Both the Weds. night group in Avon Lake, and Weds. Confessing My Faith Group discussed how to discuss the existence of God with people who don’t even believe that God exists. Below is the deeply philosophical “Cosmological Argument” for the existence of God. Remember, this discussion is the beginning point and is by no means exhaustive. Below is borrowed from Dr. DA Carson of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield IL.:
1. Some things undeniably exist. (I exist)
2. My nonexistence is possible (One day I will die)
3. Whatever has the possibility to not exist is currently caused to exist by another. (I have a heritage – parents, grandparents etc.)
4. There cannot be an infinite regress of current causes of existence. (The is a logical starting point)
5. Therefore, a first uncaused cause of my current existence exists.
6 This uncaused cause must be infinite, unchanging, all-powerful, all – knowing, all benevolent, and all perfect.
7. This in finely perfect being is appropriately called “God”.
8. Therefore, God exists.
9. This God who exists is identical to the God described in the Christian Scriptures.
10. Therefore, the God as described in the Bible exists.
Paul visited Corinth after leaving Athens, as one of the last cities he evangelized on his second missionary journey. Corinth had the political prestige of being the capital city of Achaia and boasted of its wealth and culture. It was also a great commercial and trade centre, situated between two ports, positioned ideally to take the gospel ‘to the ends of the earth’. Corinth was widely associated with immorality. The temple of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, stood behind the city and was served by a thousand female slaves who roamed the streets as prostitutes. It was into this culture that Paul ‘decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and much fear and trembling…’ (1Corin. 2:2-3)
1. Look back over Paul’s second missionary journey and the five main cities he visited (Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens and Corinth – 16:6-18:22). Summarize briefly the themes Luke has been developing in these chapters.
2. Identify how, on this second journey, each hindrance to the gospel and rejection of it opened up new opportunities for ministry.
3. How does this encourage you as you/we face opposition to the gospel, both individually and corporately?
4. How do we even see that opposition to the gospel has brought encouragement to Paul in 18:1-4?
5. What now familiar pattern of Paul’s ministry does Luke describe in vv. 5-11? What evidence is there to encourage Paul that this was the right decision?
6. What do you think is significant about the actions of Gallio in vv. 12-17?
7. We have seen in these last chapters, and will see increasingly in Acts, that Paul had to defend himself before secular rulers. In what ways do we see the secular authorities interacting with the gospel today in our culture?
9. In a sentence or two, summarize the main point (the ‘big idea’) of this passage.
O God, the source of eternal light: Shed forth your unending day upon us who watch for you, that our lips may praise you, our lives may bless you, and our worship on the morrow give you glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
In honor of Jon Bon Jovi who turned 50 with me this year – aren’t we all Livin’ on a Prayer!
This Week’s Text – Read and ask the Lord to prepare your heart for what He wants for you as you gather with God’s people this upcoming Lord’s Day (Sunday) March 25, 2012
Acts 18: 1- 17 “Reviving God’s people”
[18:1] After this Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.  And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. And he went to see them,  and because he was of the same trade he stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade.  And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks.
 When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with the word, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus.  And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”  And he left there and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. His house was next door to the synagogue.  Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with his entire household. And many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized.  And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent,  for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.”  And he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.
 But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him before the tribunal,  saying, “This man is persuading people to worship God contrary to the law.”  But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of wrongdoing or vicious crime, O Jews, I would have reason to accept your complaint.  But since it is a matter of questions about words and names and your own law, see to it yourselves. I refuse to be a judge of these things.”  And he drove them from the tribunal.  And they all seized Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the tribunal. But Gallio paid no attention to any of this.
(Acts 18:1-17 ESV)
Paul’s speech at Mars Hill: Texts to present your faith to a person with little understanding of the real Christian faith. 2 Ways to Live – Here is the link from Mathias Media in Sydney
1. Rev. 4:11
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God,to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”
2. Romans 3:10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;
3. Hebrews 9:27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,
4. 1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,
5. 1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead
6. John 3:36
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
 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.
[18:1] After this Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.
(Acts 17:22-18:1 ESV)
Some questions to ponder from yesterday’s text: Acts 17:1 – 15
1. Briefly summarize the passage. What are the main ideas / themes emphasized in this section?
2. How is Paul’s plan for sharing the gospel in Thessalonica described? What was the response and the result (vv. 1-9)?
3. What is noteworthy about the people in Berea? What was the response to and the result of Paul’s ministry there?