In the 17th chapter of Acts, we find Paul preaching to three different types of people. Seekers. Fact Checkers. Trend Chasers.
As was Paul’s custom, upon arriving in Thessalonica he went to the synagogue service. Three Sabbaths in a row, he used the Scriptures to reason with the people. He explained the prophecies and proved the Messiah must suffer and rise from the dead. Paul told his listeners he was telling them about Jesus.
Many Jews, Greeks, and prominent women were persuaded by Paul’s message because he used the Scriptures to prove his case for Christ being the Messiah. Our Risen Savior.
From Thessalonica, where he was driven out, Paul traveled to Berea. When he arrived, you guessed it, Paul went to the synagogue to preach Christ crucified.
The Bible tells us the people in Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica. They listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul was teaching the truth. As a result, many Jews and prominent Greek men and women believed.
But those who stirred up trouble against Paul in Thessalonica, followed Paul to Berea. They stirred up trouble there. So, Paul left Berea and went to Athens.
In Athens, Paul was deeply troubled by all the idols he saw everywhere in the city. He went to the synagogue to reason with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles. He spoke daily in the public square to all who happened to be there. Paul also debated with some of the philosophers. When he told them about Christ’s resurrection, some called him a babbler with strange ideas. Others said he seemed to be preaching about foreign gods.
Then they took Paul to the most learned council of philosophers in the city. They invited Paul to tell them about this new teaching. They told Paul he taught some rather strange things, and they wanted to know all about them.
Acts 17:21NLT says, in parenthesis, (It should be explained that all the Athenians as well as the foreigners in Athens seemed to spend all their time discussing the latest ideas.)
The Athenians were professional trend chasers. They spent their time seeking new things. New ideas. New ways. It didn’t matter what those things, ideas, or ways were. If it was new. If it was trendy. They wanted in on it.
At that, Paul gave his great speech. Men of Athens, I notice you are very religious in every way, for as I walked along, I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: To the Unknown God. This God whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about. Paul met the Athenians where they were.
Paul went on to explain who God is and what he expects. Telling them God has set a day for judging the world with justice through Jesus. The man who was raised from the dead.
Some laughed. Some dismissed it, saying they wanted to hear more at a later time. Others joined Paul and became believers.
Seekers. Fact checkers. Trend chasers.
Paul shared facts from Scripture. He let God’s word speak for itself. Some, like the seekers in Thessalonica, believed after Paul explained the Scriptures. Some like the fact checkers in Berea put everything Paul said against Scripture to know if he spoke truth. They were open-minded, willing to receive new truth, but it had to be God’s truth. Not just any willy-nilly thing someone spouted off.
Then we have the Athenians who made it their job to be trend chasers. These folks were so open-minded, they couldn’t distinguish truth from falsehood. It didn’t matter. Just as long as it was new, they chased after it.
Those folks were forever seeking, chasing, looking, but they weren’t interested in finding. What would be the fun in that? If they actually stopped chasing, and settled on the Truth, they’d have to give up their chasing.
In each of these situations recorded in the 17th chapter of Acts, we see people who accepted the truth of who Jesus is. We also see people who didn’t.
What about us? Are we a seeker, a fact checker, or a trend chaser?
Jesus is the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father God except through him.
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So they took Paul, brought him before the city council, the Areopagus, and said, “We would like to know what this new teaching is that you are talking about. Some of the things we hear you say sound strange to us, and we would like to know what they mean.” (For all the citizens of Athens and the foreigners who lived there liked to spend all their time telling and hearing the latest new thing.) Acts 17:19-21 (GNT)
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I wish you well.