Reasoning from the Scriptures

August 29, 2021 Pastor: Todd Friel Series: Todd Friel Messages

Topic: Evangelism Scripture: Acts 17:1-4

Guest Preacher – Todd Friel of Wretched.org

Date: Sunday Aug 29, 2021        Scripture: Acts 17:1-4

Title: Reasoning from the Scriptures (link to download .pdf transcript)

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

Paul, God, people, Messiah, Scriptures, sin, reason, day, lamb, Christ, gospel, preached, suffer, world, Bible, Jews, Jesus, 1 Corinthians, Acts, proclaimed

Please open the the .pdf linked above to see the Table of Contents

Introduction

Let's take a look at Acts chapter 17. We are going to see Paul's evangelistic strategy. Isn't that an interesting idea? You want to witness and share your faith? How do you do it? Well, let's study today how the apostle Paul did it.  If you recall, Acts chapter 17, Paul has been on a bit of a rollicking ride. He was in Philippi. There was an arrest, there was a beating. There was an earthquake, there was an escape, and now he is continuing his tour of northern Greece. That is where we pick up our text.

 

17:1 Now when they had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. 2 And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.” 4 And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large number of the God-fearing Greeks and a number of the leading women. (Acts 17:1-4)

 

We are going to take a look at three considerations from this robust text.

  1. Where did Paul evangelize?
  2. How did Paul evangelize?
  3. What were the effects of Paul's efforts?

 

1.     Where did Paul Evangelize?

That is what we're going to see come alive in this text? So where did Paul evangelize? Well, take a look at the text, it couldn't be much more clear. He went to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And according to Paul's custom, he visited there. So, what was Paul's modus operandi? How did he attack a city with the gospel?

 

Well, he would go find a synagogue. In God's providence, if you've ever wondered what the fullness of time in which God sent His Son, this is a part of it. That wasn't just the Greek language that was universal that helped the spread of the gospel. It wasn't just the Roman roads, that helped the transportation of the gospel, it was the fact that there were synagogues, little mini teaching centers of the Jews, hundreds of them, actually a couple 100 in Jerusalem alone, and then spread throughout the Mediterranean where the dispersed Jews would come to hear teaching, they would come to read the Bible, and they would come to learn. And Paul focused on them first.

 

Now, he didn't always stay there. But his plan, his strategy was, “I'm going to get to the synagogue.” And other texts tell us that was exactly Paul's pattern. And that's why the text tells us,

as was his custom, (Acts 17:2 “And according to Paul’s custom…”)  

 

 when Paul was in Corinth.

4 And he was reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath and trying to persuade Jews and Greeks. (Acts 18:4)

 

Acts chapter 18:19,

19 They came to Ephesus, and he left them there. Now he himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. (Acts 18:19)

 

When we see repetition in any text, in any book, it's trying to make a point, Paul went to the synagogue, and he reasoned with these people. And not only did Paul reason from the Scriptures in a synagogue with the Jewish people, it's fascinating in Acts chapter 17, verse 16, we read this,

 

16 Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was being provoked within him as he was observing the city full of idols. 17 So he was reasoning in the synagogue” (there's our phrase) “with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present. (Acts 17:16-17)

 

This is street evangelism. And what did Paul do there? He reasoned with them from the Scriptures. It seems no matter where Paul went, he was strategic in his efforts, but he had a consistent message, reasoning with people from the Scriptures.

 

Fascinating, what does this have to do with us in White Bear Lake in 2021? Might I ask you, individually, and corporately? What's your strategy? Do you have one? If you don't, I wouldn't tell you to go find a synagogue and try to reason with the people there from the Scriptures. They might not even let you in the door. But do you have a fishing hole? Do you have a strategy? Where can you be reasoning with people from the Scriptures?

 

And my encouragement today based on Paul's example, is to figure out your strategy. What are your gifts? What can you be doing? How do you communicate? Do you write? Do you blog? Do you face to face? What part of the role could you play in evangelizing a clearly lost world?

 

I don't know if there's a university campus, I don't. Is there a university up here in White Bear Lake? Not really. That’s sad. I wish there were, I wish your church… just write this down, Ace, when you when you get your building, by a university, and get to the campuses as fast as you possibly can, and reason with the kids from the Scriptures. I'm telling you; they will listen.

