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What the Apostle Paul Would Say to Your City

Aug 17, 2007
There world has never seen an evengelist as powerfully effective as the apostle Paul.

In the 17th chapter of the Book of Acts, which records the history and growth of the early church, Paul gives a sermon that stood the whole city upsside down. What is so interesting about it is the way, before speaking, the Apostle carefully walked across Athens, observing all the cultural nuances of the day.

He was able then to take those observances and to weave reference to them into his message, applying the Word with a relevance that immediately got the attention of his audience.

I got to thinking about that message the other day and wonder what Paul would say is he was to walk the streets of my town. Or your town. I think we would be as shocked and inspired as the people of Athens were almost 2,000 years ago.

Follow along below:

I call this "If Paul was speaking today" and it is a modern fill-in-the-blanks parable for your city, as adapted from Acts 17:16-34:

"While Paul was waiting for them in (insert your CITY here) he was greatly distressed to see that the cities were full of idols.

So he visited various churches and talked to the pastors and religious leaders and as many religious organizations as he could about what was wrong with their society and he ended up as a guest on a TV talk show watched by many of the people of the community.

For it was television that was the marketplace of that culture and the media reporters and anchors were the philosophers of the land.

These philosophers of your day known as anchors - were very secular. Some, called liberals, prided themselves on their great tolerance and openness to all ideas - except from those who claimed there was such a thing as ultimate truth or absolute right or wrong.

A few others, called conservatives, held that society should operate with the fewest rules possible and man should be able to do whatever seems best to him so that most of the goods and possessions and riches of the culture would go to those who earned them."

On the talk show they confronted Paul.
"What is this you are advocating?" they asked him, for they loved to sensationalize and talk of controversial things that brought conflict and drama and emotion.
"You seem to be telling us that we are living life in the wrong way, as if YOU have a better idea."

Paul then looked directly at the camera.

"People of America - of (insert your CITY and your STATE). I see you are in every way a society seeking to improve itself. I see your temples to Mammon - the god of money - on seemingly every corner, some with drive in windows so you need not even get out of your conveyance to do your financial transactions.

I pass by a great many places you call health clubs and fitness centers that honor Aphrodite, your goddess of love and beauty and sexual rapture. There are your shopping temples and theatres worshipping Dionysos, your wine god and god of entertainment who causes people to behave in strange ways, driven by drunken-like desires to possess things and feelings far in excess of what is needed.

"You have so many gods that I even saw, affixed to the chrome strip at the end of one of your favorite altars - the conveyance you call the automobile - a sticker, a bumper sticker with this inscription: 'He who dies with the most toys wins.'

"But I am here to tell you that as much as you worship yourselves, you are not God. And the living God, who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and can not be kept in a box or controlled by your money and intellect and pride. All those things you worship you can not take with you when you die. All those things you have prostituted your life to obtain are worthless when God, in his time and season, stops overlooking your self-indulgence and pride and comes to demand an accounting of how you have spent your lives.

"And if you have spent them - squandered them - worshipping the false gods on the worthless altars of your culture - then people of (insert YOUR state) people of America - then you will discover that it is too late.

"Well," said the talk show host. "We are re out of time for this program. Maybe we will have you back again someday to talk more about this. But now - a word from our sponsor."

The camera turned off. And Paul left the TV station.
Only a few people heard what he said. The rest went back to their false gods and misplaced altars.
About the Author
The author is a pastor and the publisher of the Online Christian Shopper Christian clothing and jewelry Web portal.
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