Sam Lopez In this talk, young adult leader Sam Lopez teaches that Christians are called to invade culture, not hide from it. Sam works as a youth pastor at Hope Center Arts church in Jersey City, NJ.
PASSAGE | Acts 17:16-34
Acts 17:16-34 ESV  So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there.  Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, “What does this babbler wish to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection.  And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting?  For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.”  Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.  So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious.  For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.  The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,  nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.  And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,  that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,  for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’  Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man.  The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent,  because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”  Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.”  So Paul went out from their midst.  But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.
In the passage, Acts 17:16 ,we’re told that when Paul arrived at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him by what he observed in the city…what things do you see in our culture that bother your spirit?
Paul then finds himself “reasoning” with the religious people of his day while in the synagogue and whoever was present in the marketplace. Why do you think the Bible describes what Paul was doing as “reasoning” and what do you think that consists of?
What is the difference between reasoning and preaching?
Why do you think it’s important for us as Christians to be able to “reason” with believers and non-believers alike?
In your opinion, what is the current spiritual condition of your campus?
Why do you think it’s important for you to engage the world, and your campus around you?
From my observation, most Christians tend to be bold when around other Christians or in church but tend to be timid about their faith when around non-believers. Why do you think that’s so?
What are some practical ways that we, as Christians, can build ourselves up in order to be able to reason with those around us?
What are some practical things we can do to engage the world, our culture, and our campus in hopes of reaching people for Jesus Christ?
In Acts 17, Paul had something to say to the world around him…what are some things you hope your life speaks to the world around you?