 

Just last Wednesday, I was at Kennesaw State University. And I talked to six young people. And the average conversation was somewhere around 30 minutes. And I was reasoning with them from the Scriptures. Now that's my strategy. That's my bag. It doesn't have to be yours. Can you pass out gospel literature? What can you do to reason with people from the Scriptures? What is your strategy?

2.     How did Paul Evangelize?

And now we take a look at how Paul went about the business of evangelizing. Let's get back to our text Acts chapter 17, verse 2.

 

2 And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, (Acts 17:2)

 

Well, this is fascinating. Remember, he didn't just do it in the synagogue, he was doing this in the marketplace. He was bringing his Old Testament with him, (which is one more reason we shouldn't unhitch it) to reason with people from this. He was using his Bible to share his faith. And please note the word reason. Maybe sounds like he got into intellectual debates. He most certainly did that when it happened. But more specifically, the word to reason is the word. We hear dialogue. It's “dialegomai” and it has more to it. It's not just let's just exchange some ideas... “Tell me how you're feeling. Can I share with you what's on my heart?”

 

No, he reasoned with them the word “dia”, it intensifies the “Legomai” the “to speak”. And it has the import of “I'm going to take you from this side to that side. I'm going to move you through an argument.”

 

Paul didn't “share” his faith. He proclaimed it. He preached it and that is, by the way, what we see all throughout the book of Acts, in Acts chapter 17:3,

“this Jesus whom I'm proclaiming to you…” (Acts 17:3)

 

…he was announcing the Christ is here. This was not laid back, soft spoken, namby pamby, “Ok, will you just give me a hearing.” He said, “Listen up. I'm going to reason with you from the Scriptures that the Messiah had to suffer.”

 

  • We see it again in Acts chapter 17, verse 18, in Athens, Paul preached
  • In verse 19 it says he proclaimed to them
  • In Acts 18:5 Paul “solemnly testified” about what? That Jesus is the Christ the Son of the living God.
  • Acts chapter 19:8 “Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly”, not apologetically, for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God.

 

You and I need to follow this pattern and start proclaiming the gospel and stop apologizing that we're Christians. We are “Dialegomai”-ers, we should be those who don't just ask for a potential hearing, but insist you must hear this now…In our postmodern age. I get it. It might need to be tempered because we want to be wise as serpents, gentle as doves. We don't want to overpower people. We don't want to talk over them and just tell them to zip it while they sit and listen, but it should have a little bit of “aaghuh” to it.

 

Paul reasoned with them. “You're here in darkness. I'm going to take you through this into the light” and he moved them there. Notice, he did not reason from anecdotes. He did not reason from movie clips. He did not reason from YouTube videos. He reasoned with them from what? The Scriptures.

 

Now that maybe strikes us odd today because you think well, people don't know the Bible. They didn't know the Bible then either. Most certainly in Athens. These were passers-by, these were complete strangers, and he was reasoning with Jews and Greeks, from the Scriptures. Why did Paul do nothing but preach Christ and Him crucified?

 

We think reasoning from the Scriptures means he kind-of went to their intellect, and he used logic and reason. No, he did not. He preached Christ and Him crucified. That the Messiah had to suffer and die and rise from the grave three days later.

 

Why didn't Paul use apologetics? Please note, I'm a big fan. I think we should all be ready to give a reason for the hope that lies within us (1 Peter 3:15) But Paul's demonstration for us repeatedly is that he did not apologize people into the kingdom and there's a reason for it. You can't.  We should study apologetics to defend the faith, the veracity of the Bible, the reasonable nature of a God-man dying for sinners. We should not however, use those things thinking

  • “I'm going to get them”
  • “I'm going to presuppositional them into the”
  • “I'm going to show them that their thinking can't be right because only with God exists and can you call anything morally wrong. Ah-ha!”
  • “So you see, that's why God exists because you believe that murder is always wrong, in all times in all places.

 

Aha! nothing. They can't “get it.” They can't understand it.

