APPROACHING OUR WORSHIP Please quiet your hearts (and voices) now as we prepare to worship the LORD in spirit and truth this morning. Today's Sermon Text: Acts 17:16-34 Scripture Reading Acts 17:16-34 CrossWay Story Janet Koga Lessons in Evangelism at Mars Hill Acts: The Unfinished Story of the Church Series  Acts 17:16-34 October 28, 2012 Pastor Paul K. Kim Oh, my friends, we are loaded down with countless church activities, while the real work of the church, that of evangelizing the world and winning the lost, is almost entirely neglected. Oswald J. Smith TWO CONTRASTING APPROACHES IN EVANGELISM: “HUNTING” VS. “FISHING”* • In “hunting”, we approach people indiscriminately (looking for an unsuspecting target) but in “fishing”, we can fish out seekers from among indifferent or antagonistic people. • Hunting evangelism requires us to drive a one-size-fits-all message in a confrontational way while fishing evangelism allows seekers to pace conversations as they are ready. • In “hunting”, we skip the process of customizing our approach but in “fishing” it is essential to adapt our approach sensitively to each person. * Source: adapted from “Fishing Evangelism” by Ruth E. Siemens WHAT LESSONS IN EVANGELISM CAN WE LEARN FROM PAUL AT MARS HILL? 1) CULTIVATE A PASSION FOR GOD as a deep motivation (v.16). 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. (v.16) Upon seeing so countless idols in the Athens, Paul’s spirit was provoked [Gk. “upset, roused to anger”]. Why? It was Paul’s love and passion for God and God’s glory that caused this indignation at the sight of all kinds of idols. This passion for God’s honor was Paul’s deep motivation for evangelism that compelled to action. So the first principle of evangelism is that our motivation must be God-centered—that it must NOT be about our success or failure but about our desire to see God’s honor in all peoples. WHAT LESSONS IN EVANGELISM CAN WE LEARN FROM PAUL AT MARS HILL? 2) GO WHERE PEOPLE ARE as a first step of obedience (vs.17-21). 17 So 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. 18 Some 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. WHAT LESSONS IN EVANGELISM CAN WE LEARN FROM PAUL AT MARS HILL? 2) GO WHERE PEOPLE ARE as a first step of obedience (vs.17-21). 19 And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.” 21 Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new. (vs.17-21) As Paul acted on his deep motivation for evangelism, he went to where people were. Three groups of people Paul approached were (1) the Jews and “God-fearers” in synagogue, (2) the ordinary people in the market place, and (3) the philosophers in Mars Hill. The second principle of evangelism is this: our first step of obedience is to go where people are—literally as well as figuratively (i.e., going to their “turfs” and to “interests”.) WHAT LESSONS IN EVANGELISM CAN WE LEARN FROM PAUL AT MARS HILL? 3) CONTEXTUALIZE THE GOSPEL to the hearers (vs.22-31). 22 So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. 23 For 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. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, WHAT LESSONS IN EVANGELISM CAN WE LEARN FROM PAUL AT MARS HILL? 3) CONTEXTUALIZE THE GOSPEL to the hearers (vs.22-31). 28 for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’’ 29 Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. 30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” (vs.22-31) Paul began his sharing NOT with his wrathful disproof of idols but with affirmation of their spiritual interests. Why? It was to meet both requirements of CONTEXTUALIZATION: to transmit the gospel (1) accurately and (2) relevantly. So, the third principle is to customize the uncompromised gospel message in a culturally relevant way in evangelism. To over-contextualize to a new generation means you can make an idol out of their culture, but to under-contextualize to a new generation means you can make an idol out of the culture you come from. So there’s no avoiding it. Tim Keller WHAT LESSONS IN EVANGELISM CAN WE LEARN FROM PAUL AT MARS HILL? 4) LEAVE THE RESULT TO GOD in humble confidence (vs.32-34). 32 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.” 33 So Paul went out from their midst. 34 But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them. (vs.32-34) Notice that there were differing responses to Paul’s powerful evangelism—i.e., rejection, procrastination, and faith. Paul was free from negative results. Why? Because evangelism was not about him but the work of the Spirit! We need to get over our self-absorption in evangelism either in positive or negative responses. The fourth principle of evangelism is: Be faithful in obeying Christ’s command to be his witness but leave the result to God. THREE PRACTICAL QUESTIONS FOR OUR EVERYDAY LIFE 1. How can I get more passionate about God’s glory and the urgency of sharing the gospel? 1. What first step can I take to go where people are—not as a “hunter” but as a “fisher” of men for Christ? 1. What would it mean for me to contextualize the gospel for my unbelieving friends and co-workers as Apostle Paul did for the Athenians?