Paul on Mars' Hill (Part 2) - How to Preach the Gospel to the HeathenSubmitted by Pastor Chad Wagner on Sunday, April 24, 2016.
A copy of the outline can be downloaded at the bottom of this page. To Listen on YouTube, click here: Paul on Mars' Hill (Part 2) I. Successfully presenting the gospel to the unchurched heathen (v. 22-31). 1. Paul’s manner. A. Paul was not afraid of, nor did he shy away from, rebuking these philosophers (v. 22-23). B. Rebuking and reproving are an integral part of the ministry (2Ti 4:2). C. He spoke boldly as one that had authority which is what a pastor ought to do (Eph 6:20). i. This is how Jesus taught (Mat 7:28-29). ii. Being with Jesus should rub off on us (Act 4:13). iii. We ought to pray for boldness to declare the word (Act 4:29-31). 2. Paul’s method. A. Paul first points out their error (v. 22). i. They are too superstitious. a. Superstitious - 1. Of the nature of, involving, or characterized by superstition. b. Superstition - 1. Unreasoning awe or fear of something unknown, mysterious, or imaginary, esp. in connexion with religion; religious belief or practice founded upon fear or ignorance. ii. Casting down imaginations is a main purpose of the gospel (2Co 10:3-5). iii. It was for this cause that God made Paul a minister (Act 26:16-18). B. Notice though how Paul took the time to observe their ways and beliefs BEFORE he corrected them (v.23 c/w Pro 18:13; Pro 19:2; Pro 25:8). C. Devotion - 1. The fact or quality of being devoted to religious observances and duties; religious devotedness or earnestness; reverence, devoutness. 2. Religious worship or observance; prayer and praise; divine worship. b. spec. (R.C. Ch.) Worship directed to a special object, e.g. the Sacred Heart, Precious Blood, etc. e. An object of religious worship. 1611 Bible Acts xvii. 21 As I passed by and beheld your deuotions D. Paul not only pointed out their error, but also acknowledged that they were sort of on the right track as they were ignorantly worshiping the true God (v.23). i. We need to remember to not only condemn the bad, but to also commend the good. ii. They had made an altar "TO THE UNKNOWN GOD." iii. These philosophers were agnostics when it can to the identity of the true God. iv. Agnostic - A. n. One who holds that the existence of anything beyond and behind material phenomena is unknown and (so far as can be judged) unknowable, and especially that a First Cause and an unseen world are subjects of which we know nothing. E. Notice that these men were actually worshiping the true God, but ignorantly. i. Ignorantly - 1. In an ignorant manner; without knowledge. ii. Ignorant - 1. a. Destitute of knowledge, either in general or with respect to a particular fact or subject; unknowing, uninformed, unlearned. F. Ignorance is dangerous (Hos 4:6; Isa 5:13), but knowledge will save you (Pro 11:9). G. Turning men from their ignorance is another main purpose of the gospel (Eph 4:17-24). H. God doesn’t want us to be ignorant! (Rom 11:25; 1Co 10:1; 1Co 12:1; 2Co 1:8; 1Th 4:13; 2Pe 3:8). 3. Paul then reasons with them from the creation, not the scriptures, since they didn’t know the scriptures (v.24). A. He was being “without law” to them that were without law (1Co 9:20-23). B. Paul declares that God made the world and says that we can all SEE that He is therefore God (Rom 1:20). C. Seeing vbl. n. - 1. a. The action (rarely an act) of the vb. see. D. See v. - 1. a. trans. To perceive (light, colour, external objects and their movements) with the eyes, or by the sense of which the eye is the specific organ. 4. Having proved that God made the universe, next Paul reasons that: A. God doesn’t dwell in temples made by men (v.24 c/w 1Ki 8:27 c/w Jer 23:24). B. God is not worshiped with things made by men (v.25). i. God doesn’t need anything that men can dream up to worship Him with since He by Himself giveth to all life and breath and all things. ii. God is indeed the provider of all things (Mat 6:25-33; Psa 104:10-28). 5. Having proved that God created life and all things, he then reasons that God wants to be worshiped by His creation (v.26-27) and has facilitated that by: A. Making out of one blood all nations of men (v. 26). i. This refutes the idea of racial superiority. ii. God doesn’t take kindly to racists (Num 12:1-10 c/w Jer 13:23). iii. This also refutes two-seedism. iv. The N.T. knows nothing of racialism (Col 3:11). B. Determining the times and bounds of their habitation (v.26). i. Determine v. - I. To put an end or limit to; to come to an end. 1. trans. To put an end to (in time); to bring to an end; to end, conclude, terminate. 