 

I'd like to invite you to keep your finger in Acts chapter 17. But scoot over to 1 Corinthians 2 if you'd be so kind, 1 Corinthians 2. And what we're going to see is that humans’ “reasoning machines” are broken…because of the fall of Adam and Eve, we all feel the effects of the fall.  The world -- you think it's insane, it is, but the reality is, we are all insane -- all of us. Everybody in this room was formerly insane. We were all darkened in our reasoning, everybody. And because of the fall, spiritual things are spiritually discerned. Please note the pattern.

 

People don't get a lot of knowledge and then become a Christian. Not the way it works.  You preach the gospel, the Holy Spirit convicts them of sin, righteousness and judgment, and then they get knowledge. That's what we're gonna see.

 

Take a look at 1 Corinthians 2:14

 

   14 “But a natural man” (an unregenerate man or woman) “does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. 15 But” (contrast) “he who is spiritual” (those who are in Christ) “appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. 16 For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ “. (1 Cor 2:14-16)

 

Do you see it? You can't use your apologetic arrows, to aim at their intellect hoping they're going to get regenerated. They must hear the Word of God. This is… we're not in a logical reasoning battle. We're in a spiritual battle that is going on for the souls of men and women. And God's weapon, God's tool, is the Scriptures.

 

The more you can share Bible verses when you're evangelizing, the more the Holy Spirit can work with what He is already inspired to go about the business of regenerating people whose brains are broken. Take a look.

 

1 Corinthians 2:14, the contrast, the unsaved, they can't reason the gospel. But when God saves us, then He fixes our thinking. And there are many reasons for this, not the least of which is God takes the foolishness of a message to just flip the world upside down. “You lofty intellects on university campuses promoting post-modern glop… Here's the gospel of Jesus Christ” and to them it is scoff-worthy, but it is the message that Paul preached exclusively. He preached nothing, nothing but Christ and Him crucified. And that is our message, because if we can reason somebody into the kingdom, guess what they get to do? They get to arrive in heaven and boast. Yes, I figured this out. Clever, aren't I? That is not going to happen.

 

We're in 1 Corinthians…1 Corinthians 1:21. As we see the foolish preaching of the gospel, God receives great glory as He reveals himself to the humble. 1 Corinthians 1:21.

“For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.” (1 Cor 1:21)

 

Why did Paul reason from the Scriptures? Because people need the Word for supernatural regeneration. Otherwise, they get to brag… verse 27,

 

27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, 29 so that no man may boast before God. 30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 31 so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.” (1 Cor 1:27-31)

 

That is why we must reason from the Scriptures. It removes pride, it removes boasting, and it brings great glory to God for taking what is perceived as a foolish message and making it glorious in the minds of those that he regenerates.

 

Paul preached nothing but Christ and Him crucified. That's what 1 Corinthians 2:1-2 says -- I preached nothing but Christ, and Him crucified in weakness, with fear and great trembling. So there you go, if you have weakness and fear and great trembling, you're qualified to share the gospel.

 

  • Reference: 2:1 And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God.2 For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.3 I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling,(1 Cor 2:1-3)

 

Paul was … he came to them terrified. Nevertheless, he preached his foolish message, verse 4,

my message and my preaching, when were they not with these with they were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom but on God's power. (1 Cor 2:4-5)

 

Peter agreed, by the way, with the apostle Paul in 1 Peter 1:23.

23 for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.

 

How did Timothy get saved? From his mother and his grandmother, indoctrinating him in the Scriptures, 2 Timothy 3:14-15.

 

And that is why Paul commanded Timothy (2 Tim 2:4) “preach the Word” two times -- in season and out of season. Preach the Word. And that is why this church is a blessing. It preaches the Word. I need it, you need it, the lost need the Word. Faith comes from hearing and hearing from the Word of God (Rom 10:17)

 

Why? Don't we know from Hebrews 4 that the Bible is living and active, more powerful than a two-edged sword, it separates, and it cuts so that it might bind and heal? (Heb 4:12) That was Paul's pattern. He reasoned with them from the Scriptures.

 

Reasoning: about what exactly did Paul reason with those listening to him?

