Apostolic Perspectives on Outreach

Bible Text: Acts 17:16-34 | Preacher: Apostle Aje Pelser | Apostolic Perspectives on Outreach
By Apostle Aje Pelser

Act 17:15 So those who conducted Paul brought him to Athens; and receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him with all speed, they departed.

Paul in Athens
Act 17:16 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols.
Act 17:17 Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there.
Act 17:18 Then certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered him. And some said, “What does this babbler want to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods,” because he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection.
Act 17:19 And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new doctrine is of which you speak?
Act 17:20 For you are bringing some strange things to our ears. Therefore we want to know what these things mean.”
Act 17:21 For all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing.

Apostolic Perspectives on Outreach to win souls:
1. While Paul waited. Make the best of your time on earth to be a witness, in season and out of season being ready to give people an answer of hope.
1Pe 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;

2. His spirit was provoked
G3947 paroxunō
Thayer Definition:
1) to make sharp, sharpen
1a) to stimulate, spur on, urge
1b) to irritate, provoke, arouse to anger
1b1) to scorn, despise
1b2) provoke, make angry
1b3) to exasperate, to burn with anger

3. Notice the spiritual climate: The City was given over to idols
Rom 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
Rom 1:23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
Rom 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
Rom 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

4. Be prepared to argue your point: “Therefore he reasoned” G1256 dialegomai
Thayer Definition:
1) to think different things with one’s self, mingle thought with thought
1a) to ponder, revolve in mind
2) to converse, discourse with one, argue, discuss
A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: middle voice from G1223 and G3004
G1223 dia
A primary preposition denoting the channel of an act;
G3004 legō
A primary verb; properly to “lay” forth, that is, (figuratively) relate (in words [usually of systematic or set discourse;
Reasoning with people is your channel through which to
communicate your set system of beliefs.
This is where Apostolic Doctrine in outreach becomes essential. That is why every Believer should be engaged in a systematic and through foundational Bible Study with new covenant realities and apostolic perspective. When we say apostolic perspective, we do not mean personalize perspectives by men. Apostolic perspective according to the New Testament is always pointing to Jesus Christ as the Head of the Church, the Lord and Saviour and who died on the cross and rose again enforcing the promises of the Old Testament and enforcing the Inheritance of the New Testament.
Apostolic Perspective sees Christ n every scripture enthused by the Holy Spirit who empowers to become as witness of the living Christ in every generation.

5. He preached to them Jesus and the resurrection.

6. Spark People’s Curiosity of some new thing.
The rival Epicurean and Stoic Philosophers – to hear some new thing
Epicurean – “The Epicureans taught that the world came by choice. The gods did not trouible themselves about men. So they need not trouble about gods. Happiness was the chief object in life; therefore, they sought about happiness. In short its cred in today’s vernacular was, “Live it up. Drink and be merry, for tomorrow we may die.”

Stoic –“essentially pantheistic, marked by a high sense of duty, but at the time also by spiritual pride.” Lindsay – Acts in Action Volume 1, page 99.
Stoicism was the best that paganism had to offer. It told men to listen to the voice of conscience, to seek virtue. Perhaps there was a supreme being somewhere. But if so, He was unknown and unknowable. Therefore they had to take life as it came.” Ibid. Page 100

Act 17:19 And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus,
Areopagus – a hill to the to the west of the Athenian acropolis where met the highest governmental council of ancient Athens and later a judicial court
Athens, Athinai, capital of Greece, Greek capital – the capital and largest city of Greece; named after Athena (its patron goddess); “in the 5th century BC ancient Athens was the world’s most powerful and civilized city”
Areopagus – the highest governmental assembly in ancient Athens (later a judicial court)
assembly – a group of persons who are gathered together for a common purpose
Areopagite – a member of the council of the Areopagus

Mars Hill, or the Areopagus, was where 400 years before, the council met and charged Socrates with slandering the gods and for that he was given the hemlock poison. Paul was under a similar charge, but he would not have to drink the poison. The Athenians no longer took the religio of their gods and goddesses seriously. They were mildly interested in what Paul had to say. As for Paul, he was hopeful that he might somehow reach these great men.
Ap[ostle Paul saw an opportunity to bring his argument before the highest philosophical court in his world.

“Athens: Paul’s spirit was provoked when he saw that the city was given over to idols. Philosophers who heard him reasoning in the Jewish synagogue and the marketplace, took him to the court of the Areopagus which met to consider new religions. His mention of the resurrection divides his audience: some laugh and some believe. Some men joined him and believed.” Dr Roy M. Gray, Book of Acts, available from MBTC.

Paul Addresses the Areopagus
May we know what this new doctrine is of which you speak?
7. Scanning his surroundings of gods and idols, he found the inscription to the “unknown god”.

Act 17:22 Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious;
Act 17:23 for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you:
Act 17:24 God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands.
Act 17:25 Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things.
Act 17:26 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their reappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings,
Act 17:27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;
Act 17:28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’
Act 17:29 Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising.
Act 17:30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,
Act 17:31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”
Act 17:32 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, “We will hear you again on this matter.”
Act 17:33 So Paul departed from among them.
Act 17:34 However, some men joined him and believed, among them Dionysius the Areopagite, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

Gordon Linsday writes: “The Greek gods had failed them and they welcomed the message of a living Saviour.”
Apostle Paul understood the times he was living in and the political religious shifts of power that came with the Roman Empire.
THE Holy Spirit makes us bold to witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ in any environment in any age.
At that time the Aeropagus was a place of debate and Paul took a gap to make his point.

He started to speak about the ‘Unknown god” the one god that they did not fully understand.
Act 17:22 Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious;

8. He leverages their desire for the divine and nostalgia of the gods to point them to the true God, the maker of heaven and earth.
9. Apostle Paul had found the vacuum in their faith and filled it. But they still had to concede and only the Dionysius, the Areopagite – a member of the council of the court, heard and turned to God with Damaris, a woman and others with them.
10. Don’t worry if you only get one of your friends saved. Heaven rejoices when one sinner comes to repentance, when a new soul is born again!
How heaven and earth rejoiced when Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem. Every time a seed of faith that is preached is received in a heart and it births a believer, it is the same joy released as at the beginning of creation when the morning stars sang together and the sons of God shouted for joy!
Be encouraged to faithfully present your argument and standpoint of faith, using whatever vacuum exists in your personal aeropaus court of public opinion. Allow the Holy Spirit to provoke you to speak, and get disgusted with the idolatry and false gods a lies that keep people bound and debased. Some will laugh and some will hear you, but today in Greece, there is a commemorative plaque set in stone that millions of people read every year – Apostle Paul preached about the Unknown God here on this stone, on Mars Hill, the Areopagus!

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