SMARTALK - hope for today

The Offer of a Lifetime

November 06, 2022 SMARTALK Season 2 Episode 4
SMARTALK - hope for today
The Offer of a Lifetime
Show Notes Transcript

The Offer of a Lifetime. Doing the right thing, even being successful in life doesn’t mean you will be excluded from hardships. In fact, the two are usually joined at the hip. As we see a powerful invitation to the Gospel being made in Acts chapter 17 verses 1 to 15 we see rejection and acceptance are part of life.
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Music: Achaidh Cheide - Celtic by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.



Acts chapter 17 part I Tampa 1-15. The Offer of a Lifetime  

Introduction: Doing the right thing, even being successful in life doesn’t mean you will be excluded from hardships. In fact, the two are usually joined at the hip. You may develop a business, it may succeed but at a lot of cost as well as effort. You may transform a company – that will cost. Yet you may be doing exactly what you are meant to be doing. Here it’s the advance of God’s kingdom, and it’s telling us again, that what may overwhelm us, even threaten our very lives, can’t stop Christ. Our lives in Christ, are an invitation to others that is either rejected or accepted. 

1. Invitation: 

Clear Invitation: clearing up misunderstandings v.3 - Jews didn’t think of a suffering messiah, but a king. But both sides to messiah were there in their own writings, they just needed to see that, and re-interpret their own stories in light of the bigger pic God was now doing in the world. Every culture has its stories of hope, even ours. Because it’s post-Christian and often uses biblical language even as it has forgotten where the answers lie. It’s good to show them that their longings find fulfillment in Christ…hero motif. But there will be differences- God works outside of the box and does unexpected things…plenty are Ok with Jesus as a moral teacher, as the national god of the USA- to bless the nation, to provide inspiring words and moral core. But the necessity of the Atonement- that gets dropped- even in outreach events or worship.  

The Necessity of the Invitation: the necessity of the AtonementOld Testament Scriptures: the Christ HAD to suffer….Psalm.22, Isaiah.53, Jesus himself- John.3.14 lifted up! Justice: WHY did he have to suffer- why was it the only way? Could the cup pass from him- if it is possible? But it wasn’t possible- can’t I save the world without being separated from you? 

If there was any other way wouldn’t God in his eternal love for his eternal son not have found it, and used it? Compelled by justice- death = wages of sin. If someone sins against someone you love- every fiber says it should be met with justice. How could God be less? Anything less is less love! 

It’s Personal: Your sins- if punished in you- eternal in hell. If punished in Christ – forgiveness and brought home without any compromise of justice. Still have a problem- ask to see your sin- that is the promise- you don’t see it, or if you do you can’t believe that Christ is sufficient, all that you feel you should suffer he suffered more! (neighbor with an abortion- too easy to be just forgiven!) 

As Creator- had to stop the contagion of sin spreading in the new world- just one tiny virus otherwise would have all of eternity to replicate and spread turning heaven into hell- what God would be so remiss as to allow that after all that the cross has done? 

What love Christ has for us… Only as you embrace that message will your own sufferings in this life make sense. The only way to fit them with the existence of God. This is what will bring people to Christ in South Florida – a message of suffering lived out amidst a people suffering = changed lives for eternity. 

 2. Rejection:

-        Closed: But others didn’t and were downright hostile. Both responses. Could go into uni setting today- more and more you will get this polarizing response. More are open and more are overtly hostile. We need to prepare our kids for that. It will be in the workplace too. be prepared for it

-        The motive V.5 - jealous/money/politics-status quo. They turn a spiritual message into something political. People don’t want Christianity to be true because they clearly see the implications for their lives, that they can’t continue to live as if they are in charge. People (young or old) don’t pretend to have found intellectual reasons for rejecting Christianity, the real motive will always be personal. Do you face this in your family or at work? Then recognize it, and help others to recognize it, for that can be their first step from turning from unbelief to belief. 

-        The accusation: AV. Turned the World upside down: The verb anastatoō has revolutionary overtones and is used in 21:38 of an Egyptian terrorist who ‘started a revolt’.[1] The ambiguity of Christian teaching in this area remains. On the one hand, as Christian people, we are called to be conscientious and law-abiding citizens, not revolutionaries. On the other hand, the kingship of Jesus has unavoidable political implications since, as his loyal subjects, we must refuse to give to any ruler or ideology the supreme homage and total obedience which are due to him alone.[2] 

-        Socialism, activism, environmentalism etc. draw in huge numbers of the younger generations because we all need a cause- purpose, and meaning. But all these cases are tiny cf to the significance of an eternal everlasting way of life or death for the entirety of the human race. Nothing is more important than this message shared here and that caused turmoil. 


3. Acceptance: Open: V.4- some believed, this included a very fertile field- God-fearers – especially Gentile women 70-30 ratio cf to men – joined Judaism. Again- Of more noble character v.11 - the ability to receive revelation- depends on the person. Some are more open than others: Nobility- great eagerness to know the truth from God. 

-        Method: did the right thing in the right way- and still got a hard time! v.2 making the natural connections you can- synagogue – custom= strategy v.2 Searching the Sc- more Christians need to do this- white blood cells that defend the health of the body. from Scripture…they recognized its authority. Less so today on the first brush, but don’t hold back on using it. 

-        As Bengel wrote about verse 11, a characteristic of true religion is that it suffers itself to be examined, and its claims to be so decided upon. [3]

-        Christianity can and has withstood this type of examination for 2000 years 

-        reasoning- Christianity is based on more than human reason- but revelation. But it is never less than reasonable- don’t check your brains at the door. Many churches have been anti-intellectual - a disaster for the church and for outreach- a huge proportion of the population around us here have degrees- a highly educated population. 

Our Response: You can’t keep a good man down… Beaten with rods and imprisoned- thought they’d deserve a break! But off they go again! Yet overcoming battle after battle- don’t you feel so much of your life is like that? And if done rightly, let’s be honest the hard times become the fruitful times: persecution comes when you get things RIGHT in life! Take this model of fruitful suffering and see how God uses it - here in the advance of his kingdom, and in the same way in your own life. 

Moving on… v.10- get out because if some won’t listen others will- get to them. 

Who was Jason? that’s the point! we know nothing about him, just his name, the use of his house, and being dragged before powers- collateral damage! The church is made up not with celebrities but Jasons. 

Conclusion: Where are you today? Are you open or closed? Are you the inquiring, or the jealous? Each of us lies somewhere upon this spectrum, such is the nature of truth that you cannot be neutral to its call upon your life. How will you respond to this offer of a lifetime? 



[1] John R. W. Stott, The Message of Acts: The Spirit, the Church & the World, The Bible Speaks Today (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1994), 273.
[2] John R. W. Stott, The Message of Acts: The Spirit, the Church & the World, The Bible Speaks Today (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1994), 273.
[3] John R. W. Stott, The Message of Acts: The Spirit, the Church & the World, The Bible Speaks Today (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1994), 275.