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Turning the World Right Side Up
Calvary Church Midweek Bible Study
Acts 17:1-21

Turning the World Right Side Up: Insights from Acts 17 with Pastor Ed Taylor

If you have ever felt like you’re facing opposition when trying to do God’s work, then the reminders that Pastor Ed shared with us from Acts 17 will encourage you. It’s important to remember that opposition is inevitable especially when forward progress and victory are on the horizon. Instead of being surprised, let’s stay steadfast in our faith and keep pushing toward victory. Remember, resistance often means you’re on the right path!

In Acts 17, we explored the importance of “Turning the World Right Side Up.” It’s fascinating to see how Paul’s missionary work in Thessalonica involved reasoning, explaining, and demonstrating the gospel. There is power in engaging in meaningful conversations with others where you listen and respond thoughtfully. When we understand someone’s perspective, we can gently guide them towards the truth of God’s Word.Truly, the power of the Word can transform lives!

Looking back in Acts 1, we learned that we are witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. In your life, evangelism starts at home. The Bible emphasizes our role as missionaries in our hometowns, our workplaces, and our communities. Every believer is called to share the gospel, no matter where they are. Let’s embrace our missionary nature and spread the good news to others!

The Bible’s transformative power is truly something special, and it’s authority and reliability remain unparalleled. Only the Word of God can change lives and minds. Aligning our lives with the heart of God and relying on the Holy Spirit to reveal deep truths in His Word, can lead to profound personal growth and help us reach the lost.


Host (00:00:04) – Welcome to the Study of God’s Word with pastor and author Ed Taylor, recorded live at Calvary Church in Aurora, Colorado. To learn more about the many resources available through abounding Grace media or to tune in to our live-streamed services, visit us online at Calvary Coat Church or download our free Calvary Church app. Now here’s Pastor Ed to take us into our study.

Ed Taylor (00:00:30) – Open your Bibles to Acts chapter 17. Acts chapter 17 as we start a new chapter today. And I’ve entitled our Bible study Turning the World Right Side Up, turning the world Right Side Up. I know when we think of missions and missionaries or even mission trips, we almost immediately think of someone who has left our country or their native country and gone to a faraway land. We think that missionaries are only those that have gone to another country and dedicated their whole life to sharing the gospel. While that is an accurate description or definition of missionary. It is not an exclusive definition because when you read the Bible carefully, you find that every single true, real Born-Again believer is a missionary.

Ed Taylor (00:01:25) – Every single one of us. You’ll recall in acts chapter one, when Jesus told that small group to wait in Jerusalem, he said, you need to wait for the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will come upon you and you will be my witnesses. And he gave three areas, remember? First he said, you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem. And what he meant by that is in their hometown everything starts at home. So they would be missionaries with the gospel in their hometown. Then he said also into Judea and Samaria, in Judea, Samaria. If you take out a map, you’ll notice that that was the region around Jerusalem. And then he said, you’ll become my witnesses to the uttermost parts of the earth. All three of them really revealed to us the fact that we’re missionaries wherever we are. You know, for us, it would be here in Aurora, then to the Denver metro area, then to Colorado, then the United States, and of course, to the ends of the Earth.

Ed Taylor (00:02:24) – Another way of looking at this is what we learn in chapter 13 that we are all on a mission, not just a mission, but on mission. Our whole lives are lived to honor the Lord with His Word and with the gospel. So you could say in a very real way, even if God never calls you. Out of Colorado that you are a missionary to Colorado, that you’re a missionary in your own community at work, that God is using you? Well, just like the book of acts, the book of acts could be described this way. The Spirit of God working through the Word of God, through the people of God to reach a lost generation, the Holy Spirit of God working through the Word of God or with the Word of God through us, the people of God to reach the lost. And if this is something you haven’t grasped yet as a believer, you’re really missing out on the most important part of your relationship with God, and that is to share the love of Christ with others in a variety of different ways.

Ed Taylor (00:03:28) – Chapter 17 now continues what’s known as the second missionary journey of Paul. It started back in chapter 16. Remember, it actually started with a couple hard no’s from God, or what we described as closed doors. He wanted to go into the province of Asia with the gospel and God said, no. Actually, the Bible describes it as the Holy Spirit forbidding him to go in that area. And while he was waiting, he received that vision. A man in Troas said, come and help us. And as he headed in that direction, he lands in Philippi, where he’s drawn to these women at the riverside, Lydia and her friends at a prayer meeting. She shares the gospel with them, and they get saved. Then he goes into the city and he meets that girl that was possessed by a demon. He delivers her, which brought all attention to him. He gets beat up, thrown in jail where he’s singing. In the middle of the night, the Philippian jailer hears him as well as all the prisoners.

