SERIES: Unstoppable – The Book of Acts
Sunday, August 20, 2017
- Every story has a starting point and if you start in the wrong spot you often end up drawing the wrong conclusions…
- In fact, just about everything in life has a starting point (your life, your education, your career, your relationships)
- Faith has a starting point as well.
- For most of Acts to this point, the target audience was Jewish and the starting point was the Torah (OT) – scriptures and prophecies about the Messiah – they would point to Jesus as the fulfillment of those prophecies – and people believed. But Jesus hadn’t told them to just go witness to the Jews, He told them to be witnesses of His resurrection to the ends of the world, and that included Gentiles. And once they broke that barrier and wrestled with the issues of culture, they began to send out missionaries and witnesses to the largely non-Jewish world. And that world didn’t know about the prophecies in the Torah – and they didn’t really care about it because they weren’t Jewish.
- According to census results, 55% “nones” in Polk
- “The Bible says,” is not an adequate starting point or returning point for many adults.
TEXT: Acts 17:16-32 (846)
16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was deeply troubled by all the idols he saw everywhere in the city. 17 He went to the synagogue to reason with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and he spoke daily in the public square to all who happened to be there.
18 He also had a debate with some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers. When he told them about Jesus and his resurrection, they said, “What’s this babbler trying to say with these strange ideas he’s picked up?” Others said, “He seems to be preaching about some foreign gods.”
19 Then they took him to the high council of the city. “Come and tell us about this new teaching,” they said. 20 “You are saying some rather strange things, and we want to know what it’s all about.” 21 (It should be explained that all the Athenians as well as the foreigners in Athens seemed to spend all their time discussing the latest ideas.)
22 So Paul, standing before the council, addressed them as follows: “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, 23 for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about.
24 “He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, 25 and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need. 26 From one man[f] he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries.
27 “His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. 28 For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ 29 And since this is true, we shouldn’t think of God as an idol designed by craftsmen from gold or silver or stone.
30 “God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him. 31 For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead.”
32 When they heard Paul speak about the resurrection of the dead, some laughed in contempt, but others said, “We want to hear more about this later.”
- The starting point for the Christian faith is not the Bible, it’s not “just believe”, it’s a question: “Who is Jesus?”
- The question – the starting point – is “Who do you think Jesus is?”
- When you answer that, many of those other questions will answer themselves.