Sovereign Grace Blog

Sermon Summary - Preaching To Discover The Elect - Acts 17:1

Preaching To Discover The Elect

Acts 17:1–17:15

Paul, Silas, and their missionary team endured hardships which pose questions such as, how are we living? Does the gospel of Jesus impact our choices in life? Does it drive us to an intimate, ongoing relationship with Him? What are we willing to sacrifice for Jesus? What we have in this passage is a working out of what Jesus meant when he said, you must take up your cross and follow me. There are many challenges and priorities that cause professing Christians to skip corporate worship which ends up being a clarifying gift of God, because they show what they really worship. Christians stand out. This is an opportunity to preach to everyone not just with words, but with actions, who we truly worship.

The gospel and the church are meant to cause conflict with the culture and upset people’s lives, the same way Paul and Silas upset some Thesalonian Jews which caused them to attack Jason’s house. We have come back full circle to the paganism of the first century; the west here in America is no longer Judeo-Christian. The culture today is offended by the gospel just the way it was when Paul was on his missionary journey. So why is it that Paul continues to preach the gospel regardless of the culture’s hatred and opposition? Paul was being obedient to Christ, he trusted God and knew that some of those Jews would be saved by the gospel, or in other words, he would discover the elect.

Paul preached at the synagogue in Thessalonica for 3 Saturdays reasoning and explaining the gospel to the Jews. Some of them believed and were saved, but others weren't. The difference between them was the Holy Spirit who worked in power and convicted the elect. Paul knew what was at stake when it comes to God’s wrath. His opposition to the gospel was what caused him to persecute the church, but he was convicted of his sin when Jesus appeared to him. His understanding of the Holy Spirit’s power was what drove the way he lived and his willingness to suffer for the gospel. It is this same gospel that angered some of the Jews in Thessalonica and Berea. It is the same gospel that will anger the people of this culture today. Jesus said he did not come to bring peace, he brought a sword of division, a division of what one worships in this world, a division of world views.

In our passage, the content of the gospel focuses on the person and the work of Jesus. Paul reasoned with the Jews from the scriptures, had dialogue over the word. He explained how Jesus was the promised messiah by reading Old Testament prophecies in Psalms and Isaiah. But what we also see in this passage is how the ongoing pattern of our lives should be. When it comes to the truth and our willingness to be open, we should be like the Jews from Berea who “received the word with all eagerness, examining the scriptures daily to see if these things were so” (Acts 17:11). 

In a world that hates Jesus, our confidence should be in God’s revelation of himself through His Word, His Son, and the many eyewitnesses who saw Jesus. The power to endure suffering comes from the truth dwelling in our hearts. We are to constantly examine our hearts, our lives and ask ourselves if we are becoming worldly. Do we worship money, sports or entertainment instead of Jesus? Let us increase in our devotions and love for our Lord Jesus by constantly examining the Word of God daily. 

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