The city of Athens was engrossed in idolatry when Paul visited. Paul was consumed with compassion for the people of Athens, so he did not condemn or ridicule them, but engaged the culture with the truth of Christ. Alistair Begg encourages us to view our communities with the compassion of Paul while clinging steadfastly to the truth of the Gospel.
16Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. 17So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. 18Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, “What does this babbler wish to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. 19And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.” 21Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.
22So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. 23For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.
16Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!”
Contemporary churchgoers may find themselves considering the early days of the Christian church with fond nostalgia. However, in reading through Luke’s account in Acts, we find that the early Church was not a group of elite Christians. Instead, they wrestled with the very same challenges that face the twenty-first century Church today.
In this series, Alistair Begg traces a line from the first century Church to the twenty-first century Church by examining issues such as our alienation from God, our tendency to present a cheapened Gospel, the juxtaposition of divine predestination and human free will, our culture’s obsession with idolatry, and God's ultimate power to save. We learn that the early Christians devoted themselves to the teaching of God’s Word and the spreading of the Gospel by depending on the Holy Spirit, and we are encouraged to hold firmly to the truth of Christ’s saving work as we engage our communities.
|Two Sad Faces||Luke 24:1-53|
|Kingdom Thinking||Acts 2:1-21|
|The First Christian Sermon, Part One||Acts 2:14-23|
|The First Christian Sermon, Part Two||Acts 2:24-41|
|Evangelism Explosion, Part One||Acts 8:1-25|
|Evangelism Explosion, Part Two||Acts 8:1-25|
|Personal Evangelism||Acts 8:26-40|
|One Changed Life||Acts 9:1-18|
|City of Idols, Part One||Acts 17:16-23 Isaiah 44:16|
|City of Idols, Part Two||Acts 17:22-34|