June 26

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“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.” … but some joined him and became believers” (Acts 17:32, 34 NLT).

From: June 26, 2019

THREE RESPONSES TO THE GOSPEL

The apostle Paul was called before the Areopagus, which was the high council of Athens, where they invited him to explain what he was teaching. For the Athenians were known for their interest in new philosophies, many of them spending much of their time discussing new ideas. They listened closely as Paul began his message with an observation about their idol to the unknown god. They continued listening without interruption until he got to the gospel portion of his sermon and spoke about Christ’s resurrection. At that point, the hearers of the gospel were divided into at least three camps: 1) Those who laughed in contempt, 2) Those who wanted to hear more, and 3) Those who became believers.
 
The gospel always has that effect. It brings people to a point of decision. For we have to decide what we’re going to do with the One who has defeated sin, death and the grave, namely, Jesus Christ.
 
PRAYER: Lord, help us to share Your gospel boldly as the Spirit inspired the apostle Paul to do. For we can discuss many new philosophies and people will gladly listen, but the gospel divides. It moves people to either reject or accept the claims of Christ. Yet, the gospel is the only message that offers salvation. So, help us to always share it with spiritual power and boldness. And help those who hear it to respond by believing. In Jesus’ name, amen.

“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” (Acts 17:23 NLT).

From: June 26, 2018

PAUL’S COMMON GROUND APPROACH
After debating with some Epicurean and Stoic philosophers in Athens, they invited the apostle Paul to appear before the city council to explain more fully his teaching. For the Athenians loved talking about different religions and philosophies. Noticing that Athens was filled with shrines and altars to a multitude of gods, Paul saw one with an inscription to an “Unknown God” and indicated that he wanted to tell them more about Him. He commended the Athenians for their religious interest and used the example of the shrine to tell them about the God they didn’t know. He even quoted the Greek poet, Aratus, who wrote a poem describing Jupiter (Acts 17:28), to win common ground with them.
 
Paul described his approach to sharing the gospel with the peoples of different cultures in his letter to the Corinthians: “Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings” (1 Cor. 9:22-23).

“…These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also” (Acts 17:6b ESV)

From: June 26, 2016

The Jews of Thessalonica that rejected Paul’s message formed a mob and dragged some of the believers before the city authorities. The accusation? Those “who have turned the world upside down” have now come to our city!” What they didn’t understand was that it wasn’t the men who were changing things, but the message. Furthermore, the world wasn’t being turned “upside down,” but right side up. For wherever the gospel is received, things are made right. O, that the gospel would turn this world upside down!

“And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth” (Acts 17:11 NLT)

From: June 26, 2014

Those in Berea who heard Paul’s message, listened and compared it to Scripture before believing. This should always be our response to any teaching. Does it align with God’s Word? If it does, it can be believed. If it does not, reject it. This response of the Bereans has been recorded for our benefit, so that with the Holy Spirit’s help, we can discern the truth (1 John 4:1-3).