Focal Passage: Acts 17:16-31
A song from several years back reminded us that “everything old is new again.” This claim is often true not only in the fashion world, but also in evangelism and missions. For example, Acts 17 shows us that highly educated skeptic philosophers are not a new breed.
Even though we don’t wear Paul’s tunic, we can learn timeless lessons from this chapter on how to witness to the “up and out.”
He saw the idolatry of the people, went to their marketplace, and took the gospel with him.
The 21st century has more sophisticated idols and marketplaces, but we are still called to share the unchanging gospel to remedy an unchanging lostness apart from Christ.
Paul’s Mar’s Hill sermon provides a great example of his desire to be “all things to all men” (1 Cor 9:22).
At the Areopagus he began with the common ground of religious belief and the altar to an unknown God, providing a wonderful segue to the true and living God and salvation through Jesus.
When Paul talked with unbelieving Jews, he argued from the Old Testament. When I recently witnessed to an atheist in Spain, I approached the gospel by addressing the man’s rejection of his catholic upbringing and shared some basic proofs for the existence of God. Wherever God sends you, do your best to know your audience.
Whomever God places in your path, make sure you get to the gospel. Even good apologetic arguments for the existence of God fall short of their goal if we don’t use them as stepping stones to Jesus Christ and Him crucified. As we get to the gospel we will, by necessity, contradict many false beliefs.
For example, Paul quickly dismissed the idea that God needed anything from men and established Him as the creator of all mankind.
Although we hope for widespread acceptance of the gospel, sometimes people become more offended as we dig to the heart of the gospel.
Although most of the philosophers on Mar’s Hill sneered at the resurrection, “some men joined him and believed” (Acts 17:34). They are the ones we’re looking for!