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Loving the Lord with Our Minds — The Apostle Paul in Acts 17 (Part 7)

30 Jan

On February 6-7 I will be the speaker at Emmaus Bible College’s “Christian MInistry screen-shot-2017-01-17-at-5-57-12-amSeminars.” My theme, “Anti-Intellectualism Isn’t Spirituality,”  will pursue several topics, among them is Paul’s use of his mind in Acts 17.  As we look at Acts 17:19-34 we see how the Apostle Paul reaches a diverse audience with the gospel. “Greatly distressed” to see the city “full of idols,” he uses reasoning to debate with those five groups.

screen-shot-2017-01-19-at-5-17-43-amHe begins with a compliment:  “I see that you are very religious” (v. 22).  Complimenting those-not-yet-followers-of-Jesus is a wise approach, don’t you think?

He tells them that he has taken the time to look carefully at their objects of worship (v. 23).  He read every inscription.  He became culturally-aware of his audience and what had captured their attention.

He then moves from the known to the unknown.  The Athenians covered all their bases (or so they thought) by even having an altar with the inscription “to an unknown god.”  Paul uses that anonymous object of worship as a contact point to transition to “that is what I am going to proclaim to you” (v. 23).

There is a  time for PROCLAMATION in the presentation of the gospel, isn’t there?  But sometimes we bring in PROCLAMATION too early.  What has preceded Paul’s proclaiming of this “unknown god”?  (1)  He has taken the time to become screen-shot-2017-01-19-at-6-06-00-amculturally-aware of their religious habits.  (2)  He has extended a compliment to them as he begins to speak about the true religion.  RESPECT and KINDNESS precede PROCLAMATION.

In our next post we will notice how Paul unpacks the truths about this “unknown god” who has made Himself known to those who will seek Him!  Paul inspires their curiosity in the next part of his speech.  Question:  How do we get people in our culture to become curious about the Christian God?

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2017 in Acts 17

 

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