Pastor Adam taught from Acts 17 and 18 as Paul (and others) left Antioch yet again to be The Church and spread the news of Christ. He mentioned how history and archeology can actually strengthen your faith journey, and brought in numerous historical facts about the areas this missionary journey included, such as Corinth and Athens (where the Olympics originated).
Christianity is a historical faith based on actual events that are recorded in the Bible. As such, archaeology has played a key role in biblical studies and in Christian apologetics. Some examples are: 1) it has confirmed the historical accuracy of the Bible, verifying many sites, civilizations, etc.; 2) It has helped us improve our understanding of the Bible and its narratives, nuances, etc.; 3) It has helped illustrate and explain Biblical passages. The early missionaries often risked their lives to spread the good news of Christ and to be The Church. The Church was a movement, not a building you went to or something you did one a week – when it was convenient. How do you view being “The Church?” Is the Christian life something you put in a box to be opened only on Sunday mornings, or are you looking for opportunities to be The Church as you are out and about each day and living your day to day life with your spouse and kids?
Invitation: As we travel in Acts with Paul and others, take note of how each city has their own unique culture and receives the teachings very differently. Where do your ideas and beliefs come from? Is it from the culture? Would you say you have a Biblical world view? If not, what might shift in your spiritual practices in order to learn more about what a Biblical world view is and how that might play out in your life? Are you even interested in having a Biblical worldview? If so, how might you begin to be in scripture more in your daily life?
MONDAY: Acts 17:1-15. These verses describe the reception Paul and Silas received in Thessalonica and Berea. Note the difference in response. Verse 11 indicates the Bereans “examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Did you know Scripture has a lot to say about “false teachers” and that you, too, should know how to compare teaching with the Word of God? 2 Timothy 4:3 warns “there will come a time when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” Are you willing to hear and apply sound doctrine from Scripture, even if its not what you want to hear? Are you careful who you listen to and believe regarding the teaching of God’s word?
TUESDAY: Acts:17:16: Paul, Silas and Timothy all meet up in Athens after Thessalonica and Berea. Verse 16 describes Paul being “greatly distressed” to see that this city was full of idols. Pastor Adam noted a quote he uses with his kids: “The way you react is just as important as what happens to you.” Paul could have been offended. Or angry. Or perhaps repulsed, disgusted or dejected. Any of those emotions may have affected his love and attitude as he sought to minister in Athens and represent Christ. How might you pray for the way you react to things in your life this week?
WEDNESDAY: Acts 17:17-34: When Paul spoke to the people of Athens, he addressed them in the context of their culture. He began with a common area of interest and spoke with respect. He used vocabulary they understood and yet delivered the gospel in its entirety and without watering it down. Are you willing to pray if there is anyone within your circle of influence who needs to hear the gospel and the reason for your hope? How might God want you to speak into the culture you are in – at home, at work, as you travel? Pray for wisdom and creativity regarding how you might be able to share Christ with those around you.
THURSDAY: Acts 18:1-11: Paul then travelled to Corinth where he met Aquila and Priscilla. They all became tentmakers in order to remain in the area and preach and teach the Gospel. Corinth is a city that might be compared to Las Vegas: what happened in Corinth stayed in Corinth. Even so, God gives Paul a vision, telling him to keep speaking and that “I have many people in this city.” The book of Romans says that where sin abounds “grace abounds all the more.” Do you ever underestimate God in certain situations? Perhaps the next time you are in a situation that seems “hopeless” in terms of the presence of God, you can pray for God’s grace to abound and that you can be part of that grace?
FRIDAY: Acts 18:12-28: These verses describe further resistance this missionary team encountered as they traveled to Syria, Antioch and other places. As witnessed in these chapters of Acts, some reactions you might get as you share what God has done in your life: 1) sneers; 2) a watch and wait attitude; 3) immediate interest and belief. Are you willing to take the chance of sneers knowing that some people may be willing to watch and wait or possibly believe in the good news of Christ? Sometimes, like we see in Acts 18, you may have to admit defeat and move on as God leads. How are you at admitting defeat might even be within God’s will for your life?