Scripture: Acts 17:16-34
Summary: Go public with your faith.
Touch lives where you are.
Believe you have the answer the lost world needs to hear.
If God leads us, and leads us to where He wants us to be, so that we can share what we know about Him and Christ, and thus allowing His Spirit to work in the hearts of the hearers, then it goes to show that all of us can make an impact in someone’s life.
• We may not have planned for it, you may not have expected it, but if we believe that Christ dwells in us and moves us to places He wants us to be, just so that we can present Him, then we are people that can make an impact in our world.
• If we care to believe it, we shall see it happening.
We play very significant roles in God’s scheme of things – as a spouse, as a parent, as a colleague, as a small group member – if we see our lives the way God sees them.
Paul and his team made an impact in their generation and for their world then.
• They are proud about their faith in Jesus, they touch lives where they are, and they know they have the answer the world needs.
• Do we share the same mindset today?
Are we proud being Christians?
Do we believe we can bless someone where we are?
Are we motivated by the fact that we have the answer your friends need?
We want to look at Acts 17 and appreciate the impact Paul made.
• Paul, Silas and Timothy were on a missionary journey and the Lord led them to Macedonia.
Luke, the physician joined them at Troas, and they started a ministry in Philippi.
• They were there because God led them.
God has a plan and a purpose.
• From Philippi, Paul and his team went farther West and came to THESSALONICA.
There was a Jewish synagogue there and “as his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead.
"This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ," he said.
• The synagogue provided him a platform to share the Gospel.
He was relentless, doing it for 3 Sabbaths.
17:5 “But the Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city.
They rushed to Jason's house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd.”
• They did not find them.
17:10 “As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea...”
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On arriving at BEREA, they went to the Jewish synagogue.
• 17:11-12 “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
12 Many of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.”
• 17:13-15 “When the Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God at Berea, they went there too, agitating the crowds and stirring them up.
14The brothers immediately sent Paul to the coast, but Silas and Timothy stayed at Berea.
15The men who escorted Paul brought him to Athens and then left with instructions for Silas and Timothy to join him as soon as possible.”
Paul carries the TRUTH of the Gospel with him wherever he goes - from Thessalonica, to Berea, and now to Athens.
• He was explaining, proving, examining the Scriptures and preaching the good news.
It was a non-stop effort in explaining the Word of God.
• He was doing that “every day” (v.11) and at the marketplace “day by day” (v.17)
Paul was going places WITH his faith.
Faith for Paul is a PUBLIC thing, so it must be for us.
Our faith cannot remain private.
(1) GO PUBLIC WITH YOUR FAITH
Our faith in Christ can and must be SEEN.
A private faith achieves nothing.
• We hear people say, religion is a personal and private thing.
That is religion.
• Our relationship with Christ is real and must be shown to be real.
• If God is real and Jesus saves us, then keeping it quiet will not be a polite thing to do (don’t offend others).
It is actually quite heartless and cruel.
Our faith is NOT a matter of preference and choice; it is a matter of truth.
• Paul was adamant at preaching it because he was confronted and transformed by the truth.
He was against Christianity initially, to the point of trying to eradicate it completely, by destroying the church and killing all “followers of the Way”.
• Christ was all a fake to him, until he saw the ‘real thing’ – living Christ!
• Truth caught up with him.
He was left with no choice.
It wasn’t a preference.
That’s why Paul now could not hide the truth!
Everywhere he goes you see him saying it.
He could not keep it to himself.
• Let others see Christ in us.
It’s not about going around and telling people you are Christian.
The other day I received a phone call – “Are you Mr Cheong?” Yes.
And the next question is, “Are you a Christian?”
How do you like that?
Someone called and asked you, “Are you a Christian?”
I said YES (actually my name is Christian too).
WHY? “Oh, I’m selling some Buddhist stuff.”
• Let your faith shows?
Do the people around you know you are a Christian?
Has it been revealed, through your conduct and behaviour?
Or are you shy about it?
(2) TOUCH LIVES WHERE YOU ARE
Paul ministered to the people everywhere he goes.
He brought his faith with him.
• Ministry takes place WHERE you are.
You don’t have to wait for a Sunday, or get to a church.
• Wherever we are, we bring our faith with us.
God’s truth, His grace and love flow through us, where we are.
If we believe God is with us and can speak and work through us, then wherever we are, that’s the place of ministry.
God touches lives through us.
• Even if you feel that you are all ALONE, like Paul when he was in Athens, waiting for Silas and Timothy to come, you can still make an impact.
• Paul wasn’t passive.
He couldn’t stay still.
He went around and looked.
He engaged the people at the marketplace, “day by day” (v.17)!
Paul did not limit his preaching only on Sabbaths.
• We are not to be Sunday Christians.
Every day is a day of ministry.
Every day we have God-given opportunities to bless someone with His Word.
To make an impact, we want to GO PUBLIC WITH OUR FAITH, believe God works through us to TOUCH LIVES WHERE WE ARE, and finally, believe that…
(3) YOU HAVE THE ANSWER
Believe that you have the answer the people need.
• You can say, let get them to church.
Or get the pastor to explain to them.
These are all fine, but you need to have the confidence to believe that YOU can provide the ANSWER they need.
• Paul went on a tour around Athens himself.