Sermon on February 5 by Pastor Roland Eskinazi
Scripture: Acts 17:16-34
What provoked you in this week? If we want to impact the city we need a dose of God-glorifying, gospel emotion.
To make much of Jesus in the city:
1. BE MOVED – BY SIN IN THE CITY! (v16 – 21)
Athens then was unlike some cities today, open to many ideas of religion and politics. If God puts you in the city,
- Seize every moment for Jesus
We live in days of rapid change, where some 80% of the world population will soon be urbanized. God is behind this.
‘Through worldwide migration to the city, God may be setting the stage for Christian mission’s greatest and perhaps final hour.’ (Roger Greenway)
- See people as they are, yet also what they can be
Times have not changed. The Epicureans live on in those who worship pleasure and materialism
‘…cause the boy with the cold hard cash is always Mr Right… I’m a material girl, living in material world.’ (‘Material Girl’, Madonna)
The Stoics live on in the ‘new spirituality’,
‘God is everywhere, in mother earth and in all – even in us!’
The gospel is not ‘fuzzy’. The answer to the selfishness of the culture and self-righteousness of religion, is Jesus.
2. BE MINISTERS – FOR JESUS AND THE CITY! (v22-34)
- Be Christ-exalting, not self-protective
Are we more worried that others think us to be wise? Humility and service comes from being more consumed with Jesus than reputation.
- Be gracious, not self-righteous
Every person matters. You cannot reach everyone in the city but you can show grace to the one individual on your path.
- Be engaged, not self-absorbed
God has planted seeds of the truth in every person He has created.
Are you studying the culture, not be cool but to build bridges to present Jesus?
We should be provoked by all injustice, discrimination and malice wherever we see it.
Above all we should be provoked to action where Jesus is not yet Lord.
Pray against idolatry, and lift Jesus even higher.
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QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION
- ‘Cities are all bad!’ Is this a biblical statement? In what ways is a city like Brussels similar to Athens in Paul’s day? How should we view the influx of people into the city?
- Paul’s visit was unplanned. What provoked him in Athens? What are some of the idols in our city? Why is Jesus the only solution to all idolatry?
- We cannot save an entire city but we can reach individuals in the city. Reflect on a personal strategy to share Jesus with your class-mate, neighbour or co-worker?
- Now think of some ways in which we as a church can be even more involved and engaged with our city and pray about this.
Photo credit FreeImages.com/Chris Agiasotis