Summary: What is the work God wants us to do?
The Fields are White Unto Harvest!
April 6, 2005
Center Point Baptist Church
1.) A Real Outreach Emphasis
*Outreach Theology in Churches is all over the map!
• Some don’t believe in it at all – they say salvation is only for the elect, and thank God we’re it!
• Some are to comfortable with what they’ve got, and don’t really wish for additions to the family – use the example of a growing family.
• Some accept any behavior at all, preaching a gospel devoid of real change in a person’s life – there are no requirements to get to heaven. A gospel without repentance.
• Many Christians know and believe in the “Great Commission” but lack the will, fortitude and sense of urgency to actually follow their orders – instead content to live out the “great omission.”
Why is our society so confused about issues of God?
(Could it be because the church itself has become confused on many of its most important issues?)
Read Acts 17:16-31.
*The city was full of idols! – note the hyper-tolerant culture we are a part of – tolerant of everything!
• “lifestyle choices” – openly wicked relationships
• “mother’s choice” – the choice to kill
• “worship choices” – every religion that the far east, India, and Nepal can hold – and now Islam as well:
the religion of atheism (which is attempting to hijack our constitution)
*All is acceptable – everything’s okay – and nobody is wrong!
In an age and society like this, does a Christian have to look very far to find reasons they should be sharing the good news?
2.) People are Lost
*Paul’s spirit was “greatly distressed” to see how far that society had gone. - How distressed is your spirit?
• There was evidence of the lost condition of that city – the idols! There is plenty of evidence here, too!
In light of how Paul felt, how should we feel about these things going on in our own country?
(provoked, stirred, troubled, upset, distressed, grieved, pained, angry, roused to anger)
*Until we feel a sense of urgency about our world’s need for the gospel…
• The city: it was wholly given to idolatry – so much that there were more idols in Athens than there were in all Greece.
• Whatever strange gods were recommended to them, they admitted them, and allowed them a temple and an altar.
*It is observable that there, where human learning most flourished, idolatry most abounded.
1 Corinthians 1:18-21 – For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate." Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.
*The greatest pretenders to reason were and still are the greatest slaves to idols.
3.) People Need to Hear the Good News
When faced with all of this, what did Paul do?
He spoke! – to Jews, God-fearing Greeks, and all who would listen in the marketplace!
• Epicureans: Followed the teachings of Epicurus, who taught that happiness should be the main goal in life.
• Stoics: Followers of a man named Zeno, who taught that people should learn self-control and by guided by their conscience.
*We have Epicureans and Stoics in our society today…and they sound so reasonable!
*There is evidence here that Paul’s listeners desired to hear more!
Areopagus – the town hall – He preached at town hall!...talk about confidence!
What does it take to gain that kind of confidence!
• a true knowledge of God’s saving grace
• a life-changing experience brought about by the Spirit of God
• a willingness to submit to the study and knowledge of God’s Word
• a step of faith
You never know who might listen to the Word of the Lord! Obey your Commission – be true to your calling!
1. Re-read Acts 17:21, comparing that society with ours.
2. Re-read Acts 17:22-28.
*They even had an altar to “the unknown God.”
Some think they were simply covering their bases, just in case. Others think they intended this for the God of the Jews, whose name is inexpressible, and whose nature is unsearchable. The heathen called the Jew’s God the God without name.
*”This God,” said Paul, “I now declare unto you.”
Do you think our Christian nation knows who God is, or is He unknown to most people?
*We must tell people about Christ!