3. trans. To set bounds to; to bound, limit. ii. Limit n. - 1. a. A boundary, frontier; an object serving to define a boundary, a landmark. Now only in narrower sense: A boundary or terminal point considered as confining or restricting; chiefly pl. bounds. iii. Bound - 1. A landmark indicating the limit of an estate or territory. iv. God did this so that men can seek Him (v.27). a. That - 3. a. Introducing a clause expressing purpose, end, aim, or desire: with simple subjunctive (arch.), or with may (pa. tense might), should, rarely shall. b. God wants the nations divided (Gen 11:1-9). c. United nations are formed with the intent to fight against God’s people, not to promote peace (Psa 83:1-8; Jos 9:1-2; Neh 4:7-9). d. 250 major wars have been fought killing 23 million people since 1945 when the UN was formed…so much for beating our swords into plowshares. 6. Having proved that God wants to be worshiped by His creation, Paul then describes the nature of God in how he relates to man (v.27) by showing that: A. Men can seek God and find him (Isa 55:6; Luk 11:9-13; Pro 2:1-6; Luk 18:28-30). B. God is not far from us. C. This can be determined through observation and reason as well as from scripture. D. If God created the universe (and He did) and man is the most complex and highest being in the natural creation, then God must be interested most in man if He is interested in anything that He created. 7. Paul then once again tells them that God is the creator and giver of life (v.28). A. There is nothing wrong with reiterating and repeating what you are teaching someone (Jud 5; 2Pe 1:12-13; 2Pe 3:1-2). B. To back up this fact, Paul quotes one of their own poets who said “For we are also his offspring.” i. Paul was being "all things to all men" (1Co 9:21-22). ii. Notice that Paul was familiar with their own culture and beliefs. iii. Truth can be found in strange places. iv. We should acknowledge truth wherever it is spoken and use it. C. Paul then uses the truth spoken by one of their own to point out a contradiction in their thinking (v.29). i. If we are God’s offspring then God cannot be, or even be like, gold, silver, or stone idols that man creates. ii. Idols are powerless and stupid (Psa 115:4-7). iii. So are people that make them and trust in them (Psa 115:8). iv. How could God make man if man made God?? 8. Up until this time, Paul was reasoning with them from creation, observation, and pieces of knowledge they already had, but then he starts preaching. A. He tells them that up until that point, God had closed His eyes to the ignorance and idolatry of the heathen, but now He commands them to repent (v.30). i. Wink - 1. a. intr. To close one's eyes. ii. Telling men to repent is another main purpose of the gospel (Mar 1:14-15; Luk 13:1-9). iii. The door of faith had already been opened to the Gentiles at that point (Act 11:17-18; Act 14:27). B. He finishes by warning them that Jesus Christ, whom God raised from the dead, will judge the world on the appointed day of judgment (v.31 c/w Joh 5:22; Rom 14:10). i. Appoint v. - II. To determine authoritatively, prescribe, decree, ordain. 7. trans. To determine authoritatively, prescribe, fix (a time, later a place) for any act. ii. Telling of the judgment to come is another main purpose of the gospel (2Co 5:10-11; Act 24:24-25). iii. Telling men that Jesus was raised from the dead is another main purpose of the gospel (1Co 15:4-8, 12-19). II. The revealing effect the gospel has upon the hearts of men (v. 32-34). 1. Upon hearing of the resurrection, the hearts of the people were made manifest (v.32-34). A. Some mocked (v. 32). i. The gospel is foolishness to the unsaved unregenerate natural man (1Co 1:18-23; 1Co 2:14). ii. This is the most common response to the gospel. B. Others wanted to hear more (v. 32). i. They that are of God hear God’s words (Joh 8:47). ii. To those who are saved, the gospel is the power of God (1Co 1:18; 1Co 2:12; 1Co 1:24). iii. A few have this response to the gospel. C. But certain men clave unto Paul and believed (v.34). i. These men were like the Thessalonians to whom the gospel came with power and in much assurance, and who became followers of Paul and of the Lord (1Th 1:4-6). ii. Very few have this response to the gospel. D. Some mocked, some were interested enough to want to hear more, but some were convicted in their hearts and clave unto Paul, which is what true believers ought to do to Paul (1Co 11:1) and of their own pastor (1Th 5:12-13). i. These are the kind of believers who bring forth much fruit (Mat 13:23). ii. These are the kind of believers we should all strive to be like. 2. The preaching of the gospel sorts men out. A. Paul didn’t need to figure out who were and were not elect among them. B. Paul didn’t need to try to exclude those whom he may have thought were not God’s children; the gospel did that for him. 3. No matter the outcome, the preaching of the gospel is a sweet savor to God either way (2Co 2:14-16).
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