Today one of Gateway's elders, John Maulella, brought the sermon, speaking from Acts 17:16-32 about another of our Habits - Telling others about Jesus.
In this passage, we saw a model for sharing our faith when Paul preached to the Athenians. We see Connecting, Confronting, a Cause, and Caring.
Athens had lots of temples -- they were not places of worship, but homes for the gods, with nice things to appease them. It was sort of a patronage system -- but that's still how many people think of God today. If I do good things for God, He owes me.
First, Paul connected with his audience.
"I see that in every way you are very religious." He doesn't come across as thinking he's superior.
He confronts their wrong ideas about God (vs. 29).
He's not afraid to persuade. This is countercultural to us. But don't we do this in other contexts? He does it respectfully.
The Cause (or Cognitive Reset): vs. 26-27
What's the point, God? The point is that my life is planned.
"God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us."
God planned for us to be around these particular people. We may be a part of them finding Him.
vs. 32 -- "some of them sneered." We all get that reaction. But some did get it.
What motivated Paul to do this?
In verse 17, we see Paul's heart. He was "greatly distressed."
Paul was moved to action because he Cared.
Do we care?
Do we have the emotional bandwidth to care?
Will we allow God to build this into us?
Why did Paul care? Because without Jesus, people are lost.
(Here, John told a story of when his daughter was 4 years old and she hid from them in a store. Once they started calling for her, she was afraid they'd be angry, and hid all the more. We're lost and hiding from God. Come out! He is not mad at us!)
1) Pray for: Boldness, Energy, and Opportunity
2) Invite. Also, invest in lives.