Daring to Tell the Gospel Amidst Much Conflict – Acts 17

Why did they dare to tell His Gospel? What is the strongest stimulus and motivation?
A.    The comparative study of religions has led many to deny the uniqueness of Jesus Christ and to reject the very concept of His exclusive claim of being the only way to God and the imperative of evangelizing and seeing people come to faith in Jesus  (John Stott, Acts, p. 279).
B.    How can we justify the continuance of world evangelization and missions?
C.    What might be some of your answers? I think the Apostle Paul would say from his time in Athens that it would have to be a godly jealousy for the glory of Jesus Christ.
D.    Henry Martyn: “I could not endure existence if Jesus was not glorified; it would be hell to me if He were to be always dishonored.”
E.    Praying for ourselves about this: Lord, may it wound us and cause us heartache when You are denied Your rightful place in people’s lives.

How did the apostolic band dare to tell His Gospel?
A.    Listen to what the Apostle Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 2:2 – But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict.
What verbs are used to describe the ministry of Paul, Silas and Timothy?
Reasoned, explained, proved, proclaimed and persuaded.
B.    Verse 11 and The Danger of Indoctrination (tyrannical instruction demanding uncritical acceptance).
Bengel: A characteristic of the true religion is that it suffers itself to be examined into, and its claims to be so decided upon.
Timothy Keller: A faith without some doubts is like a human body with no antibodies in it. People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask the hard questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the probing questions of a smart skeptic. A person’s faith can collapse almost overnight if she failed over the years to listen patiently to her own doubts, which should only be discarded after long reflection.” – A Reason for God

To whom did they dare to tell His gospel?
A.    The Religious…(17:1-15) Using the Scriptures to point to Christ. Synagogue corresponds in many ways to the church today.
What attitudes should we adopt towards the Scriptures? Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. Psalm 119:18
B.    The Secular… (17:16-34) Using Culture to point to Christ. Areopagus (literally Mars Hill) corresponds to the university setting today with the exchange of ideas and debate.
What struck Paul in the ancient city of Athens? A city covered in idols. Petronius’s satirical assertion is that “it was easier to find a god than a man in Athens.”

What results from daring to tell His gospel?
A.    Daring to tell His gospel started a movement that literally turned the world upside down. These hostile opponents spoke better than they knew, for the spread of the gospel throughout the Roman Empire was the beginning of a movement that would change the course of history forever.
B.    Daring to tell His gospel resulted in some repenting and coming to faith in Jesus and uniting with His church. They “received the word in much affliction with the joy of the Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 1:6). Some “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (1 Thessalonians 1:9). Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men (Acts 17:12).
C.    Daring to tell His gospel resulted in others mocking, rejecting, and aggressively opposing and oppressing its messengers. If you take seriously your responsibility to live and proclaim God’s gospel, at some point you too will be labeled a troublemaker. Daring to tell of another King often resulted in the charge of treason against Caesar and proved fatal for the accused. However, supreme homage and total obedience are due to Him alone no matter what the cost.

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