Let's scoot back to our Acts chapter 17 texts. He reasoned with them from the Scriptures, about what exactly did Paul reason with them? That the Messiah had to suffer. (Acts 17:3) That's verse 3. He reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and die. (Acts 17:3)

 

How did Paul do that? Because if we've ever concocted an evangelistic strategy, we might want to look to our text to figure out okay, well, if this is what Paul did, and it rocked the ancient world, if you think it's wicked today, go back 2000 years it was fantastically wicked. And yet Paul, and his foolish preaching took over the world. What did he do?

 

Well, Acts chapter 28, verse 23, opens this up for us a bit. Acts chapter 28, verse 23,

23 When they had set a day for Paul, they came to him at his lodging” (he’s locked up) “in large numbers; and he was explaining to them by solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus, from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets, from morning until evening. (Acts 28:23)

 

There it is, we're getting a little bit warmer, we just have some definition. Paul took his Old Testament scrolls, starting with the laws of Moses, the books of Moses, in other words, the first five books of the Bible. So, from Genesis to Deuteronomy, Paul preached that the Messiah had to suffer and die. How did he do that?

 

How did Paul use The Law (first 5 books of the Old Testament) to foreshadow Christ’s death?

I think it's not that hard to sleuth and figure out. He used the writings of Moses; I would like to suggest to you he started in the garden. Remember, his message is the Messiah had to suffer and rise again from the grave (and we learn in 1 Corinthians 15) in three days. Where was that in the creation story? It's all over the creation story… God creating two perfect human beings, they rebel, they break the one commandment, they fall into sin. And these two naked vegetarians suddenly realize, yikes…this is embarrassing. What did they do? They made an effort to cover their own shame with big leaves.

 

God sheds blood for the first time. God killed an animal to use the skins to cover the shame of the humans, stating very clearly God (Calvin said God prodders with us through the Old Testament, and just baby-talks us.) You try to cover up your own shame, you can't get it done. I can. And it requires the shedding of blood, and it requires a death for the payment of your sin and rebellion against God. Do you suppose that maybe he shared that or maybe he talked about Genesis 3:15?

 

That there's going to come a Savior. You've sinned. Here's the consequences for your sin, there's going to be a Savior, who is going to crush the head of the serpent, but his heel is going to be bruised. (Gen 3:15)

 

 

What are these? They are signposts…aiming at the Messiah who had to suffer.  

The Thesis statement of the Bible

Genesis 3:15, by the way, is the thesis statement of the Bible, that there is going to come One who is going to crush the head of the serpent, and who is going to give you life. And then the rest of the Bible simply lays out who is He.

 

And Paul went back to say He's the Messiah who had to suffer. He could have stayed in the garden even longer. What do we see are the effects of sin? In the garden, you recall, they were naked, and they were afraid they were ashamed of their nudity. And God said, there is going to be a consequence for your failure to obey me. Labor is going to become thorn-filled, it's going to be hard. You're going to sweat in labor, and there is going to be pain in childbearing.

 

Do you suppose Paul was able to say I want to tell you about a man that this picture is painting? This man who was stripped naked, why? He stood in our place, He took our shame, they put a crown of thorns on His head for a reason, because He was identifying as the one who was sin itself. He sweat drops of blood in the garden as He was preparing to suffer and die for sinners.

 

Do you suppose Paul, maybe used Genesis 3 to talk about the Messiah who had to suffer? No doubt. Paul used typology.

 

The Story of Isaac

Staying with the books of Moses, it's little doubt that he would have used the story of Isaac being sacrificed by his beloved father (almost) It’s an odd story, I think for Jewish people, isn't it? Abraham, a righteous man, take your beloved son, your only beloved son, take him up a hill (Mariah), which many, if not most theologians believe is the same hill on which Jesus Christ was crucified. As the boy carries the wood to the sacrifice, asking the question, Father, where's the lamb? And Abraham says, God will provide. And just as Abraham is going to be obedient to God and kill his only Son, God stops him, does He provide a lamb?  Not yet… details…He provides a ram in the thicket, as if to say the lamb hasn't come yet.

 

What do we see in the story of Isaac? We see a father prepared to kill his only son as a sacrifice, but it's an “almost” sacrifice. We won't see the true (sacrifice) that this pointed to now, for centuries. Do you suppose Paul used Isaac?

