As we prepare our messages for Emmaus Bible College’s “Christian MInistry Seminars” for February 6-7, we see Paul here in Acts 17 using his mind to reach his audience with the gospel. Our text is Acts 17:19-34. We’ve already noticed that he was “greatly distressed” to see the city “full of idols.”
Please notice that he is skilled at reasoning with five groups: (1) the Jews; (2) the God-fearing Greeks; (3) the intellectual loiterers of the day; (4) the Epicurean philosophers; and (5) the Stoic philosophers. The Jews and the God-fearing Greeks were, no doubt, part of Paul’s own background. But what about the intellectual loiterers? Several questions occur to me in considering this third group:
1. Are we present in the “marketplace” to make connections with those kind of thinkers?
2. What about our “day by day”? Paul consistently was there.
3. “those who happened to be there” — God sovereignly allows people to be at places where believers can engage them with the gospel. We don’t need to set up formal appointments, but simply BE THERE!
Many of us know the great quote from missionary-martyr Jim Elliot. He said, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” There’s another Jim Elliot quote I love: “Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”