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Cracking the Hard Shell of Idolatry

by Rev. Kirby Williams

Exposing how modern-day idolatry de-sensitizes people to the Gospel.

Text: Acts 17:16-31
Date: 05/19/2019, the Evening service.
Occasion: Missions Conference

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In this Missions-emphasis meditation, we will study Paul's address to the Greek philosophers at the Aeropagus in Athens. We will note particularly how he uses their own idols and literature to expose them to the truth of the Gospel. These methods will form the backdrop to a discussion of idolatry in our own time and how it has exactly the same effect it did in Paul's day-- to form a hard outer shell that stands between the unbeliever and the truth about God. We will then discuss evangelism methodologies designed to crack this hard outer shell and expose those trapped by their own idols to the liberating and saving grace of the Gospel.

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I. Introduction
II. Meditation on Acts 17:16-31.
A. Context
B. Paul confronts the idolatry of Athens.
1. Paul's vexation, vs. 16.
2. Working in Athens, vs. 17-21.
a. In the synagogue, vs. 17a.
b. In the market place, vs. 17b.
c. Confronting the culture, vs. 18a.
i. The Epicureans.
ii. The Stoics.
d. Reaction to Paul's teaching, vs. 18b-20.
3. At the Aeropagus, vs. 22-31.
a. Paul's evangelistic methodology, vs. 22-28.
i. Making a connection.
ii. Finding a "hammer".
• The idol of the unknown god, vs. 22-23.
• Starting with the transcendent God, vs. 24-26.
• Ending with the immanent God, vs. 27-28a.
• Made in His image, vs. 28b.
b. Destroying idols, vs. 29-31.
i. The degrading nature of idols, vs. 29.
ii. The razor's edge of the Gospel, vs. 30.
iii. The Gospel of Jesus Christ, vs. 31.
III. Application
A. A little history: searching for a solution.
1. Starting with God.
2. Focused on the Bible.
3. The power of "story".
4. The importance of personal evangelism.
5. The "missing link".
B. Finding the crack and wielding the hammer!
1. Exposing their idols.
2. Exposing their worship.
3. Exposing their slavery, John 8:34.
4. Exposing their hard outer shell.
5. Sharing the Good News.
6. Praying for the Holy Spirit to do His work.
7. Implementing a "follow-up" plan.
IV. Conclusion

The Preaching Ministry of Kirby Williams

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