into prison in order to minister to a bunch of other guys in jail.
By worldly standards, many people would believe that Paul trip to share the gospel in Philippi was a total failure. He didn’t start up some big revival, he led a few notable people to Christ, and it is extremely likely that the church at Philippi was very small when it started out.
Today, we are going to get to see Paul’s perseverance pay off, The mission field in Thessalonica was white unto harvest, and God used Paul to touch the lives of many, many people there.
More important than all this historical stuff though, I want to try and quantify this, to make this real to each one of us, so that we can apply it in our own lives.
By the way, that’s what we are here for, to apply the principles in God’s Word to our lives. If we are just reading this book, and not applying it to our lives, then we are missing out on what God had for us. So, let’s get into our study.
Turn with me to Acts chapter 17, and we are going to look at verses 1 through 15 this morning, as we continue through the book of Acts.
1 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." 4 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.
10 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.
The first thing that I notice when I read this passage is that Paul is doing a lot of moving around. He has covered a lot of ground this week, moving on from Philippi to Thessalonica, a journey of roughly 200 miles, then he goes on to Berea, and to Athens, the capitol city of ancient Greece.