Ed Taylor (00:04:28) – They get saved. The Philippian jailer’s family gets saved, and now he’s heading off here in verse one to another city, Thessalonica, it says, now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews, then Paul. As his custom was, went into them. And for three Sabbaths, basically three weeks he was there. He reasoned with them from the scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, saying, This Jesus, whom I preach to you is the Christ. Thessalonica was a large city, about 200,000 people, a major port, an important commercial center. Paul gets to Thessalonica and he finds the synagogue. That was his pattern. The reason he would go to a synagogue is there would be an immediate connection with the audience. They’re already studying the Old Testament, and he would take what they’re studying, and an immediate bridge would be built to begin to show them from their own scriptures that Jesus is the Christ.

Ed Taylor (00:05:39) – Now, you know, takers? You want to reference the word Christ here mentioned in verse three. And also it’s mentioned twice there at the beginning and the end. Another way to describe Christ, or what that word is describing is Jesus as Messiah or Savior. So at the end of verse three where it says, he’s this Jesus who I’m preached to you is the Christ. Another way of saying that is he’s telling them, this Jesus that we’re preaching to you is your Savior. He is the promised Messiah of the Old Testament scriptures. And that’s what he did. For three weeks. He went in and shared the gospel, and God will see in a moment used him greatly. But before we get to verse four, I want you to mark a few words because it will be very helpful in your own relationship with others on how to approach them. When you begin to talk about the things of God. I know it’s easy to talk about football and baseball and what’s going on in the news and maybe what’s happening politically with others, but God wants it just as easy for you and I to talk about him.

Ed Taylor (00:06:45) – He really wants him to be at the top of that list. More important than sports or what’s happening in our government. The gospel of Jesus Christ is what men and women need today, and the way they’re going to hear it. You know, the Bible says, how are they going to hear unless someone sent to them? Well, guess what? Every day you’re sent to people, every day God sends people in our lives or sends us into other people’s lives. And it’s important today, I’ll give you a little bit, and then our next study will go into a deeper depth on how to effectively share the gospel. What happens behind the scenes. But here’s a few things here I want you to notice. If you like to write in your Bible circle these words. The first one is in verse two. Notice that Paul reasoned with them, this is important for us to reason with people. This word in the original language. Remember, the New Testament is written in the common first century, a Greek language.

Ed Taylor (00:07:38) – They called it the Koine Greek, the Old Testament, written primarily in Hebrew. So sometimes when you look up the original words, they actually have deeper definitions than the English word. So with this word, for reason, it literally means to mingle, thought for thought. The idea is this you share and you listen. Listening. So important when you reason with someone, you are listening to what they said and what they’re saying, so that you might match their thoughts with the truth. So important you learn to do this. Listening is key and not just waiting for them to finish. Sometimes that’s what’s defined as listening, where you’ve already got it made up in your mind and you already know what you’re going to say, and you’re already thinking about it and formulating it. And you completely did not hear what they’re saying because you weren’t listening. You instead you were in your own head. This was important. He reasoned with them. He listened to what they had to say and then matched it with what the truth of God’s Word was.

Ed Taylor (00:08:41) – Number one. Number two, I want you to notice and circle in verse three the word explaining, explaining. And this means to cause to understand. That makes sense. It’s what the English word means, where you take the time to explain something. You give clear answers and reasons, and you help answer the questions that are being asked. And we’ll see this in our next study. But sometimes we get into a mode where we’re answering questions that nobody’s asking. We’re giving all these kind of answers, but nobody’s asking those questions. We need to learn where somebody’s coming from so that their questions are being answered, not just all these general statements and things, but really stepping into someone’s life, listening carefully to them and answering the questions that are on their minds. And let me assure you, those of you that have questions today about Jesus, about the Bible, about Christianity, there are good, solid answers to the questions that you’re asking. Even if some of you listening right now are really skeptical, or you’re an atheist and you’re just going to stump the pastor, are you going to stump the family member? Or you just have these questions that you’ve made up because you think nobody can answer them? Even those questions can be answered with a reasonable, honest answer.

Ed Taylor (00:10:01) – So it’s okay if you take that approach. Ask the questions. There are good answers. And Christians, you and I, we have the privilege of searching for those answers, to study and to learn the scriptures and not only know, not only be able to say what, right? Because a lot of times that’s the answer, the what. But what’s most important in answering a question is not merely the what, but also the why. And then for us, you have to add the who, the source and origin of all things God creator. So we explain to them very, very important. Thirdly, notice that word in verse three circle it demonstrating, demonstrating such an important. And this is, this is something that even gets used today. You hear this phrase, this word means to set the table. That’s the idea demonstrating where you put something on display. And there’s a phrase today that’s become very popular, where I’ve heard people say, are you picking up what I’m putting down? And that’s the the picture of a table.

Ed Taylor (00:11:03) – As a matter of fact, for many, many years I’ve been training men and women, helping you with the difficult conversations because we all have them. You know, the kind of conversation where somebody comes after you and they just want to argue and get in your face. And if you’re not careful, you’ll meet them argument to argument, and you’ll become all defensive. And those are natural reactions. So don’t look down on yourself if that’s how you respond, that’s natural. But there’s a better way to approach it. And what I say is take a take a moment and pause. Take a breath. I mean, it’s all going to happen really quickly, but take a breath and then in your mind, picture between you and the person that’s really upset or really wanting to argue. I want you to picture a table. And in your conversation, I don’t want you to go after that person with all your answers. I want you to think about a table that you’re laying out. All this information, giving them a chance to pick it up.

