Acts 17

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“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).

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)

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)

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).