This Sunday guest speaker Brad Rose explored the apostle Paul’s experience in Athens and how he used his time waiting there for his friends as an opportunity to share the gospel with those who would listen. He spoke to them using language and concepts that they could understand, and rather than making a harsh call toward repentance, he urged them to take up a new perspective. However, responses to his message varied. Some people sneered. Others were curious and wanted to hear more. And a few even became disciples (Acts 17:32-34). What can we learn from this about how people respond to the message of Jesus today?
Have you ever tried to talk to someone about your faith and had it go completely wrong? What were your thoughts and feelings afterward?
Looking at Scripture:
Read the parable of the sower in Luke 8:4-15. What do you think is the point of the parable? What is Jesus trying to teach his disciples and the crowd?
Read Acts 17:1-15 (the passage that comes immediately before Paul’s experience in Athens that we studied Sunday). How do you see the parable of the sower come to life in what is described here?
Often we judge our success in sharing our faith based on the reaction of the people we’re sharing with. We assume that if they accept it, we did it right. If they have questions or reject what we have to say, we assume we did it wrong. These passages make it clear that we aren’t to judge the quality of the “seed” by the results. What do you think is the best way to judge success when it comes to sharing the message of Jesus?
The parable of the sower describes four possible outcomes to the planting of God’s word:
1. The devil comes and takes away the seeds so they can’t believe and be saved.
2. They believe for a while, but in a time of testing they fall away.
3. Their faith is choked by life’s worries, riches, and pleasures.
4. They retain the word and by persevering produce a crop.
How have you seen those scenarios played out in your own life or the life of people you know?
What do you think we can do as we share the message of Jesus to give it the best chance to take root and grow?
What kinds of things might we do/say that might lead to it being stolen, shallow, or choked out?
What situation has God placed you in that might be an opportunity to share your faith through words and/or actions?