Leading Question: What are the most popularly worshipped idols today?
Scripture Focus: Acts 17; Romans 1:18-25; 1 Corinthians 2:2
The Big Idea: The content and manner of our communicating the gospel must be sensitive to the context we are addressing. We must listen well before we can speak well.
- This lesson is titled, “Mission to the Unreached.”
- In the context of Christian mission, what does it mean to be unreached? Is a non-Adventist Chrisitan unreached?
- Approximately what percentage of the world it unreached? (Roughly 25% of the world has never heard a credible presentation of the gospel, and only about 4% of missionaries work among these unreached.)
- If we take Romans 1:20 seriously, is anyone actually unreached?
- In Acts 17, we read of Paul’s ministry in Thessalonica, Berea, and Athens. Does Paul use the same strategy in each of these locations? Why or why not?
- In Athens, Paul encounters philosophers and idols.
- Which is more dangerous to the cause of Christ—people who rely on their own reasoning and intellect, or people who rely on false gods?
- What are the most popularly worshiped idols/gods in our world today?
- Let’s look more closely at how Paul speaks to the Stoic and Epicurean philosopher in the pagan city of Athens.
- We should notice that Paul is invited to speak at the Areopagus. In areas where Christ is not known, should we follow Paul’s example and wait to speak until asked, or should we go ahead and begin to preach regardless of whether or not we are invited?
- Paul begins by complimenting the Athenians. What are some of the things you can genuinely appreciate about the non-Christians around you?
- Paul demonstrates that he knows their beliefs. For example, he has not hidden away from the idols in the city, but has been walking around and “looking carefully” at them (Acts 17:23). Furthermore, he quotes from their sacred writings, including quoting from a Hymn to Zeus (Acts 17:28)!
- Should we study false systems of belief? Should we study other religions?
- Would you be supportive of an SDA evangelist quoting from another religion’s sacred writings in order to make a positive point about God?
- How about an evangelist quoting from a secular movie or song that may have objectionable elements?
- Paul’s message culminated by declaring a coming judgment by a resurrected Jesus. Nowhere does he refer to the cross of Jesus. Why would he emphasize resurrection rather than crucifixion?
- Acts 17:34 says that “a few men became followers of Paul and believed . . . also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others.” So, would you say Paul’s efforts were successful?