The Gospel Goes to Greece

by Rev. Sean Finnegan on August 3, 2014
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Acts 17:1-3: Preaching in Thessalonian synagogue

After the Philippians beat Paul and Silas, they released them from jail and begged them to leave their city. Next, the group traveled to Thessalonica and for three weeks reasoned with the Jews there that Jesus was the Messiah.

We need to look for places to speak to people. If you aren’t around non-Christians, you will never have an opportunity to share your faith. Look for people with whom you have common interests.

Acts 17:4-9
: Response in Thessalonica

Some people believed; these formed the nucleus of the Thessalonian church to which Paul later wrote two letters.

The Thessalonians accused them of turning the world upside down. How come people don’t say that about us?

Acts 17:10-14
: Preaching to noble-minded Bereans

What a wonderful description! A Berean is someone who neither rejects nor accepts a new teaching but checks it against the Bible to see if it is true.

At this point in the trip, Paul has preached in Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea. In each case, the people have persecuted him and made him leave. Why didn’t he get discouraged?

Acts 17:15-17
: Preaching in the Athenian synagogues and marketplace

“His spirit was provoked”: Now we see a major part of Paul’s motivation—compassion.

Acts 17:18-21
: Stoics and Epicureans invite Paul to speak.

Pay close attention to how Paul preaches to these Greeks. They do not share the same background as him. They do not believe in the Jewish Scriptures, nor do they believe in Yahweh.

Acts 17:22-29
: Paul preaching about God and idolatry

He begins by finding a hook in their culture and then lays the groundwork of who God is.

Sometimes we need to build a bridge before we can even begin sharing the good news with people.

Acts 17:30-31
: A call to repentance

Repentance is the goal of sharing the faith with someone. Calling people to repentance and forgiveness was what Jesus commissioned his followers to do before he ascended (Luke 24:46-47) and what they consistently did throughout the book of Acts (Acts 2:36-38; 3:17-19; 20:20-21; 26:17-18).

Acts 17:32-34
: Balking and believing

Although the majority sneered, some believed! Those are the ones you are looking for. Don’t worry about the majority; look for the few with open hearts to receive.

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