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 [33]
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?
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Acts 17:16-34 Lessons in Evangelism at Mars Hills