 

Passover

Do you suppose he talked about Passover? That when the Jewish people were in bondage to the Egyptians, that the Lord was going to release them and redeem them and rescue them and bring them into the promised land, but had to get past that rascally Pharaoh so He sends nine plagues, they don't seem to get the job done with him and so He sends a 10th plague, the death of your firstborn but what must you do if you would like death to “Passover” you? 

 

Have a lamb come and live with your family for a short amount of time, you select an unblemished lamb, and then after it's stayed with you for a short time you slit its throat.  Typically, lamb selection day, by the way, was on Monday. (We believe the day that Jesus came into Jerusalem.) And the lamb’s blood would be put over the door, and death would pass over.

 

What are we seeing over and over again? A blood sacrifice to deal with death, a blood sacrifice to deal with sin and shame.

 

Covering vs Forgiving

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, no doubt, he said, this sacrifice of a lamb. It's not going to get the job done, because it's a lamb. And all it can do is cover. All it can do is cover your sins, It can't forgive your sins.

 

Please know it -- Yom Kippur does not forgive the sins of those who sacrifice. It merely covers. Why? Because it is a mere picture of the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. And that is precisely why John the Baptist announced, “there He is… the Lamb”, the scarlet thread that has been woven throughout the Scriptures, he is here…now.

 

No doubt Paul used Exodus chapter 17. There’s much he could have used. He could have used the flood. They could have used the door that goes into the boat, and that Jesus is the ark of the covenant that Jesus Christ is the door -- the only way to get into salvation.

 

He could have even talked about the pitch that was used in the boat was the word kaphar. By the way, it was a covering in the Old Testament, the word kaphar is used for either a covering and in one instance it's used for pitch. In other words, Jesus Christ, the atonement, He keeps the waters of judgment out.

 

Water analogy

Paul could have used that.  He could have used Exodus chapter 17. This great vivid story about the Jewish people in Exodus chapter 15. They were complaining we don't have water. God provides water two chapters later, they're complaining about water. And this time Moses says, I know what you're up to. You're not bellyaching against me. You're complaining against God.

 

And so God sets up a court room drama. The language is vivid. Edmund Clowney points us out a great deal. Moses was commanded to stand in front with the elders on each of his sides, with their staff of authority. And in front of him was a rock. And behind the rock were the people who are accusing God of not being faithful to them. In other words, the guilty people. They were condemning God for being a guilty God. And what does God do?

 

As His presence falls on the rock? Moses is commanded to take his staff of authority and strike the rock. God was being struck on behalf of the guilty people and what happened? The Rock cracks open and water floods. It didn't trickle. It flooded out. And who is the rock? 1 Corinthians 10 Paul says the rock is Christ. That was a picture of salvation. (1 Cor 10:4)

 

The guiltless one, standing in the place of the guilty, taking the punishment for sinners. This is why the Messiah had to die. And who, by the way, was the water? Jesus Christ. When He announced “I'm the living water” Whoa, whoa, come unto Me. Quit with waters from cisterns (man made systems for refreshment) Come to the living water. (Jer 2:13) The cistern…it's effort, and it's not reliable. And the water is meh… because you're pulling it from a source that doesn't really provide the water that you want, and it comes through a gutter system. And it's this… meh, it's filled with dirt…forsake it, stop with your efforts, come to me… the living water… a spring flowing abundantly, freely drink.  Do you suppose Paul might have done that? To point to the Christ, the Messiah who had to suffer?

 

Bronze Serpent Analogy

Do you suppose that maybe he used Numbers 21 -- the story of the bronze serpent? (Num 21:6-9) Another bit of an odd story. The bronze serpent was the sign of sin. The Jewish people being naughty again, God sent snakes to bite them. Have you ever wondered what this story was all about? Why God is sending snakes? It's like some mystical “bibity bobity” weird thing that we're involved in here? No, He was painting a picture of the Messiah who had to suffer.

 

Why? They were sinning. God sends judgment in the form of snakes. But if you'd like to live, if you get bit by a snake, here's what you do, you fashion a representation of the consequences of sin of sin itself. And you put it up on a pole. And anybody who looks at the lifted-up curse will be released from the curse of sin, and you'll live. What did Jesus Christ say? That He was the bronze serpent, that He was the one who was lifted up. And if we look to Him we will live. (John 3:14)  The consequences of sin…it is in the sin-bearer, Jesus Christ. This was pointing, relentlessly pointing, to Jesus.

