Acts 17 - Response To The Word
Response To The Word
1. Following the famous Egnatian Way, Paul and Silas went 100 miles from Philippi to Thessalonica.
2. Timothy is not mentioned again until Acts 17:14, so he may have remained in Philippi.
3. Why did they not pause to minister in either Amphipolis or Apollonia:
a. Perhaps there were no synagogues in those cities
b. Paul certainly expected the new believers in Philippi to carry the message to their neighbors.
c. It was Paul’s policy to minister in the larger cities and make them centers for evangelizing a whole district
Response To The Word
1. Resisting the Word (1-9)
i. Paul knew that Thessalonica (our modern Salonika) was a strategic city for the work of the Lord.
ii. Not only was it the capital of Macedonia, but it was also a center for business, rivaled only by Corinth.
iii. It was located on several important trade routes, and it boasted an excellent harbor.
iv. The city was predominantly Greek, even though it was controlled by Rome.
v. Thessalonica was a “free city,” which meant that it had an elected citizens’ assembly, it could mint its own coins, and it had no Roman garrison within its walls.
b. Style of Paul: Paul’s Manner (2-3): synagogues…common ground
i. Reasoning (with them out of the scriptures): dialogue them through questions and answers
ii. Opening: expounding/explaining
1. Luke 24:25-27 "Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself."
2. Luke 24:32 "And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?"
iii. Alleging (proved): to lay down alongside, to prove by presenting the evidence
1. The apostle set before them one Old Testament proof after another that Jesus of Nazareth is Messiah God.
2. “Christianity is in its very essence a resurrection religion,” says Dr. John R.W. Stott. “The concept of resurrection lies at its heart. If you remove it, Christianity is destroyed.”
c. Response (4-9)
d. Some believed (4)
i. Paul saw a large number of people believe, especially Greek proselytes and influential women.
ii. “not a few” (Acts 17:4, 12) is one way of saying, “It was a big crowd!”
iii. Among the men were Aristarchus and Secundus, who later traveled with Paul (Acts 20:4 "And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus.").
iv. Believed, and consorted (4)
1. Consort = associate with
2. Not only getting saved, but associating yourself with believers and the church
e. Stern Resistance (5)
i. Envy: jealousy
1. The unbelieving Jews envied Paul’s success and were grieved to see the Gentiles and the influential women leaving the synagogue.
2. Moved with envy: motive/compelled
3. Mark 15:9-10 "But Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews? For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy."
4. Proverbs 14:30 "A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones."
5. Proverbs 27:4 "Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?"
ii. Evil associates
1. Birds of a feather…
a. Lewd: vulgar, obscene, pornographic
b. Baser sort: scum of the earth; contemptible, degenerate, discreditable, despicable, dishonorable, impure, low-minded, mean, wicked
i. Creeps without ethics or conscience
ii. Ones who would stand for the wrong no matter what.
c. Acts 6:10-14 "And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake. Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God. And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council, And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law: For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us."
d. Matthew 26:59 "Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death;"
iii. Erroneous Charges
1. Manufacturing charges and making them stick
2. The Jews wanted to drag the missionaries before their city assembly (“the people,” Acts 17:5; 19:30), so they manufactured a riot to get the attention of the magistrates.
3. Unable to find the missionaries, the mob seized Jason, host to Paul and his friends, and took him and some of the believers instead.
a. Jason possibly a kinsman of Paul
b. Romans 16:21 "Timotheus my workfellow, and Lucius, and Jason, and Sosipater, my kinsmen, salute you."
4. The Jews’ accusations were similar to the ones used at the trial of Jesus: disturbing the peace and promoting treason
5. Luke 23:2 "And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King."
6. Their crime was that of “saying that there is another king, one Jesus.”
7. “another” means “another of a different kind,” that is, a king unlike Caesar.
8. Paul’s two Thessalonian letters, strongly emphasis the kingship of Christ and the promise of His return.
9. Of course, our Lord’s kingdom is neither political nor “of this world”
10. John 18:36-37 "Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice."
11. Unsaved pagans do not understand this.
12. An accusation that is indeed a complement: “These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also” (6)
iv. Ejecting The Missionaries (9-10)
1. The mob was agitated because they could not find Paul and Silas, so they settled for second best and obtained a peace bond against them.
2. Jason had to put up the money and guarantee that Paul and Silas would leave the city and not return. (9-10)
3. Satan was hindering the missionary effort
a. 1 Thessalonians 2:18 "Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us."
4. Still the Word prevails in Thessalonica
a. 1 Thessalonians 1:6-9 "And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing. For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;"
2. Receiving The Word (10-15)
3. Ridiculing The Word (16-34)