Ed Taylor (00:11:58) – They may or may not, but I know, I know this. You are not going to argue anybody into the kingdom. That is not going to happen. And it was a very good chance that you’re going to walk away, perhaps even losing your testimony, by getting all up in the flesh and angry over the situation, which is sometimes what they wanted to begin with. There’s one at trial you up. And so if you picture a table and you’re just putting things down, putting things down, and maybe you’re you’re having that conversation so you can have another conversation and you can recall, hey, remember we talked about this and you never know what they’re going to take home with them. You never know how the Holy Spirit’s going to use that time. But that’s what demonstrating is. As he was speaking with them very patiently, he clearly laid out everything that was needed to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. And notice what happened in verse four. Some of them were persuaded, and a great multitude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women women, joined Paul and Silas.

Ed Taylor (00:12:56) – This was a tremendous work of God, and outpouring of his Holy Spirit were many people came to know Jesus Christ and Thessalonica in this Greek? What is modern day Greece today? Which leads us to the fourth point. The only way people could respond this way, and the only way men and women could be born again is that. Fourthly, notice in verse two, Paul used the scriptures. So there’s four things I want you to circle reasoned scriptures. And then in verse three explaining and demonstrating only the Bible can change your life. Only the Bible can change your mind. It isn’t the philosophies of men. It’s certainly not your opinion. And as much as we value our opinions, our opinions have no power. Even our right opinions, even when we’re right about something, there is no real spiritual power to change anybody. Now, you might change somebody’s mind with your opinions and your strong arguments, but hey, there’s always somebody with greater philosophy and stronger arguments that can come, come down the road and change their minds again.

Ed Taylor (00:14:07) – The Bible says that. We’re not ashamed of the gospel. Romans chapter one Paul says, I’m not ashamed of the gospel. Why? Because it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes for the Jew first, and also for the Greek. We’re seeing it right here. It’s only the word of God. I mean, you want to see life change in your marriage. It’s going to start with God’s word. You need to line your life up, align your life with God and His Word. That’s why we would spend so much time planning and preparing to bring a brother in to teach you how to study the Bible, if you would just. And maybe you, maybe you’re not at that level yet and you’re like, I’m not ready to learn how to say, fine, fine, then make a commitment. And and as a believer, just like you want to eat every day, just like you have a meal in the morning and you have a meal at lunchtime, and you have a meal at dinner, and you probably some of us, we snack all day that, that that’s you’re taking in physical food.

Ed Taylor (00:15:03) – But the Bible says it’s spiritual food and you need it in the morning and you need it at lunchtime, and you needed a dinner, and you need a few snacks along the way, because only the Word of God will revolutionize your life. Only the Word of God will cleanse your mind. Only the Word of God is what God uses to speak to your spirit. Spirit to spirit. Where do you meet in the Word of God? Let me show you. Turn over to First Corinthians chapter two. This is such a great scripture. First Corinthians chapter two. When you get there, pick up in verse ten. It’s a great reminder. You bring your Bibles to church. We study them, use them. You don’t have a Bible? There are free Bibles available here if you want to take it. Even though the words are so small, I don’t think you can read them, but downstairs you can always purchase a Bible. They’re never marked up, they’re always available. You can get a nice Bible, use it right in it, highlight it, and then you can turn in it and read it yourself.

Ed Taylor (00:15:59) – This is authority. That’s why when I’m when I’m sharing or I’m at the doctor’s office, I like my Bible. I could take my iPad and I could read on my iPad. That’s not a problem. But when somebody walks into the doctor’s office and sees me, they’re in the chair on my iPad. They don’t know what I’m doing. I could be reading the news. I could be playing Angry Birds, I could be doing a lot of things. But when I’m sitting somewhere, you know, at a restaurant, if I have a lunch by myself or and I have a Bible open that speaks authority right there. That’s why a paper Bible is so valuable, so important. The technology is great. I use it all the time. But a paper Bible is amazing. You know what I found? My paper Bible, the battery has never run out. I never get a text message in the middle of it. I don’t have it all. Just like turn off I right away or any of that.

Ed Taylor (00:16:46) – My Bible. This is the same Bible I’ve used for 30 something years and it is reliable and powerful. Now notice in verse ten, verse ten. It says in chapter two, but God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. So we know that God wants to reveal something to us by His Spirit. For the spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man, except the spirit of the man which is in him. Even so, no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now verse 12, we have received not the spirit of the world, but the spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. And where do we learn those things? But in his Word? Verse 13, these things we also speak not in words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches. Comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Ed Taylor (00:18:00) – When you open the Bible, you’re immediately in the spirit. When you open the Bible and begin to read its words, you’re immediately connecting with the Spirit of God and he’s revealing new things to you. You’re looking for wisdom. Being the Proverbs every day. There are 31 chapters in the Proverbs, so you can read a chapter a day most months, and at the end of the year you would have read through Proverbs 12 times if you just take a chapter a day. For us, the wisdom of God is found in Proverbs. You’re looking to stir up worship in your heart. Read the Psalms. The Psalms is one big worship book that’s been given to us by God, and it connects us with God in the spirit. Are you looking the ways? Are you looking for the ways of Jesus? Are you learning? You want to learn how it is to follow him? Then read parts of the gospel every day Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. You need your faith built up. Read the Gospel of John.