 

Remembering the premise of using Scriptures to show Jesus is the Messiah.

I'm certain Paul was using typology from the books of Moses, and no doubt he was using the laws of Moses. Remember the premises? He was using the Bible to prove that the Messiah had to suffer die and rise again from the from the grave.

 

Reasoning from The Law of Moses (10 commandments and first 5 books of the O.T.)

How would the law help them understand that? He could open up the laws of Moses to say to his Jewish compatriots, “Look, look at these, look in the mirror of God's law? You can't do this. You can't be pure in thought, in word, and deed, the summation, to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength, love your neighbor as yourself. You can't do it.”

 

No doubt he would use the laws of Moses, perhaps particularly the 10 commandments. You who say that we shouldn't be doing these sins, do you do them yourself… What was Paul doing? He was using the law. And we know that he did, because he understood it was a schoolmaster to bring people to Christ. It silences the mouth, and it brings the whole world guilty before God.

 

Paul, no doubt opened up the law. Sin is so bad...it demands punishment. When you fail to keep God's covenant, He is going to whack you. Do remember how He did it over and over again with the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Medes, the Persians. Don't forget about the Greeks and now the Romans. We can't measure up.  He opened up the laws to help them understand God's standard of being in right-standing with Him. 

 

  • Look, look, have you always loved God? Totally and fully? No, you haven't, have you? Oh, strike one.
  • Ever made a graven image? Yeah, you folks did that a lot with your hands or with your minds you fashion a God to suit yourself.
  • Ever take God's name in vain? Yes, you did when you didn't behave the way you're supposed to as an image-bearer of God, and especially for the Jews (as a covenanted person) you will have taken his name in vain, rather, because you didn't obey as you should (as His representative) and it causes people to blaspheme God's name.

 

Look at the law.  And he was not just talking to Jews, he was talking to Greeks. And I would like to suggest to you if we want to be like Paul, and help people understand, this is why… we need Christ. We need Him. If we had to invent something, some “being” to help us with our failure with the law, it would have to be Christ. It has to be. Why? Well, we need a human being to represent us. A sheep can't get the job done. We need a human being to represent us. But we need to sacrifice that's greater than a human being (another sinner dying for a sinner.)

 

We need a perfectly righteous one. We need God Himself. That's what Jesus Christ is. Fully God, fully man. Why? Because we need Him because that's who He is.  Because we are law breakers. Paul knew that the law killed and that's what needs to happen to people. They need to be slain. Their pride needs to be shattered. Paul opened up the law to plead with them…understand, look at your history, we can't get it done. We need a Messiah.

How Did Paul use The Prophets (Old Testament books e.g. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel…) to foreshadow Christ’s death and resurrection?

 

But Paul then would also reason with them not just from the books of Moses, but from the prophets. Well, let's go take a look and see how he might have done that. How did Paul proclaim that the Messiah must suffer and die and rise from the grave?

 

Isaiah 53

Isaiah 53, you are well-familiar with this passage. This is a description of a man who was so beaten that you couldn't tell that He was a human being. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. We thought it was for His sins, but it was for the sins of His people. He went with His mouth silent, who is being described?  The Messiah that had to suffer the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

Psalm 22

Perhaps he used Psalm 22. I am a worm and not a person, a disgrace of mankind despised by the people poured out like water. All my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax. It is melted within me My strength is dried up like a piece of pottery. My tongue clings to my jaws, and you lay me in the dust of death. For dogs have surrounded me, a band of evildoers has encompassed me they pierced my hands and feet. I don't think we have to speculate did Paul used Psalm 22 to teach the Messiah had to suffer.

 

Using the Old Testament to preach the resurrection of Christ

Let's go back to our text Acts chapter 17, verse 3, it gets more detailed for us. Acts chapter 17, verse 3, Paul reasoned with them from the Scriptures explaining and giving evidence the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. Hmm. How did Paul use the Old Testament to preach the resurrection of Jesus Christ? That's a good question. Let's take a look for instance...

