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Pauls Sermon in Athens

When I testify or share the Gospel, I always pray that God utilizes me to reach those who have a need to hear or see His message. That the Holy Spirit guides my speech.

It is not about me, I am just a conduit for God to use to fulfill his purposes. If someone is not seeking God, then nothing I say will make a difference. That is a tremendous weight off one's shoulders. It is still our duty to perform the "great commission", but the burden of convincing someone is up to the Holy Spirit.

It is the same with Paul here in Athens. Some say the results in Athens were not spectacular, but who knows who heard it that may have later converted and how many people they affected?????? The important thing is - Paul spoke.

How many times are we quiet, especially in the face of intelligent and cynical non-believers??? If offered the opportunity like Paul - we are to speak and proclaim.


Assessing Paul’s sermon on the Areopagus.

a. Some have criticized this sermon because there is no detailed reference to the cross or specific quotes from the Old Testament. Some think Paul compromised his message for an intellectual audience, and therefore there were few conversions.

i. The idea continues that when Paul went next to Corinth, he decided to preach the cross and the cross only, even if it seemed foolish (1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5). Because Paul preached this way in Corinth, he saw much better results.

ii. Ramsay popularized the theory that Paul was disappointed by his “meager” results in Athens, and went on to Corinth preaching the gospel with a pure focus on the cross, and without any attempt at philosophical explanation.

b. But Paul’s sermon here is eminently Biblical. “Like the biblical revelation itself, his argument begins with God the creator of all and ends with God the judge of all . . . The speech as it stands admirably summarizes an introductory lesson in Christianity for cultured pagans.” (Bruce)

c. As well, Paul did preach Christ crucified in Athens. In Acts 17:30-31 he specifically mentions the resurrection, and how could he preach the resurrection without preaching the cross which came before it? This is obviously a short extract of Paul’s speech on the Areopagus; what is recorded takes barely two minutes to say.

i. “We learn from Paul that we cannot preach the gospel of Jesus without the doctrine of God, or the cross without the creation, or salvation without judgment.” (Stott)

d. In addition, it is dangerous to judge the content of the message by the magnitude of the response.

i. “The reason the gospel did not take root there probably lay more in the attitude of the Athenians themselves than in Paul’s approach or in what he said.” (Longenecker)

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