Ed Taylor (00:18:51) – It was written so that we might believe. If you’re wondering where everything came from and who you’re accountable to. Go back to Genesis and read about the beginning of creation and how much God loves us that he would pursue us like Adam and Eve. He would pursue us even though we’ve turned our backs on him. Unbelievable. What’s available to us in the Bible, if you would just read it and pray every day. So the city is changed because of the gospel, verse five now. But and there’s always a but an a contrast. The Jews who were not persuaded, becoming envious, took some of the evil men from the marketplace and gathering, gathering a crowd notice, he gathered a mob. They set the city in an uproar. They set the city in an uproar and attack the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, these who have turned the world upside down have come here to Jason is harbored them, and these are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying, there is another King Jesus.

Ed Taylor (00:20:05) – And verse eight, they troubled the crowd and the rulers of the city when they heard these things. So when they had taken security from Jason and the rest, they let them go. There’s always a contrast whenever God is working. You can look for this in your life. Whenever there’s progress, whenever there’s victory, whenever there is strength, whenever there’s revelation, there’s always going to be opposition. Remember that. Don’t be surprised by it. Sometimes we’re just shocked. We’re so caught up in the goodness and the greatness of God. I can’t believe what God is doing. The kids look at everybody’s turn to the Lord and this is so exciting. But then there are those that would come against and it almost always comes from people. God’s blessing is among people, but also the resistance of the enemy is also from people. And we see it here. There were those that didn’t believe and they became envious. We don’t have time to deal with this one word here, but for the sake of a moment now, I want you to be careful with envy.

Ed Taylor (00:21:05) – Church. It will wreck your life. Envy, jealousy. Instead of learning to be content where you are in the Lord, envy and jealousy will cause believers and unbelievers alike to do some horrible things, to say some horrible things. And in this case, this dissatisfaction, this anger among this group of men caused them to go and gather other notice. They went for evil men. I like how the old King James described this. The old King James called these. It says here in the new King James some of the evil mob from the marketplace or the evil men. The old King James translated lewd fellows of the baser sort. These were bad dudes. These were guys that were just caught up and doing nothing but evil. And then they serve up other people and they stir up the city. And they’re upset. They create a mob. It would be very similar to what we’re seeing in our day and age. But this is the first century, by the way. So what we’re seeing in the 21st century is no different, where there’s gathering groups of people around that are upset with the way that things are going, maybe upset at the church or upset at the government or upset at something.

Ed Taylor (00:22:18) – And they gather a group of people who really don’t care about the city. They don’t really care about people. They only care about themselves. They gather together so that they set the city in an uproar. They do a lot of destruction, a lot of damage, and they really don’t even know. We’ll see. Later on in Ephesus, there’s a group together as a mob, and they don’t even know why they’re there. And you can come today to some of the mobs and some of the riots today, and you can interview them, like, what are you doing here? I don’t know, I just came here because I saw it on TikTok and I wanted to be here and I wanted to make it because I’m upset and I’m mad. Well, what are you upset and mad about? I don’t know, I’m just upset and mad. And here they are, stirred up, taking advantage of people. It tells you that there are people in our city. There are people in our state. There are even people in our levels of government that do not care.

Ed Taylor (00:23:06) – About people. We see that right here. They do not care about people. They don’t care what price gets paid. They don’t care what gets damaged. They don’t care who they influence and draw into their mob and the evil. They just want their way. They just want their way. But you see, this is the thing. Church, this is so important. There is a group of people on the earth today that do care. There is a group of people reserved on the earth today that do walk in love. The church. They’re. They’re the ones that care. We’re the ones that care. And you can see the. You can see how the enemy of our souls would stir us up to. So that we kind of gather and we kind of understand. We we turn our hearts against these very people. These very people are the ones that were not persuaded. Did you see that in the text? It says right there in verse four. These were people who were not persuaded. You know what that tells me? That tells me that Paul shared with them to.

Ed Taylor (00:24:15) – That he cared for them too. That he extended them the hope of Christ to. And listen. The only group of people that can accurately demonstrate love to date, the only group of people that can accurately demonstrate care and concern, even for the rioters. Even for those that stir up a mob. Even for those that don’t care for our city. As you. And you really got to take this to heart. Church in your prayer. You have to ask yourself, because maybe you agreed with me in the beginning. Well, I think yeah, I guess I am on mission with Jesus and I am a missionary to our city. I guess the next question is, are you really? Do you really care for this city? And perhaps you don’t live in Aurora. You maybe live in Elizabeth, or in Bennett, or in Highlands Ranch or wherever. You do you care for your city? Do you care for your workplace? Are you asking God? When you see something on the news, does that provoke you to prayer and action in the spirit, or does it just stir up your flesh? And then when you’re in your face, you’re just like the world.

