Google+ 04/18/13 Know When To Fold Them!

Acts 17:31-33

 

For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed,

And he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead.”

When they heard Paul speak about the resurrection of the dead, some laughed in contempt,

But others said, “We want to hear more about this later.” That ended Paul’s discussion with them.

 

Today we find the apostle Paul in Athens.  A number of philosophers have overheard Paul's preaching about the gospel of Jesus Christ.  In verse 18, they refer to Paul as the "babbler!"  Nevertheless, these "wise" men seem to want to hear more about this new doctrine, because they view his message as "strange to their ears."  Paul is led up Mars Hill and he begins to address the crowd.  Preaching to the Athenians presented a formable challenge for Paul.  In preaching to the Jews, Paul had common ground with all of them in the Old Testament.  There was always a place to start and the law to refer to, as he preached.  There was no such common ground with the Athenians.  As a result, Paul had to establish a new general revelation which all Athenians could embrace.  He chose to preach God as the creator of all, and hence, sovereign in His reign.  Paul let the Athenians know that God was actively involved in their daily lives, and for that reason, they should repent directly to God, through Jesus, for any sin they have committed.  Paul closes his time with them with the Scripture verses listed above.  Paul warns of the coming judgment day that God has set and encourages the people to take note of the resurrection of Jesus.  The Bible tells us that when Paul preached the gospel, some laughed in contempt.  We also see that some wanted more information, later.  So Paul departs from them.  Really, Paul just left?  As you are preaching the gospel, be prepared to have people laugh in contempt.  Paul was probably the greatest apostle ever saved and appointed by Jesus.  Paul was extremely educated, and by all indications, was a powerful preacher.  What happened when he preached?  Lots of people laughed.  Many did not believe.  Don't lose sight of the fact that others were saved and many wanted more information!  Paul eventually does great work in Athens and many are saved.  This work leads to the great work he does in the Roman Empire, but he still had to listen to the laughter.  Paul had to make repeated trips and write many letters to the same people, over and over again, reminding them of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  We as Christians need to remember that we don't "save" anyone.  God does that, and it is all in His timing.  We need to remember that we are the vessel God uses.  Without our preaching and testifying, people will never hear about the resurrection of Jesus.  Don't make the wrong assumption that everyone knows about God and Jesus.  They don't!  Timing is key.  If Paul had "outstayed" his welcome, he might not have been able to preach in Athens ever again.  Paul must have heard the Kenny Rogers' song "The Gambler," because he knew exactly what to do.  We should adopt it too.  Listen carefully to the people who want to know more later.  Pay no attention to the laughter.  The same people laughed at Jesus, also!!!  As you spread God's word, always "Know When to Hold Them and Know When to Fold Them!"    

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