July 4, 2021
Posted in Sermons
July 4, 2021 UCC User

Motivation for Evangelism

We will not speak the Gospel as Paul did until we see what he saw and feel as he felt.

“16 Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. 17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. 18 Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, “What does this babbler wish to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection.19 And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.” 21 Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.” – Acts 17:16-21

Sermon Points

I. What Paul Saw

II. What Paul Felt

III. What Paul Did

IV. What Paul Said

Quick Thought: Evangelism and the “whole counsel of God”. 

In our sermon today, we spoke of our need to speak the whole Gospel in evangelism, as Paul did, not a reduced, boiled-down version of it. Another way to say this si that we need to teach ‘ the whole counsel of God’ where possible in our evangelism. But what does that phrase mean?

The phrase ‘the whole counsel of God’ comes from Paul in his speech to the elders in Ephesus (Acts 20:27). It comes at the end of a section when Paul has been speaking about his ministry in general and his work in Ephesus in particular. Paul is about to go to Jerusalem, uncertain of what awaits him there (verses 22-24). One thing he does seem to know is that he will not see this group of men again (verse 38).

As he looks back over his ministry, Paul characterizes it as a teaching ministry. From the summary of his ministry in verses 20-25, we are told the following: he taught that which is profitable (verse 20), he taught about repentance towards God and faith in Jesus Christ (verse 21), he testified of the Gospel of grace (verse 24), and he preached the kingdom of God (verse 25). Because of his faithfulness in his ministry in serving the scope of the message, he has a clear conscience. We should also notice the sheer relentlessness of the method. Not only does he preach Christ and the kingdom of God, but he does it publicly and from house to house. “Therefore”, he says, “I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all,” (verse 26). So this phrase in verse 27, “the whole counsel of God”, is Paul’s summary term for his teaching ministry.

As we seek to identify our message, it is helpful to keep in mind that the ministry of the apostle Paul was a Bible-teaching ministry. He did not necessarily take out his scroll to read Leviticus 16, but all of his message encapsulated the Bible story from Genesis to Christ and on to eternity, when everything will be brought under Christ as head. Accordingly, everything that Paul said was sourced from Scripture: God’s counsel. Because it was the whole counsel of God, there was nothing more to say because there is nothing more to add to the plan of salvation.