Ed Taylor (00:25:20) – You know that when I’m in the flesh, I live like the world. I live with only me in mind. I live in such a way where I’m not walking in the spirit, and when I’m not walking in the spirit, I’m not walking in love. I’m not walking in peace. I don’t have joy flowing from my life. I don’t have the long suffering impatience that’s needed with people that God has brought into my life. I’m not kind when I’m in the flesh. I don’t live with self-control. And what’s true for me is true for you. And the enemy is always using. I was sharing with the sister last night who was troubled over this text, and I reminded her, as I’ll remind you today, you actually have a threefold enemy the world system that we’re in your own flesh, and the devil and the devil gets blamed for a lot of things that he has nothing to do with. It’s just your flesh. It’s your unwillingness to submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. It’s my desire to take things into my own hands, or think that my thinking is better than God’s thinking.

Ed Taylor (00:26:29) – You’re the only group on the planet church that can show the love of God. And when you watch the news and you see the riots and you just see, you know, it just doesn’t make any sense. And I just the world just seems so upside down. It’s nothing new. It’s happening here in the first century, in ancient Thessalonica. It’s nothing new. Except that we have the privilege of these thousands of years of testimony of the Christian and the power of God through them. We’ll notice in verse six one of the things they said about Paul and Silas and Luke and those that came is that these who have turned the world upside down have come here to. And you might have heard that and go, wait, wait a minute. Didn’t you title your message, turning the world right side up? That’s not what the text says. And you would be right. But the reason I titled our message differently is simply to draw out for you that it’s true. Man doesn’t see like God sees. So that when the Christians come to town or love comes to work, or you extend some caring concern to someone, it’s viewed as uplifting and disrupting the status quo.

Ed Taylor (00:27:36) – And you’re just ruining my life. And and you’re I don’t want any of that Christianity thing. I don’t want any religion because it’ll ruin my life. No, no, no, it’ll turn my world upside down. No, actually, when you come to know Jesus Christ, your your world actually gets turned right side up. It’s actually upside down right now. Apart from Christ, everything’s upside down. The culture we live in, the culture apart from God, is this no God, no morality, no restraint. We just do whatever as we see in the book of judges. Again, something, not nothing. There’s nothing new under the sun in the book of Judges. The problem that they had is it says very clearly they all did that which was right in their own eyes. And certainly we live in a day and age like that today. I mean, you hear the mantra of our world. Our culture sounds something like this. Hey, man, do whatever you want, whenever you want, however you want, as long as you don’t hurt anyone.

Ed Taylor (00:28:32) – And it’s always interesting that the ones that are doing anything and anywhere, whatever they want, they always get to define what someone means, what it means when someone gets hurt. But the reality is sin always hurts. And it does great destruction to the moral and fabric of society. And the moral fabric of your own home. And what we learn here, like in Thessalonica today, is this world needs the gospel. That’s the answer today more than ever before. And while we may amend that and get behind that. The significance is the world needs the gospel through you. You know, I’m a little concerned today that Christians are not turning the world upside down or right side up for that matter. Instead, we see this society around us and culture flipping the church on its head. And a lot of times that gets referenced. You know, pastors would like to say, okay, I believe, look, what’s coming into the church, entertainment and all kinds of things. And, and, you know, set that all aside for a second that that’s not what I’m referring to at all.

Ed Taylor (00:29:40) – What I’m referring to is how much the church, I mean, it would be very, very hard for believers to, to see you outside, to see me outside of this building, to really tell the difference whether I follow Christ or not. Because the culture, as we learned just recently in Wednesday on our midweek Bible study and Exodus, like you, you know, we live in the world. We don’t have a choice. We live in the world. We work in the world. We breathe in the world. We take in the culture of this world. We watch the movies. We may listen to the music we have the social media, the world, the TikTok, the Instagram we’re taking in the world. We live in, the world we swim in the world. But the real question is, is the world in you? And you’d be surprised how much the world gets in us. One of the ways that gets revealed is through crisis. When a crisis comes, you find out what’s inside of you.

Ed Taylor (00:30:30) – And I’m concerned that as a church, we just live in the world. We just kind of, you know, we’ll add Christianity so we have a little morality and we have to take the kids to church and such, but not really have a full commitment to the Lord, like a real walk with the Lord. Living, not as self as the priority. You know, the Bible is not a complicated book. It’s not as complicated as people make it out to. So much of what Jesus taught is very simple. Like a time. Like now. Like there’s a simple teaching of Jesus that is important for you and me to grasp. It’s simple. I mean, kiddos can understand it. You don’t need to know the original languages. You don’t need to take a seminar. You don’t need to sit through a class to understand this principle. And if you understand this principle, it’ll revolutionize your life. If you live it out, it will take your life farther than you have ever gone before. And it’s the teaching that Jesus said when he said, seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.

