20. February 2024 Acts 0

Text: Acts 17:2-33

Theme: Paul’s custom worked well for him for his mission

Key verses: “As was Paul’s custom, he went to the synagogue service, and for three Sabbaths in a row he used the Scriptures to reason with the people” (v. 2). “That very night the believers sent Paul and Silas to Berea. When they arrived there, they went to the Jewish synagogue…and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message…As a result, many Jews believed…” (v. 11). “While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was deeply moved by all the idols he saw everywhere in the city. He went to the synagogue to reason with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and he spoke daily in the public square to all who happened to be there. He also had a debate with some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers…” (v. 16-18a). “So Paul, standing before the council, addressed them…” (v. 22). “When they heard Paul speak about the resurrection of the dead, some laughed in contempt, but others said, ‘We want to hear more about this later.’ That ended Paul’s discussion with them, but some joined him and became believers…” (v. 32-33a).

What I believe God said to me: I want you to take note of how Paul conducted himself on the mission field. His customs were deliberate, consistent and effective toward helping him fulfill his calling and purpose. In this one chapter, you can see that Paul “went to the synagogue” multiple times in three cities on his journey. The narrator of Acts says it was his “custom” to do that. It wasn’t just a ritual for him. He went for a purpose–to engage with anyone who would listen to him about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But notice that going to the synagogue wasn’t his only custom. Paul also spoke daily in the public square. This wasn’t the only time he had done that. It was not uncommon for Paul to walk up to a group in a public place and start a conversation with them. Furthermore, he deliberately got into debates with the deep thinkers in the cities where he ministered. Philosophers, as they were known, were respected as wise and intelligent. They loved to sit around and talk about the latest ideas and beliefs. So, Paul took advantage of this unique part of their culture. He made the most of their customs to advance the Kingdom and share my Good News. Here is the progression you need to see today: Paul had a mission and purpose for his mission trips. He took advantage of local culture and practices to help him accomplish his mission. Then he formed habits or customs to be consistent in what helped him be most effective. He didn’t make excuses, no matter how much resistance or inconvenience he experienced. He knew what worked, and he worked it with all his might. This is the way of a missionary on the mission field. You must find a way to connect with and reach people. You must do as my Son did; you must seek those who are lost, so I can save them from their sins.

What I said to God: Father, good morning! What a privilege to serve You today. Thank You for waking me up this morning and giving me another day to live and breath and worship and witness for You. Thank You that my sister came through her surgery yesterday and is doing well. Thank You for this fresh word today. Please help me form good habits and customs that bring the most glory to You and bring the most people into Your forever Kingdom.