Philosophers & Social Media Distracters

  1. Message: Acts 17 shows a few different ways people hear and receive truth because everyone processes differently. The people in Thessalonica responded well at first, and several were persuaded, but the Jews became jealous, found some “scoundrels” to form a mob, twisted the message by saying that Paul & Silas were coming against Caesar’s decrees because they were promoting Jesus as king and then started riots in the city. I think it’s interesting that they got some scoundrels to do the dirty work because likely they were trying to keep themselves pure from breaking the law by sending someone else. The Bereans welcomed the message with eagerness and they searched the scriptures daily to verify that it was true, and then in Athens the philosophers debated with them but had an open mind to listen because they regularly enjoyed hearing and telling new things. Reading this I saw all types of people we encounter daily, and it also reminded me of the parable Jesus told of the seed sown in various places. Some people respond to the gospel quickly, but they don’t pursue it any further and they eventually fall away or live in a lukewarm state. Some receive well immediately and seem to catch fire as they continue to study. Some debate their way through because they are very careful in making educated decisions. This changes how we talk to different people and we really have to understand who we are talking to in order to understand and work with them. I’m always fascinated by Paul’s approach because he found some sort of common ground and built from there. With the philosophers he acknowledged their religious ways and he actually used the “Unknown God” they had as a common ground starting point by telling them “I see your unknown God there and I can tell you who he is!”
  2. Command: Share the gospel with all people, but find an approach that works for who you are talking to.
  3. Promise: God will show me how to relate to people and those who are ready will hear.
  4. Warning: There will always be disrupters. Don’t get side tracked by them. This actually made me think of all the people on social media that just want to argue about everything. They aren’t interested in learning anything and they can suck your time and energy if you let them.
  5. Application: Reading this really brought people to my mind that I talk to on a daily basis. I see these different types of personalities and I know that I can’t relate to them all the same way. This really encouraged me in my approach and challenges me to pray for each one and ask God to show me how to share with them in a way that they will respond. It also reminds me that just like the Jews who got jealous and stirred up trouble everywhere the gospel was preached, there will always be those who try to stop the message. Paul was not distracted by them and he did not engage them and we shouldn’t either.

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