Psalm 16:10

at Psalm 16:10, “You will not abandon my soul to the grave. You will not allow your Holy One to undergo decay.” Fuzzy, clearly pointing to somebody special.

 

Isaiah 53

Isaiah 53. “The Lord desired to crush Him, causing Him grief. If He renders Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring and prolong His days.” (Isaiah 53:10) Wait a second, He was crushed, He was killed, but He lives forever. Why? Because He came back to life again.

 

Daniel 12

Perhaps Paul used Daniel chapter 12. This is a verse I really encourage you to at least memorize the address, when you perhaps have been confronted with “Well, you know, the Old Testament it doesn't talk about the resurrection…” Take a look at Daniel chapter 12. “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.” (Dan 12:2) Sounds like the New Testament, doesn't it? “And those who have insight will shine like the glow of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” (Dan 12:3). There's going to be an eternity. And the One who ushers us into it is the One who suffered and died and rose from the dead. He had to. And the Old Testament Scriptures point to this.

 

Three Days prophesied in the Old Testament

But then 1 Corinthians 15, he also says that the Messiah had to suffer, die, rise from the grave in three days. Well, where does where does the Old Testament say that? In a number of places, actually.

Jonah

You recall the story of Jonah. Jesus used it Himself. In Matthew chapter 12, just as Jonah was in the belly of the big fish, so too, must be the Son of Man in the grave for three days. Jonah was a type (a picture) of Jesus Christ.

 

Hosea 6

Hosea chapter 6, this is this is slightly tricky, but well worth the effort. Hosea, chapter 6, for God has torn us that He may heal us. He has struck us down and He will bind us up (talking to us of the Jewish people.) God has crushed us. It gets worse than that. After two days, He will revive us. The word revive means to make alive after two days, He’ll make us alive. On the third day He will raise us up that we may live before Him.   

 

You say, “Well, that's talking about the children of Israel.” But if you go to Hosea chapter 11. And take a close look, Hosea equates the Messiah with Israel, the children of Israel were a picture of Jesus Christ. They were led out of Egypt, both of them. That's what Matthew chapter 12 tells us, as it talks about the children of Israel being a picture of Jesus Christ, that was crushed.  The children of Israel were killed by God and raised from the dead in three days. And when the Messiah is equated with the children of Israel, we see a picture of Jesus Christ and His need to be resurrected on the third day.

 

The Elegance of The Bible

Are you perhaps seeing the elegance of the Bible? Are you seeing this tapestry that's woven together? Have you heard the accusations, “Ah, it's just a bunch of disjointed stories, fantastic miracles, nonsense?” It is not nonsense. This is clearly a thoroughly designed book that was written over the course of 14-1500 years, by dozens of authors, different languages on different continents. One theme, Christ, Christ, Christ and Him crucified. That's the message of the Bible.

 

We do not need to defend the Bible. We do not need to prove the Bible is true. We need to open it, proclaim it, God regenerates, and they will see that it is true. That was Paul's modus operandi.

 

3.What were the effects of Paul’s efforts?

 

And let's get to our results. What were the results for Paul? It's found in Acts chapter 17, verse 4. And as we take a look at this, I would ask you to consider our world today.

4 And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large number of the God-fearing Greeks and a number of the leading women. (Acts 17:4)

Reconciliation

Why? What’s with the details… they're never for naught. The Jews and the Greeks…if you think that there is antipathy today between black and white, it ain’t nothing compared to what was going on between Jew and Gentile.  Nasty. They were furious at one another, despising one another, and what happens? Our text tells us that through reasoning from the Scriptures the Messiah had to die, and He had to rise again from the graveJews and Greeks were brought together.

 

Would you like to see racial harmony in our world? We do not need critical race theory. We do not need anti critical race theory, frankly, we don't need a political solution. We don't need social programs. We need the gospel proclaimed as we reason with people from the Scriptures.

 

And please notice, how's about the animosity today between male and female… the feminist war that has been raging now for over a century? How does the gospel resolve that? It brings them together in the resurrected Messiah.

 

Why do we even have different skin colors? Answer: the gospel. Of course, everything is the gospel. It's all about …the answer is the gospel. What brings people together from ethnic groups that typically despise one another, that hurt one another, that enslave one another, oppress one another, war against one another? We see it at the very end of the book of Revelation when we see a sea of humanity, all doing one thing together in harmony. And what is that sea of people look like? Every tribe, every tongue, every nation, all present.  

