The Book of Acts - Chapter 17
The Book of Acts
Witnessing and Evangelism
"Meeting People Where They Are"
Start where people are at, but be available to be used by God to help bring them to where He wants them to be.
When Paul and his companions had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. 2 As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and proving that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead. “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Messiah,” he said. 4 Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few prominent women.
“In your hearts [Balanced thoughts and feeling] revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against
your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”
- 1 Peter 3:15,16
(v. 2 “he reasoned with them from the Scriptures”)
Gk = dialegomai (Dialogue) back & forth
Explained & Gave Evidence
(“3 explaining and proving that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead.”)
Explaining (Gk) = To open up.
Proving (Gk) = “To Present Evidence” as in a judicial investigation.
Bearing witness with facts.
“You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”
“4 Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few prominent women.”
Persuaded (Gk) = To get someone to see, believe and accept your point(s).
5 BUT other Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city… “These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here, 7 and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus.” 10 As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 12 As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men. 13 But when the Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God at Berea, some of them went there too, agitating the crowds and stirring them up. 14 The believers immediately sent Paul to the coast, but Silas and Timothy stayed at Berea…In Athens 16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. 17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. 18 A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to debate with him. Some of them asked, “What is this babbler trying to say?” Others remarked, “He seems to be advocating foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.
How to “Reason” with people today
1. With “Some”, you can’t.
2. Meet them where they are at.
(Paul used the “Altar to An Unknown God”)
3. Do they seek pleasure, or avoid it?
Meet them where they are at:
“People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious.
23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you. 24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man [Adam] he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ 29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.” 32 When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.” 33 At that, Paul left the Council. 34 Some of the people became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others.
Do they seek pleasure, or avoid it?
1. Pleasure and the avoidance of pain are the highest things in life to attain.
3. Not atheists, but believed that the gods did not intervene in our lives.
4. We disintegrate when we die.
1. The greatest virtue is self-mastery.
2. Rise above both pleasure and pain to the point where you feel nothing.
3. Pantheists (God is creation and creation is God)
4. No life after death.
How to “Reason” with people today
4. Point to Jesus (His Pain, Our gain)
Through the FACTS (Biblical Prophecies)
Through your FEELINGS. (your story)
Statistical Probabilities of Jesus being the Messiah
I love Jesus.
I need Jesus.
In him, I live and move and have my being.