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July 11, 2021

The Word of Christ Turning the World Upside Down

Jon Nowlin (North Campus) | Acts 17:1-15

Sermon notes to come.

Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women. But the Jews were jealous, and taking some wicked men of the rabble, they formed a mob, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason, seeking to bring them out to the crowd. And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” And the people and the city authorities were disturbed when they heard these things. And when they had taken money as security from Jason and the rest, they let them go.

The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men. But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was proclaimed by Paul at Berea also, they came there too, agitating and stirring up the crowds. Then the brothers immediately sent Paul off on his way to the sea, but Silas and Timothy remained there. Those who conducted Paul brought him as far as Athens, and after receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible, they departed.—Acts 17:1–15

Sermon Discussion Questions

  • Have you ever tried to solve the type of children’s puzzle where you compare two nearly identical pictures and look for differences? What do you remember about it? 
  • What stood out to you as you compared Luke’s side-by-side historical accounts of Thessolanica and Berea? 
  • Can you think of a time when you resisted God’s word, afraid that he was going to turn your world upside down in a way you did not like? Were you in any way similar to the Jewish leaders? What were the results?  
  • Are there truths in the Scriptures that you are currently wrestling to receive as good? What specific things are you wrestling with? Follow-Up: Would you consider reading, studying, and praying through Psalm 119 and asking God to help align your heart with its words?   
  • Luke used powerful descriptions for the way the Jews in Berea received God’s word. Look back at Acts 17:11. In life today, what would their reception and examination look like?
  • What ways can we evaluate if a teaching meets the biblical criteria that “these things are so”? Have you done this recently? How did you examine it?   
  • Based on this passage, what does the Lord desire to adjust in the way that you engage with God’s word so that he can shape your life in accord with it?