May 19, 2019 | Lee Becknell

What are you waiting for? People need to hear about Jesus.

Acts 17:16-21

Juan Carlos was a famous pirate. He was notorious for his thievery, and it was rumored that he had a very large amount of plunder buried. One day he was in Mexico and a man came up to him, pushed him to the ground and said in English, “Juan Carlos tell me where all your money is buried or I will shoot you right here.” Juan Carlos didn’t speak a word of English, so he signaled to a young boy to act as interpreter. The boy relayed the message to Juan Carlos, and fearing for his life Juan Carlos answered; “Tell him that I don’t want to die. All my money is located 30 paces north of the city water tower under a large rock.” So the boy, with a gleam in his eye, turned to the man and said, “Juan Carlos says he is an honorable man and will never tell you where the money is. He says you might as well kill him now.”

* Moral of the story is the importance of the correct message!

Title: “What are you waiting for? People need to hear about Jesus.”

Theme: “People are still in need of a Savior, and Jesus Christ is still the only way. Our Nation certainly has changed in 40 years, but Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever. Our challenge is to find the most effective way to communicate Christ to our world.”

* Fleeing from persecution at Thessalonica and Berea, Paul heads to Athens to await the arrival of Timothy and Silas. And so we see the struggle in his heart for the lost in Athens.

* This morning, I would like to share with you the following lessons.

  1. Compassion for the lost.

Acts 17:16, “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.”

* Beloved, notice two things in this verse.  First, his spirit was provoked (distressed) within him.  Second, the city was lost and full of idols.

* We foolishly think that because people are in the U.S. that they’re probably saved. Barna polls say only 10% are really living as Christians, thus 90% are really lost!

* Our conviction must be that all men and women are lost and must be saved, or they will go to hell.

* A minister who was very fond of pure, hot horseradish always kept a bottle of it on his dining room table.  He was trying to win a neighbor to the Lord, and over dinner, he had brought up the reality of Hell. He simultaneously offered the neighbor some horseradish, and he took a big spoonful. When his guest finally was able to speak, he gasped, "I've heard many ministers preach hellfire, but you are the first one who ever passed out a sample of it!"

* The question is: "Do We Care?"

Genesis 6:6, “And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.”

* Beloved, this is a picture of the broken heart of God.

Matthew 9:36, “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

* We care if a friend’s pet dies! We care if a friend develops a terminal illness. Shouldn’t we care about people going to hell when we can prevent it?

  1. Reason with the lost.

Acts 17:17, “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.”

*  The Devil doesn’t like it when we decide to make an impact for God. He doesn’t want you to get a burden for reaching the Lost.

* He doesn’t like it when we decide to work in the church, or to change things through prayer, or to make new commitments!

Matthew 11:12, “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force.”

* Since the time John began preaching the response has been violent.  By both the opponents and supporters.

* The Early Church was convinced that the solution to everyone’s problems was Jesus Christ.

* Secular sociologists teach that as mankind evolves, we get better & better. They believe education is the answer. (The Unabomber – a Ph.D.).

* Political correctness says "there’re many ways to heaven" or "all religions are the same and speak of the same God." That’s completely wrong!

* The truth is; the human race is messed up. We’re not inherently good, we’re inherently sinners! We need a Savior; Jesus alone is the Savior!

Acts 4:11-12, “This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

* Buddha never died for anyone's sins; Krishna never died for anyone's sins; Mohammed never died for anyone's sins; Moses never died for anyone's sins.

  1. Preach Jesus and the resurrection to the lost.

Acts 17:18, “Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. 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. 19 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.” 21 Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.”

* Beloved, notice that Paul is facing two major philosophies in his day and they are still around wreaking havoc in the lives of people today.  Pleasure and reason. 

* Epicureanism is a system of philosophy based on the teachings of Epicurus, founded around 307 B.C. It teaches that the greatest good is to seek modest pleasures in order to attain a state of tranquility, freedom from fear … and absence from bodily pain …”

* stoicism, which emphasizes rationalism and logic, is commonly considered to be the opposite of Epicureanism… True Stoicism says to align one’s expectations with the logos—the natural law of the cosmos—and not to worry about the rest. [Mr. Spock]

* Confronting a lost person with their need for salvation is the most loving, caring, compassionate thing we can do, and our responsibility should over-ride our fears.

* People would rather talk about the New Green deal than Jesus Christ. They believe the environment will save us.  They are so focused on this life they have no time or desire to think about eternity.

* In the name of education and advancement, educators and intellectuals have dismissed the most influential book of all times from our curriculum. It is nearly impossible to understand the writings of Milton, Shakespeare, and Chaucer without some basic understanding of scripture.

* And yet, in a day when the liberals decry censorship, they themselves have censored the Bible from the realm of public education.

* The results have been devastating.

Proverbs 29:18, "Where there is no revelation; the people cast off restraint."

* Beloved, we are seeing the fulfillment of this verse in the culture and life of America.

* A missionary to Africa many years ago told of a woman who came to every service, accompanied by her dog. She would sit on the outside, next to the aisle. At the end of the service, when the pastor gave the invitation to come forward for prayer, she would go forward, and the dog would come along beside her.  The woman’s husband was a hard, abusive man. In fact, he beat her so severely because of her Christian lifestyle that she died.  There must not have been any law enforcement in that part of Africa then, because the man was not arrested. So he was left alone with the dog. He began to feel great remorse. He began to notice that every Wednesday evening about 7 p.m. the dog would disappear for about 2 hours. Also, every Sunday morning, the dog would leave about 9 and return about noon. Sunday evening, again the dog would leave for a couple of hours and then return. The man’s curiosity was so aroused that he decided to follow the dog. He followed it to church and he took a seat in the back to watch. The dog sat down near the aisle, in his usual place. After the service, he watched the dog go forward and take his place at the altar, where his wife had prayed. The man was so touched in his spirit that he, too, went forward and gave his life to Christ. So God used a dog to lead a hardened sinner to Christ.

* If God can use a dog to bring someone to Christ then surely He can use me.

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"Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation." - Mark 16:15