Teaching Series
Sunday—Culture Makers: The Elite

Series: Advancing
Message: Culture Makers: The Elite
Preacher: Japhet De Oliveira
Reflection: Paddy McCoy
Live Wonder: Jessyka Albert
Live Adventure: Jessyka Albert
Live Purpose: Kyle Smith
Editor: Becky De Oliveira

Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.

Read: Acts 17:16–33 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.

Reflect: I remember receiving my first Bible when I was 5 years old. It was blue, with a picture of Jesus feeding the five thousand on the cover, and it even came with a zipper that opened and closed it. I loved having my very own Bible, even though I couldn’t read very well just yet. And since I didn’t know what all was on each page, I once mistook my Bible for the hymnal during church, shoving my open Bible into my mother’s face because I thought the song we were singing must have come directly from whatever random page I had opened my Bible.

How do you read, listen, and receive God’s Word? In Chapter 17 of the book of Acts, we find three very different responses to hearing the Gospel.  

In Thessalonica, when Paul, Timothy, and Silas preached about the Christ for three weeks in the synagogue, the Jews who were there became angry. In fact, they weren’t just angry; the word Luke uses to describe how they felt is the Greek word, zaloó, an onomatopoetic word that is supposed to imitate the sound of boiling water. The Jews in Thessalonica were angry at the message from Paul and in their anger, they stirred up a crowd to attack him and the other disciples and anyone harboring them.

In the next city, Berea, the Jews had a different response to hearing the Gospel. Instead of becoming angry and attacking those carrying the message, the passage says they “received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” Instead of a visceral response, they listened to what Paul and the others had to say, examined these assertions for themselves to see if these things were true, and as a result, a great many of them believed.

In Athens, a city that we could compare with modern-day New York, Los Angeles, or Milan (a hub of fashion, philosophy, and idolatry), Paul again preached the Gospel message and the Athenians wanted to hear more because, as the Word says, they were obsessed with “telling or hearing something new.” They loved hearing new ideas, but they didn’t seem to change much because of them. They loved the talk, but they didn’t walk the walk. As a result, a few were converted, but not many.

So how do you read, listen to, and hear the Word of God? With openness? Does reading it sometimes cause you to make a change in your life? Or does it make you angry because it doesn’t conform with your preconceived ideas of how the world works?

Recalibrate: Do you remember your first Bible? Is it as special to you now as it was when you first received it? Why or why not?

Respond: Pray that we all may read and receive the Word of God as the Jews in Berea did, with openness and a willingness to dig deeper for even greater understanding and faith.

Research: Look into what the city of Athens was like at this time. What might Paul have observed as he walked its streets?

This week as you go through the Daily Walk with your child, open a physical Bible. Put your phone or computer to the side. Turn the pages, or let your child turn the pages to find the book of Acts.

Do you have your very own Bible? If you do, what is it like? What color is it? Does it have pictures? If you don’t have a Bible, ask your parents or pastor if they can get you one! What is special about the Bible? Ask your parents what their favorite Bible verse is and why. Do you have a favorite Bible verse?

Reading the Bible can stir up all sorts of emotions in people; anger, joy, happiness, confusion. Is reading the Bible a part of your life? Do you take time to be in God’s word? If so, what emotions does it stir in you?

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