God must stir us and them, too.
OCTOBER 31, 2022
God must stir us and them, too. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
Being adopted into the family of God is not about doing more or trying harder. It’s about being welcomed by God because of his radical grace, free from the penalties of sin and never alone in your suffering, that grace is what he life is all about.
Thank you Matthew. Hope you guys had a great week-end, and as I always say and always mean, I hope your pastor’s sermon was as good as my pastor’s sermon. If you’re just joining us, we are studying the book of Acts. And we’re up to the 17th chapter in Paul’s visit to Athens, and we’re going to be talking at least some this week and next week about Paul’s dealing with intellectuals. And you need to know that he was not altogether that successful, and you probably won’t be either. It’s our practice to pray before we study. Let’s do that. Father, we come into your presence, and we come always with a sense of surprise that we’re here. We certainly didn’t deserve it. We certainly didn’t earn it. We certainly weren’t religious enough. We certainly don’t know enough. And we’re not obedient enough. And yet, we’re here by invitation, and we praise you for that. Father, you know everybody who’s listening to this broadcast. You know the hard places and the soft places, the tears and the laughter, and you are the God of all of it. And we worship you and praise you, and praise you for your sufficiency in all of it. And now Father, we pray for the one who teaches on this broadcast. Forgive him his sins cause they are many. We would see Jesus and Him only. And we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. Hey, I just realized it’s Halloween. And about this time of year, we get all kinds of questions from all kinds of people about what we think about Halloween. Frankly, I don’t think much about it. I don’t have little kids anymore, and I don’t have to make the decision about whether to go to church or to my neighbors household, but some of you do. And whatever you decide, remember that Halloween is a celebration of Jesus’ victory over evil. The whole All Saints thing is about that. And the costumes and the fun things are making fun of evil because we won. Now, I’m not making a particularly strong statement about Halloween, but just try to remember that. Okay. If you have your Bible open to the 17th chapter of Acts. And I’m starting in the 16th verse.
Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him and he saw that the city was full of idols. So he argued in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who chanced to be there. Some also of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophies met him. And some said, “What would this babbler say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities”– because he preached Jesus and the resurrection. And they took hold of him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is which you present? For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.” Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time in nothing except telling or hearing of something new. So Paul, standing in the middle of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive in every way that you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To an unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all men life and breath and everything. And he made from one every nation of men to live on the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their habitation, and they should seek God, and the hope that they might feel after him and find him. Yet he is not far from each one of us, for ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’ Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold or silver or stone, a representation by the art and the imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all men everywhere to repent, because he is fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man he is appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all men by raising him from the dead.” Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.” so Paul went out from among them. But some men joined him and believed.
Now, if you were listening last week, we looked at these verses and we saw a preliminary observation, and that is, you ought a note when you’re reading these verses that Paul has not planned on spending time in Athens, but he was not into wasting time. So, when he was sitting there and looking around, he spent time at church, presenting the gospel at the synagogue. And he also went into the marketplace, figured listen, I’m here. I’ve got this time. I might as well point to Jesus. And then he ends up talking to the intellectuals of the city. But it’s interesting that Dr. Luke says in the 16th verse.
Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was. Provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols.
Now, if you’re using the King James Version, the word stirred is used. Some say exasperated. Phillips says, exasperated beyond endurance. The Greek means sharpened beyond measure. Something was going on in Paul’s heart that forced him to go and tell somebody about Jesus. I want you to know that’s happened to me. I think I’ve told you the time I said to a large church gathering that millions of people were going to hell and I didn’t give a rip. And they laughed. And then I said, that is not bragging. that’s confessing. So pray for me. And they did. God began to do something in my heart, not dissimilar to what God did in Paul’s heart. I literally can be in malls right now and think most of these people don’t know about Jesus. And if I focus on that, I become really sad. In other words, God has given me and the old words work a burden for souls. I used to care about God’s people. I felt that my only calling was a calling to be a teacher of the Bible to God’s people. But now God has added to that a lover of people who aren’t God’s people, and I didn’t do that. It’s not my proclivity to be that way. I am not generally one who every time a car crash is reported on television, I start crying. I don’t know their names, I don’t know their kids’ names. I don’t know anything. It’s just not my nature, but, God has made it my nature. And do you know why? Cause he stirred me up inside. God does that for his own because we are here for them. And I wanted to point that out to you before we started talking about intellectualism and how you witnessed to an intellectual. But there’s something else you’ve got to see before we get to that. And it’s this. Not only did God stir up Paul, God also stirred up the intellectuals in offense. Look at verses 19 through 20.
And they took hold of him and brought to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is which you present? For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know, therefore what these things mean.”
We’ll talk about that tomorrow, but for now, remember God stirs us up and them. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. That was Steve Brown continuing our journey through Acts today guiding us through chapter 17, specifically verse 16 through the end of the chapter, verse 34. Some really interesting arguments Paul makes here, and we will take at least the rest of this week to explore those. Hope you will join us. Well, earlier Steve talked about getting questions about Halloween, and we get a lot of questions here at Key Life, but there’s one we get far more often than any other. How can I know that I’m saved? Well, first of all, that’s a great question and second, Steve spoke about this in a sermon called How to Know That You Know Him. If you ever have doubts about your salvation or maybe you know someone who struggles with those questions, let us mail you the Sermon on CD, for free. Just call us right now at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that CD. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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