As you look around your neighborhood, community and workplace, is there a holy irritation…a God-centered, grace-producing, gospel impacting agitation for people to know Jesus? Or have we become dull or even numb to the needs of our culture? For Christians, real ministry begins when our hearts are so provoked that it moves us to intentional gospel engagement.
- Pastor Dave
Open: Describe a time you were provoked: Why were you provoked? How did you react?
Read: Acts 17
1. Describe the situation that caused Paul to stop in Athens: How did this temporary stay become an intentional Divine moment? Have you ever had this happen to you? Describe the situation:
2. Acts 17:16 says that Paul was provoked. What does “provoked” mean? What observations in the city of Athens provoked him? Who were the Epicureans and Stoics? How do we see these same ideologies in our world today?
3. They invite Paul to the Areopagus. What was the Areopagus and what took place there? How does Paul respectfully address their beliefs? How did his awareness of their culture help facilitate gospel proclamation? What are the cultural things that we can respect yet use as bridges to the gospel?
4. A burden is worthless unless it is acted upon. Do you agree with this phrase? Why or why not? What burdens are you carrying for the people in your family, neighborhood, workplace or community? How do you see our natural tendency to complain and give up when it comes to the issues of our community and world? How do we tend to grow apathetic to the needs of our world?
5. Real ministry begins in our hearts, not in our strategy. How is this true in this passage? How is this true practically today? What is provoking you to gospel action in our community and world?
Pray: Pray that God would provoke you with a holy, God-glorifying, grace-producing agitation for something in our community that would require you to take a bold step of gospel action.
Memorize/Meditate: 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. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us…Acts 17:16,26-27