Eighth Leadership Training: Discernment Team Workshop on August 23, 2014, 7:30 pm – 10 pm in Midtown, CA
Task Five: Developing a Plan
Step One: Preparing to Develop a Mission Plan
Areopagus (Ares = Greek god of war, Pagus = Rock; “Mars Hills” in Romans: Areios Pagos Ἄρειος Πάγος) is a bare marble hill across from the entrance to the Acropolis (means “upper city”) in Athens, center of whole region.
Mars Hills served as the meeting place for the Areopagus Court, the highest court in Greece for civil, criminal, and religious matters.
Holy Spirit led Apostle Paul to Athens to evangelize the city. This sermon is one of Paul’s most significant gospel messages to the public.
The city was filled with religious idolatry of the Greeks where there was an altar to the “Unknown God” which was Paul’s starting point in proclaiming the true God and how they could be reconciled to Him.
– Paul makes the altar of idolatry as his starting point.
– Paul delivers the gospel in a logical and biblical fashion.
– Paul addresses the false beliefs.
– Paul argues in the Synagogue with Jews and Gentiles.
– Paul also proclaims the gospel at the market place daily with those who happened to be there (v. 17)
– Paul encounters some Epicurean and Stoic philosophers (v. 18).
Epicurean philosophers: Disciples of the Greek Philosopher Epicurus (341-270 BC); God exists but not interested or involved with humanity; They denied that the world is created by God, and so they thought human affairs were not governed by heavenly providence; The main purpose of life was pleasure.
Stoic philosophers: Stoicism was founded by a Greek Thinker, Zeno of Citium around 300 BC; “God was the world’s soul”; They believed that the world was subject to the providence of God but denied God’s wisdom, justice, and power; They placed the highest good in virtue, but they did not know what true virtue (behavior showing high moral standards)was; The goal of life was “to rise above all things” so that one showed no emotional response to either pain or pleasure.
– These two opposite philosophers loved to debate philosophy and religion. They were intrigued by Paul’s “babblings” about the resurrection of Christ and brought him to the Areopagus where the Athenians and foreigners “spent their time in nothing else but to tell or hear some new thing” (v. 21).
– Paul identifies with his audience and as an example of apologetics in action.
– Paul observes his audience as “very religious” based on the fact that they had many altars and “objects of worship” (v. 23).
– Paul teaches and corrects their wrong view of God with Genesis and creation story. Paul attracted them by introducing who God is, what they were needed to know.
– Paul explains the sovereign God as the Creator of all life and things.
– Paul explains that God is not served by human hands.
– Paul explains it was God who created from one man to all nations, and even set time and boundaries of their dwellings (v. 26). So that men should seek Him (v. 27).
– Paul further explains that the closeness of God and their need to repent of their rebellion against Him.
– Paul completes his message by introducing them to the One before whom they would all stand one day and be judged—Jesus Christ, whom God had raised from the dead.
Result of Proclamation:
1. Some believed and saved.
2. Others mocked and rejected his message.
3. Some others were open-minded and desired to hear more: They may or may not have a second chance because,
Hebrew 3:15 says: “Today if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in rebellion.”
Paul’s message was a call to repentance and acceptance of the two fundamental truths of Scripture—Crucifixion and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
1. What is Paul’s Mission Plan? Does it show awareness of context and culture? What are our cultural realities?
Paul’s mission plan was totally controlled by the Holy Spirit who directs and provides all wisdom and strategies. As Paul prepared his heart to go beyond what he can handle, the Holy Spirit opened the door of evangelism in a very mystical and powerful way. Paul was not afraid of confronting with cultural biases and unexpected missional challenges in the context of his situation and environment because he was full of boldness, faith and love.
2. How will we build relationships with those identified in the Vision?
We need to examine our target people in many different ways, angles and approaches as we realize that building relationship each other in the community is the fastest and most effective way of evangelism.
3. How can they be introduced to Jesus?
We need to be friends with them first and be able to speak Jesus boldly without compromise just like Paul when the right time of harvest comes.
How Apostle Paul confessed?
To the weak I became weak, so that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some. – 1 Cor. 9:22, NRSV
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. – Gal. 2:20, NKJV
– born after 1980 and before 2000 — estimated to number at least 80 million Americans, more than the baby boomers.
– Mottos: “Confident. Connected. Open to Change”
– skeptical of institutions — political and religious — and prefers to improvise (right away without preparation) solutions to the challenges of the moment.
– “Almost two-thirds (64 percent) of Millennials said they would rather make $40,000 a year at a job they love than $100,000 a year at a job they think is boring,” according to the Brookings Institution.
– prefer to buy online or get “disposable” clothing at H & M or Zara, which boasts that its organically farmed cottons are “completely free of pesticides, chemicals and bleach.”
– “responded with increased trust (91 percent) and loyalty (89 percent), as well as a stronger likelihood to buy from those companies that supported solutions to specific social issues (89 percent).”
– “For Millennials, food isn’t just food. It’s community,” They like vegetarian and gluten-free diets for their health concern.
– “Millennials are the nation’s most dogged optimists,” as Pew reported in a new study this spring. “They believe their own best days are ahead.”