 

In other words, what we can't get done, God does. Jesus wins. And He shows His power by saying, “Look at you, you people have never been together. And I brought you all together, because they all heard the same message that the Messiah had to suffer and die and rise from the grave in three days.”

 

Would you like to see racial harmony? Would you like to see the male-female war stop? Would you like to see the insanity ended in our nation? Reason with people from the Scriptures. The Messiah had to suffer. You're a law breaker, you're condemned by God. He had to suffer on your behalf. And He did. And He proved that He was the Messiah by rising from the grave three days later.

 

If you're a believer in Jesus Christ, have confidence in your Bible. Use your Bible, memorize your Scriptures, open up the Law, share with people from the left side of the Book and the right side of the Book that the Messiah had to suffer.

 

And if you're here today, and you have never repented and put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, I would ask you, having heard that the Lamb of God was crushed, by the Father, on behalf of guilty sinners, who accused God of being wicked. May I ask you, “What is what is not to love about a Savior like that?” 

 

I've done two things for you today if you're outside of Christ:

  1. Number one, if you walk out of here, and you reject this message, I have made your eternity worse. Because you have heard clearly that the Bible is axiomatic. It is self-testifying, it proves itself to be the supernatural Word of God, you are without excuse. And if you reject this message, you will regret this day for eternity because you have now been shown the light of God's Word.
  2. But I've also offered you hope, that Jesus the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world offers you forgiveness and everlasting life.

 

Gospel summary

If you're here today, and you have not run to this Messiah, that you have not pleaded for His mercy which He freely and joyously grants. He's not a begrudging God – “All right, fine, I'll let you in because I bruise My Son on your behalf. But just watch it.”   That's not our God.  He delights, He rejoices, He sings over His people, and you can be in His family today.

 

Do you believe that you're a law-breaker?  Congratulations. You're on the road to understanding that the Messiah had to suffer.  And understand this, whatever it is that you have done in your past -- if you think it is too abominable and too wicked to be forgiven, then you have forgotten that this was the Messiah, the Son of God, in flesh -- and His sacrifice is far greater than your sins, whatever it is, if it was a sexual perversion, or it persists to this day, Jesus says, “Come, I’m the living water, I will cleanse you, I will freely give you everlasting life, I will adopt you into the family of God.”  I don't care about the type of sin you've committed, because Jesus’ sacrifice is bigger, and you should therefore lay it down and be forgiven.

 

If you have, you've committed adultery, there could be a murderer here, Paul certainly was at least complicit in murder, and yet, he understood that somebody was going to save him from this body of death. A wretched man, the chief of sinners, we see in the apostle Paul, but Jesus’ grace was great enough to forgive him. And it's great enough to forgive you too. If you have had an abortion, or you have been a part of an abortion decision, I am here to tell you, Jesus will forgive you.

 

And if you, by the way, are in Christ, and that perhaps describes your past, you do not belong in the back row of a church. There are no second-class citizens in God's kingdom. You're in.  Who are you? What have you done? Come you, sinner, poor and needy, weak and wounded, sick and sore? Jesus able, ready, stands to save you full of pity, love and power. I would like to encourage you this day to come, you sinner, to the Messiah who had to suffer, had to die, and had to rise from the grave. And He did.

 

Let's pray. What an amazing God You are. It is one thing that a man would die for a friend but You died for Your enemies.  To demonstrate the expansive nature of Your saving power, that it is indeed amazing grace that saves wretches like us, Father, Oh, please, stir our hearts again this day to remember what a wonderful Savior we have in Jesus Christ. Convict those who are here today, who have never trusted in the Lamb of God to take away their sins, grant them repentance and faith. And then empower all of us by your Holy Spirit to go out and to find a fishing hole, and to come up with a strategy, and to reason with people from the Scriptures that the Messiah had to suffer die and rise from the grave in three days. That Jew and Gentile, black, white, slave, free, rich, poor, male, female can all be brought together underneath the banner of Your Beloved Son. Glorify Yourself through us in that way. In Jesus name, amen.

 

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