Acts 17:29-34, Don’t despise the day of small things.
“29 ‘Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone – an image made by human design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.’ 32 When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, ‘We want to hear you again on this subject.’ 33 At that, Paul left the Council. 34 Some of the people became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others.” NIV UK
Elsewhere in Acts you can read about huge numerical responses to the preaching about Jesus. Here a ‘’few’’ believed (34). However, Luke describes what happened in a matter of fact way. He doesn’t write in disparaging terms. He doesn’t despise the day of small things. He doesn’t say it was ‘only’ a few. No, there were converts. That is always a cause for celebration, whether the haul is miraculous or sparse. Can you not see the significance of a man like ‘Dionysius’ coming to faith? He was ‘a member of the Areopagus’. Wouldn’t you like to know more about his story, and the influence he wielded going forward? What trials must he have faced? What sort of pressures came upon him? Let’s be encouraged to keep sowing the seed. Some will fall on good soil and bear fruit. Believe it.
The message Paul preached had a contemporary relevance. As we have seen, Paul built a bridge between his mind and the minds of his listeners. He spoke in a way they could relate to, but he did not fail to say some unpopular things (and they are unpopular still):
God is the Creator;
We are accountable to our Creator;
We are guilty of idolatry and we will be judged;
Jesus is alive and is the ‘’proof’’ (31) that we will face judgment;
We must repent.
I keep saying ‘we’ because this sermon is just as applicable in modern Britain which also is ‘’full of idols’’ (16b). We need this clarion call to turn back to the true and living God (1 Thessalonians 1:9).
Preach this message, and there will be a mixed response here also (32-34)