SERIES: The Book of Acts
TEXT: Acts 17:16-21
MESSAGE: “The Search For New Life”

“In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship.” —David Foster Wallace, 2005

“Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols — Acts 17:16

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me.” — Exodus 20:2-3

“An idol…is anything more fundamental than God to our happiness, meaning in life, and identity. It is making a good thing into an ultimate thing. Idolatry is the inordinate desire of (even) something good. Idols are not only personal and individual, they are also corporate and cultural.” — Timothy Keller

TEXT: Acts 17:16-21

And in today’s text we see how new life in Jesus can be found. We see this in three ways, it’s by understanding… (1. The Endless Search 2. The Surprising Solution 3. The Grander Narrative)

    1. The Endless Search (v. 16-18)

Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. 17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. 18 Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him.”

“When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things.” — Mark 6:34

     2. The Surprising Solution (v. 18)

“And some said, “What does this babbler wish to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection.”

For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” — 1 Corinthians 1:22-24

      3. The Grander Narrative (v. 19-20)

And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.

TAKEAWAYS: What does new life in Jesus look like for you? It’s understanding…

  • The question from God

“…[the] most basic question which God continually poses to each human heart: Has something or someone besides Jesus the Christ taken title to your heart’s trust, preoccupation, loyalty, service, fear, and delight? It is a question bearing on the immediate motivation of one’s behavior, thoughts, and feelings. In the Bible’s conceptualization, the motivation question is the lordship question: who or what “rules” my behavior, the Lord or an idol?” — David Powlison

  • The emptiness of NEW

v. 21 — “Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.”

  • The reality of idols
  • The Narrative isn’t over

“…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…” — 1 Peter 3:15

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