Friday, February 10, 2012

Lessons from Mars Hill evangelism

Lessons from Mars Hill evangelism

S - Acts 17:22-31 (NASB)

Sermon on Mars Hill
 22 So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. 23 For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; 26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him,though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ 29 Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. 30 Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, 31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”

O -  The sermon on Mars Hill was a brilliant evangelical stance that Paul took in a Greek region where they prided themselves for thoughtful debate, as well as honoring the gods.  These were not people of Jewish decent but they were people who sought out great truth's and believed in honoring the gods, or something more powerful than themselves.  Paul used these characteristics to preach the Gospel to them in a way they could understand.  I understand know that Paul saw the potential in this place and reasoned with their sense of truth seeking and god worshipping nature to introduce them to the one true God, and the way, and the Truth,  Jesus.  

A -  The application for me is to understand effect evangelism is  to realize people have an innate desire to know God, and to know Truth.  Our job as Christian is to appeal to these desires and present the Gospel in such a way that they can relate to it. For example,  I find in California their is an innate desire of the people to take care of everyone, the environment, to an extreme extent.  They hate behavior that reeks of unfairness and genuinely seek a better place for their families to live.  However, they have rejected the religious culture because I believe they find it narrow, exclusive, and unfair (i.e. ignores the human rights of some).  In the Mars Hill example Paul lays out for us, we can apply that same connection.   God loves, all the things that the people of California loves:  He loves the environment, for he created all the earth, and it grieves him when we destroy his creation;  he loves the persecuted and  downtrodden, for they are his people and he loves each and everyone of us;  He despises wickedness and evil;  and  he seeks to save all.    The Mars Hill model of evangelism resonates well in that the evangelist simply needs to connect with societies inner desire to seek righteousness.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that you would help me to grow in heart and skill for evangelism.  I pray this in Jesus name, Amen.

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