October 28, 2018
Mission in Thessalonica and Berea:
Paul’s motivation: Passion for Scripture
Mission in Athens:
Paul’s motivation: Provoked by Idolatry (17:16-34)
MAIN IDEA: Paul’s missionary work gives us an example of preaching the gospel faithfully in different contexts, trusting the Lord with the results.
What one thing spoke to your heart the most from the Word of God in these Scriptures?
Why is it important to know our ‘audience’ well when we are sharing the Gospel with them? Give an example of how we might present the Gospel differently to a different audience without changing the heart of the message.
Read Acts 17:1-9. What were the positive results of Paul’s preaching in Thessalonica? Read 1 Thessalonians 1:13-16 – How does Paul describe the people’s response to hearing the Word of God? How is this encouraging? Why do you think that some of the Jews in Thessalonica were ‘jealous?’
Read Acts 17:10-15 – How did the Bereans study the Scriptures? What challenges you the most about this? How would things change if more churches adopted this approach to the teaching of the Scriptures?
Read Acts 17:16-21 – What kind of idolatry was Paul dealing with when coming into Athens? How did the culture here differ from other places Paul had previously visited? Why was Paul ‘provoked?’ Why is this important?
Read Acts 17:22-34 – What about Paul’s speech resonates most with you? Why might Paul have started with Creation and ended with Resurrection and judgment? Do you view Paul as being ‘successful’ in Athens? Why/why not?
What are some of the predominant idols worshipped in our city? In our nation?
Why is it important to note that Paul doesn’t feel the burden to ‘prove’ the existence of God? How can we sometimes get distracted in trying to accomplish this task? How does Paul model a knowledge of culture and leverage it for sharing the Gospel?
Read the following quote by John Stott and discuss: “Any person or thing that occupies the place which God should occupy is an idol. Covetousness is idolatry. Ideologies can be idolatries. So can fame, wealth and power, sex, food, alcohol and other drugs, parents, spouse, children and friends, work, recreation, television and possessions, even church, religion and Christian service. Idols always seem particularly dominant in cities. Jesus wept over the impenitent city of Jerusalem. Paul was deeply pained by the idolatrous city of Athens. Have we ever been provoked by the idolatrous cities of the contemporary world?“