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S.O.A.P March 11, 2018

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March 11, 2018 

Read Acts 17:16-34

To read this text click HERE.

ScriptureActs 17:16, 22-23- While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was deeply troubled by all the idols he saw everywhere in the city...So Paul, standing before the council, addressed them as follows: “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about."

Observations- Paul was "deeply disturbed" about  the prevalence of idols in Athens, but he was also strategic about how to engage his hearers and perhaps draw them into God's story in Jesus Christ. Rather than condemn them from the outset for their idolatry Paul pointed to the way their desire for God could lead them to the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Application- Paul models a way for us to authentically enter into the lives of people who engage in behavior we find "deeply troubling" as Christ followers. By finding something he can join with and celebrate, he gains the opportunity to speak further into the lives of those gathered to listen to him. It's so important that we not try to hold unbelievers accountable for living out the values of the Good News, because not only will it be counterproductive, but it doesn't make much sense. We can be "deeply disturbed" and still share the truth of the Good News with grace.

Prayer- Lord, thank You for saving a sinner who was so far from You- me! There are times when I still find my thoughts, words, and deeds deeply disturbing, and I need Your help in doing battle with all of that. Help me reach out to people who aren't yet interested in pursuing a relationship with You or don't understand their need for You in a way that points them to Jesus as a Forgiver and Friend. Amen.

"I’m not responsible for what the outsiders do, but don’t we have some responsibility for those within our community of believers? God decides on the outsiders, but we need to decide when our brothers and sisters are out of line and, if necessary, clean house." (1 Corinthians 5:12- The Message)

Pastor Jamie

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