Ask the Right Questions

Acts 17:16-34

Allow me to recap a little from the beginning of this chapter. Paul and Silas are changing the world through the power of proclaiming God’s Word in Thessalonica, Beria, and now they come to Athens. Some believed in their message, some were mad, and some wanted to hear more. This seems to be the common reaction still today. Athens Greece was conquered by the Romans yet was allowed to continue with its institutions and self-governance. During the NT it was known as the intellectual and cultural center for this region. We believe this was Paul’s second missionary journey when he came to Athens. Athens had 10,000 citizens and 30,000 idols.

What do we see? (Acts 17:16) Athens had 10,000 citizens and 30,000 idols. What idols in our society should drive us to prayer and proclamation? An idol is defined as anything that we give more attention to than the one true God, Christ Jesus! Do we make comfort, recreation, sports, academics, money, and even our health an idol?

What do we feel? (Acts 17:16) We should feel provoked to have compassion for lost people. To hurt and weep that they do not know the truth of Christ. To urgently want them to be freed from the bondage of sin and eternal separation from Christ. DL Moody saw people as either lost or saved! That should be our description of others as well. There is only two categories!   

Where should we go? (Acts 17:17-18) Paul went to the synagogue, he could connect with the Jewish community. From there he went to the marketplace, a place of many people. He also went to the intellectual skeptics. The Epicureans were a group who followed a philosophy that taught that nature rather than reason is the true reality; nothing exists but matter and space. Man’s goal is happiness. Stoicism was a type of pantheistic philosophy that believed in many gods. To them fire, was the ultimate substance, and God was merely the Spirit of Reason of the universe. Reason was the guide and decided what was good and what was evil. They called Paul a babbler, which meant seed picker.  

Today secular humanism emphasizes the value and ability of humans above and before any type of god. Reason is elevated above faith.

What should we say? (Acts 17:19-31) We should share the gospel!

In verses 19-23 Paul was kind and respectful practicing 1 Peter 3:15 “…being prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have…”

a. Christ the Righteous Creator (v.24)
b. Christ the Real Sustainer (v.25)
c. Christ the Ruler (v.26)
d. Christ, the Giver of Our Relationship with God (v.27)
e. Christ the Righteous Father (vv.28-29)
f. Christ the Rescuer (vv.30-31)

What should happen? (Acts 17:32-34) The response will be either be anger towards the message of Christ, agreement to hear more, or affection for Christ! Those will be the three responses.