Ed Taylor (00:31:31) – And it would be easy to skip over and go, well, what do you mean? What’s the kingdom of God? And people argue about? The kingdom of God is, and they argue about what will be added. And they argue, but they skip the easiest part of that verse. I think we all understand what it means to put some to make something important. To have a priority. I think we all understand that there’s something important to us. And then less important. I think we all understand about spending our time on that which we care about, and we really just go for it. So that I can tell by how you spend your time and money, what’s important to you, as you can do that for me. So when Jesus says to seek first, that’s not hard. You make Jesus Christ a priority in your life, everything else will fall into place. You put him first in your life as the highest priority. Everything else will fall into place. But so many today aren’t doing that.

Ed Taylor (00:32:24) – I mean, even today, it’s it’s kind of sad. But there are churches that gathered today. There are churches, the thousands of people where the pastor won’t use the Bible at all. And I don’t mean just hold it. I mean, he’ll just give a pep talk or some hoopla, you know, and just like something around the, like, look at that. That church is not even teaching the Bible. So many churches not teaching the Bible. But you know what? That’s not even our concern. You know what our concern is? This church. And this time. You’re in a church that values the Bible. You’re in a church that teaches it verse by verse. You’re in a church that believes the power of the Holy Spirit. You’re in a church that emphasizes obedience and repentance. You’re in a church like that. We don’t need to be too concerned about churches that aren’t using the Bible. Although that’s sad and it’s it’s wrong and and I don’t like it, but that’s not my business.

Ed Taylor (00:33:13) – My business is here. What I’m going to answer to God for what you’re going to answer to God for. And so while it might be easy and I think churches, you know, Christians today, you know, Christians today, they’re this becomes so good at calling out all the darkness in this world, all the darkness. I can’t believe it’s so dark, so dark. You know, we don’t need to be known so much. For now that we can tell how dark the world is. What we need to be known, as Jesus said, is salt and light. That’s the key. Living out our lives with him first. That’s how you turn the world right side up. Notice verse ten now. Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. This is a city, an area. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and search the scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.

Ed Taylor (00:34:15) – Therefore many of them believed, and not also a few of the Greeks prominent women as well. Now when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the Word of God was preached by Paul at Berea, they came there also and stirred up the crowds. Then immediately the brethren sent Paul away to go to the sea. But both Paul or Silas and Timothy remain there. So those who conducted Paul brought him to Athens, and receiving a command to Silas and Timothy to come to him with all speed, they departed. Now this is where we get the phrase, Brian, when you might hear a pastor say on the radio or you might hear me say, it’s important church to be a Berean. We get it from right here. And what it means to be a Berean is that you test all things by the Word of God. Anything you hear taught anything on the radio, anything online, anything from this pulpit. You learn to take what you hear and compare it with the Word of God, which is why we would bring a seminar in to teach you, to help you with this, and to grow in this so that you can test all things.

Ed Taylor (00:35:20) – Maybe today you can only test one thing, maybe next week it will be two. Maybe in the future you’ll be able to compare everything and hear it right away. But it’s important, like the Bereans, to be more fair minded and to grow in this area. I liken the old King James in Second Timothy chapter two, verse 15. They translates this study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. And as they come to Berea and they go into the synagogue, they preach the gospel. And I want you to understand who are they listening to? But Paul the apostle, who is Paul, exactly? Well, he just happens to be the future author of 13 books in the New Testament. I mean, this is a well-reasoned former rabbi Pharisee of the Pharisees, but even for him, they want to make sure that what he said is accurate to the scriptures that they’re already studying. And you would do well to test everything by the word of God, because, you know, since post-Covid it was that way before.

Ed Taylor (00:36:28) – But post-Covid, man, a lot of people went online and all of a sudden I start hearing about all these new guys on YouTube and TikTok, and they get your ear with a little soundbite and they take you, and then you start to follow them and listen to them and they follow. They take you down a path that is so unbiblical that as soon as you open the Bible, you’re like, why are you listening to these people? But you know why the Bible says in the last days that men and women, they’ll raise up for themselves teachers that will tickle their ears. Really? There is a temptation for you to go looking for what you want to hear. And if you’re not careful, what you want to hear by might be mixed with a lot of things that aren’t biblical. And by the way, what you want to hear may not be biblical itself. And you got to be careful. There are great teachers available, but there are far more worse teachers available. And let me just say something to you and maybe those of you listening in another state, another country, it’s super important you got to understand this, because we live really in an informal society right now where relationships aren’t as as a great priority because of technology.

Ed Taylor (00:37:34) – When you choose to follow someone on TikTok or on YouTube and you start to study under them, you have a great disadvantage in listening to them. And the great disadvantage is this. And I know it sounds, it’s going to be obvious, but I need to say it out loud. Here’s the great disadvantage. You don’t know them. You don’t know them. You don’t know their character. You don’t know their behavior. You don’t know their. How they treat their husband or their wife. You don’t know how they treat their kids. You don’t know them because you’re not in community with them. You’re not in relationship with them. So you’re willing, if you choose to do this, to follow somebody that you don’t even know their lives, you’re choosing to give your ear to them. You’re choosing to follow them, and you don’t even know them. You can’t even talk to them. You can’t even watch them and see them, but you have yielded your spiritual life to them. Church, be careful and become Bereans that will eliminate a lot of people.

