An Upside Down World (Acts 17:1-15)

An Upside Down World (Acts 17:1-15)


  • Violence of Anti-Trump protestors nothing new. When you can’t persuade people with reason, using force is faster and easier.
  • Candidates reaction to blame opponent nothing new.
    • Trump blames Clinton for sending professional agitators.
    • Clinton blames Trump for instigating the violence.
  • We will see very similar tactics in our text this morning.
  • 2MJ > Call to Macedonia > Philippi: Conversions of Lydia and Jailer > Asked to leave (16:39).

Read Acts 17:1-15

  • Mob violence is nothing new. How should we respond?
  • Luke highlights the authority of Scripture:
    • Paul: Reasoned, explained, proved, proclaimed, and persuaded the Thessalonians from the Scriptures.
    • Bereans: Received and examined the Scriptures.
  • The special revelation of God deserves careful explanation and examination.

First, we will consider How to Preach a Sermon (1-9). Second, we’ll see How to Hear a Sermon (10-15).

How to Preach a Sermon (1-9)

  • These aren’t lessons from a rookie preacher, but implications of this passage.
  • A Commitment to Serving (v.1-2a)
    • 95mi journey from Philippi to Thessalonica.
    • Paul and Silas preached.
    • Paul and Silas made tents (1 Thes. 2:9).
  • A Commitment to Reasoning (vv.2b-3)
    • Preaching involves making cogent arguments.
    • NOT: Coercion or Entertainment.
    • OT Scriptures prove Christ had to suffer and rise.
    • This Jesus is the Christ.
  • A Commitment to Persuading (vv.4)
    • Accompanied with conviction (1 Thess. 1:5).
    • A love to see God’s grace at work (1 Thess. 1:6, 8).
    • From God’s Word (1 Thess. 2:13).
  • A Commitment to Persevering (vv.5-9)
    • Jews became jealous because so many God-fearers were converting to Christianity.
    • The Charges:
      1. Disturbing the Peace – They were charged with leading a revolution—upsetting the world (v.6; cf 21:38). Irony: Jews were responsible for setting “the city in an uproar” (v.5).
      2. Sedition/Treason – Encouraging people to worship a different king (v.7).
    • v.9 The magistrate probably made a legal deal with Jason that he would be set free if the missionaries would leave (1 Thess. 2:14-18).
    • Mob violence broke out against the Christians there in Thessalonica…it was just the beginning (1 Thess. 2:14; 2 Thess. 1:4-7).
  • The special revelation of God deserves careful explanation.In Acts 6, the apostles appointed others to serve the widows in order to give more attention to the ministry of the word and prayer.
  • It is inevitable that wherever preaching is not a priority, the growth of God’s people will suffer. May that never be true of us!

No matter how much care is given to the explanation of God’s Word, it doesn’t matter if people are unable to listen.

How to Hear a Sermon (10-15)

  • Many Christians are unable to listen to a sermon so that they can evaluate it and profit from it.
    • Partly due to preachers not preaching.
    • Partly due to the listeners desiring entertainment over understanding.
  • A Commitment to Gathering (v.10)
    • 50mi journey from Thessalonica to Berea.
    • Weekly (even daily in seasons of special need/interest).
  • A Commitment to Receiving (v.11a)
    • Eagerly expecting something to happen during the preaching moment. Do you grasp the significance?
    • Must be cultivated through…
      • Repetition and Preparation
      • In the church and in the home
    • It is easy to tell when a person is eager to hear God’s Word.
      • Are you engaged, focused, and receiving the message?
      • Or are you daydreaming, distracted, ignoring, or even avoiding the message?
  • A Commitment to Examining (v.11b)
    • The Scriptures. Do you have your own copy? Are you following along?
    • Taking notes to pay closer attention and review later. If the living God were speaking a word of exhortation or comfort or encouragement to you, would you want to write it down for further reflection?
    • In all of our examination and evaluation, we must be careful to avoid being filled with a critical spirit. In other words, go easy on me please ;-).
  • A Commitment to Trusting (v.12)
    • Many believed.
    • In Thessalonica “leading” women responded to the gospel, while in Berea women of “high standing” responded.
    • In both cases the gospel reached across gender, ethnic, economic, and social divides.
  • A Commitment to Persevering (vv.13-15)
    • Jews from Thessalonica travelled two days to Berea “agitating and stirring up the crowds.”
    • Irony: Luke makes it plain that the persecutors were guilty of the very thing they were charging the Christians of doing (16:20-21; 17:6-9).
    • Paul was sent to the coast while Silas and Timothy stayed at Berea (v.14).
    • Paul escorted 300mi away to Athens (v.15). Silas and Timothy were to join him asap.

The special revelation of God deserves careful explanation and examination.


  • You should sit under preachers who are committed to…
    • Serving others,
    • Reasoning from God’s Word,
    • Persuading by the Spirit, and
    • Persevering in the face of opposition.
  • And you should hear their message by…
    • Gathering with the saints,
    • Receiving it with eager expectations,
    • Examining its accuracy,
    • Trusting its gospel-truth, and
    • Persevering in the face of opposition.
  • Preaching should be the primary element of a Worship Service.
  • The last thing Peter did before Jesus died was deny him 3x. After the resurrection, Jesus restored Peter 3x.
    • “Do you love me?” When Peter answered that he did,
    • Jesus exhorted him to, “Feed my sheep.
    • The primary job of the pastor is to feed, the primary job of the sheep is to eat.

Let us thank the Lord for providing us with a hearty meal this morning.