Ed Taylor (00:38:34) – You’ll start unfollowing and start clicking off and just getting back. You’d be better just to fast YouTube and TikTok for a while or whatever. Whoever you’re listening to, and just get into the Word of God. Let Jesus be your teacher through the Holy Spirit. Comparing spiritual things with spiritual. The brains are very noble here. They give us great insight on testing the things that we learn. But also notice verse 13 as we wind down here, these are the Jews from Thessalonica. Now this is about a 45 mile journey from Thessalonica to Berea. And now the Jews from Thessalonica end up catching up to Paul and and causing him havoc and difficulty. And I just want you to pause. You read this in the 21st century almost immediately. If you’re not careful, you’re like, well, of course they did. Of course they knew where Paul was because they got a text message or they watched it. They saw it on Drudge Report, or they saw the Twitter feed, and now they know them. Berea.

Ed Taylor (00:39:29) – But, you know, the technology doesn’t exist. They traveled by land. They traveled by sea 45 miles. It took a long time to get there. So they get rid of Paul and he heads to Berea. That’s one trip. And so how do they find out? I suspect that they sent spies following Paul at a distance. So the spies show up behind him in Berea. They find out what Paul’s doing. He’s there for a while. Then they have to go back to Thessalonica and tell everybody you won’t believe what Paul’s doing. And then the Jews from Thessalonica, then they have to go back. So a lot of time and effort is being paid by the enemy of our souls to destroy Paul’s life and ministry. And you can expect the same thing. The devil. If he’s anything, he’s patient. And he will take the time that’s needed to tear us down. If it means a few journeys of days and days and days, and when you think, oh yeah, you know, it’s just kind of let up.

Ed Taylor (00:40:29) – No, no, he doesn’t let up. Because he wants to thoroughly damage and destroy our lives. So this is pretty significant. This is this is very sophisticated. And their attack on Paul and their lies and the price they’re willing to pay to destroy the work of Jesus Christ. You’ve got to understand that we live with people like that right now. That are willing to pay a high price to destroy Christianity. But here’s the thing. The gates of hell will not prevail against the church. He’s going to do just fine. Jesus is in his church. And he’ll be our guard and our protector. Notice now they sent him off in verse 16. Now, while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him. When he saw that the city was given over to idols, 30,000 idols or so little idols, little statues all throughout the city. Athens was a city, very intellectual, very philosophical. This is the city Aristotle came from. This is a city. Plato was that this was the center of art and architecture.

Ed Taylor (00:41:34) – Remember, the Romans ruled the world politically at this time. But the thing that the Roman government and the Romans lacked was culture. So they adopted the culture of the day, which in this case happened to be Grecian culture. Or you might, when you’re reading Hellenistic culture, is what that’s referred to in the Bible. And Athens was home base for that. This everything flowed from Athens. I mean, we we did many years ago, and we probably will in the future organize a trip that we call the Footsteps of Paul Trip, and we’ll take you to Thessalonica in different places. And one of the stops that we stop at is at Athens. And when you get to Athens, you’ll see up on the high hill. The Parthenon is up there. I mean, tourism in Greece is built upon all of the remnants of the idolatry and false worship that’s being spoken of here in acts chapter 17. I mean, it was powerful. And when Paul gets there, he is overwhelmed. Even when we were there a few years ago.

Ed Taylor (00:42:34) – You can feel the darkness of the idolatry in that city. However, it’s enough to see idolatry. You need to remember this whenever you see idolatry or false worship. Remember this. It’s just a reminder that God has put eternity in all of our hearts. Men and women are going to worship something and someone because how we were created, we were created to worship God. However, when our worship isn’t toward the one true God, we will make something up and it always shocks me and startles me. What people will worship instead of the one true God? What will be created? Well that’s Athens. Philosophy philosophical center, cultural center of the world. So what does Paul do? He reasoned in the synagogue, verse 17, with the Jews and the Gentile worshippers. He also reasoned in the marketplace daily with those who happen to be there. Verse 18, it says, certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers, the Epicureans, would be the atheists of the day. These would be the ones that would live just for pleasure.

Ed Taylor (00:43:41) – They would come up with the phrase eat, drink for tomorrow we die. That’s the Epicureans. No God, no care for God. They they didn’t even they weren’t even idolatrous. They just worshiped themselves. The Stoics, on the other hand, were more more of a moral people. Philosophically, they believed in the simple life. They believed in living a controlled life. And that, you know, stoic. Even today, when we use that phrase, refers to someone that doesn’t show much emotion. So they didn’t believe in showing much emotion and certainly did not believe in worship. So you got the Epicurean philosophers, the stoic philosophers, and notice what they say. Verse 18, what does this babbler want to say? Others said he seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods because he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection. And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine is of which you speak, for you are bringing some strange things to our ears.

Ed Taylor (00:44:40) – Therefore we want to know what these things mean for all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear of some new thing. While this missionary trip started with a closed door, it continued with amazing open doors. This is a huge open door to have an audience with all the philosophers of the day. And they’re asking him, tell us, tell us, tell us. And I think this is interesting in verse 20 where it says some strange thing. When they heard the gospel, they weren’t they were familiar with the synagogue. They were familiar with Judaism, they were familiar with God of the universe. And when Paul comes and begins to speak about the resurrection, it pricks their ears. We want to hear about that. Which tells us in our own culture. That it’s important that we recognize and value the person that’s in front of us and not belittle them or make fun of them. If they may say to you that they haven’t heard the gospel before.

Ed Taylor (00:45:42) – Because I know when you’re out sharing the gospel and again in our next study, we’ll put some pieces together and I’ll give you a little bit more. But as we’re interfacing with people’s lives and we’re connecting with them, you have this assumption perhaps everybody’s heard the gospel. Nobody needs to hear it. We live in a Christian nation. And no, no, no, no, that that is not the way it is in the world. If if you still believe that you haven’t been interacting with unbelievers very much, because most people have not heard a clear, loving presentation of the gospel, what the world usually gets from the media or from other believers is actually just a caricature of Christianity. The world makes fun of Christianity. The church is seen as not good and not valuable. So that’s not something we can lead with. We’ve got to lead with the love of God. We’ve got to lead with the love of God for the person in front of us. And we was like, what do you mean? You’ve never heard the gospel before? No.

Ed Taylor (00:46:37) – Most of the interactions that the world has with people that say they’re Christians can be rather hypocritical and not reflective of Jesus. Like, sometimes people can’t get to Jesus because they can’t get through you and your life. I mean, think about it. Some people, their only interactions with Christians are on I-25 and they just always seem to be getting cut off on the lane by Christians. It’s always Christians. It’s always Christians. How do you know? Because everybody that that cuts them off has a little bumper sticker on their car. God’s not finished with me yet. God’s mind. And then you’re the person behind you is like God, would you finish with them and teach them how to drive? Like finish with them already? And the church is only known by the negativity of our culture, so it is strange. Listen. It is strange for so many when you step into their life loving them more than you love yourself. The agape love of God is strange to a culture that loves themselves. So don’t think that everybody’s heard or everybody is like, you know, you just here’s the thing, just be obedient.

Ed Taylor (00:47:46) – In my own experience. I knew. That my life was upside down. I knew it. And out of the blue. My phone rings. From a guy I hadn’t heard in years. A Christian. Rings my phone, invites himself over to my house. But he has no idea what’s going on in my life. None. Zero. He just probably heard a Bible study from Pastor Jeff that said, find the worst sinner in your life and call him. And my phone rings. He has no idea what’s going on in my life. But you know who does? God. God knows. And church. The world in which we live needs you. You need the world. This is the place where we live out our lives, where we are not caught up in things that might take us away from God, but truly, we’re caught up in the sense of seek ye first the kingdom of God. Only one life will soon be passed, and only what’s done for Christ will last. This is where Paul is.

Ed Taylor (00:48:58) – He’s not provoked where he’s just going to go. I can’t believe you. Bunch of idolaters. What’s your problem? You don’t know Jesus. I don’t have time for you. That’s not what he does. He doesn’t start criticizing the culture. And you can read ahead on how he opens his mouth and begins to share. But he doesn’t start criticizing. He doesn’t start pointing the finger when he’s provoked or exasperated. When he’s moved with emotion, he’s moved to reach and to share and to love and to care, which we will get into in a much deeper way in our next study. So, father, we are in a place of reception today as we come to the communion table. Forgive us, God, for being perhaps a part of the caricature. For living life, sometimes in our flesh and not in your spirit. For being the one that. Maybe doesn’t drive in a way that honors you, or doesn’t speak in a way that honors you, or doesn’t love in a way that honors you.

Ed Taylor (00:49:55) – We realize that you’re not done with this yet. But it’s not something to glory in. It’s something that would bring us to our knees. And humility and brokenness. We want God to be used in these final days. We want our lives to make a difference. We wanted to start at home. And then spread out beyond home and and into our known world. We want to make a difference in the city in which we live. Green Valley Ranch or Aurora or or Park or Castle Rock, Highlands Ranch, Denver, whatever it might be. Watkins and Bennett and all the towns out east. We want to make a difference, Lord. You know our hearts. And so as we come to the communion table in remembrance of you, you can minister to us as we open ourselves to a work of your spirit. In Jesus name, Amen.

Host (00:50:52) – We pray that you’ve been encouraged by this Bible study, delivered live from the Sanctuary of Calvary Church for prayer. Call us at 87730. Grace. That’s (877) 304-7223.

Host (00:51:08) – To listen to this message in its entirety or to join us for our live stream services, visit us online at Calvary Coat Church or download our free Calvary Church app. Be blessed as you worship Jesus this week.



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