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Do You Have a Noble Character? 

Acts 17.1–15

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • April 30, In the year of our Lord, 2017

Song Leader and Song Suggestions: Larry Amberg – Anything on the Scriptures


  1. Acts 17.1–4 | The Christ Had to Suffer

    1 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. 2 Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.” 4 And some of them were persuaded; and a great multitude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women, joined Paul and Silas.

    1. Paul, Silas, Timothy, and Luke left Philippi,
      1. going through Amphipolis and Apollonia, and
      2. decided to stay in Thessalonica.
    2. In Thessalonica, they found a synagogue of the Jews.
      1. Perhaps that is why they stayed in Thessalonica.
      2. Anyway, Paul went to the synagogue as was his custom, and
        1. reasoned with the Jews for three Sabbaths from the Scriptures,
          1. that the Christ had to suffer,
          2. that the Christ would rise again from the dead, and
          3. that Jesus is the Christ.
        2. Paul explained and demonstrated these things to be so.
    3. Paul’s reasoning from the Scriptures and
      1. explaining and demonstrating
      2. how Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled the Scriptures, persuaded
        1. some of the Jews and
        2. a large number of devout Greeks.
          1. Several leading women also joined with Paul and Silas.
  2. Acts 17.5–9 | Turning the World Upside Down

    5 But the Jews who were not persuaded, becoming envious, took some of the evil men from the marketplace, and gathering a mob, set all the city in an uproar and attacked the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. 6 But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too. 7 Jason has harbored them, and these are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king—Jesus.” 8 And they troubled the crowd and the rulers of the city when they heard these things. 9 So when they had taken security from Jason and the rest, they let them go.

    1. When the Faith spreads, opposition arises quickly.
    2. Some of the Jews in the synagogue
      1. did not believe what Paul taught during those three Sabbaths.
      2. His reasoning, explaining, and demonstrating did not persuade them.
        1. They could not leave the matter alone, but
        2. seeing the popularity of the Good News of Jesus Christ spreading, and
          1. that it pulled in Greeks,
          2. became envious, for
            1. they had never experienced such popularity or influence.
            2. Therefore, they did what they thought they had to do
              1. to silence the preachers of this new Faith.
    3. They went into the marketplace and
      1. found evil men who formed a mob, and
      2. set the city in an uproar,
        1. attacking the house of Jason,
        2. who had evidently received the preaching team, but
          1. they could not find the preachers in Jason’s home.
          2. News of the church and its message
            1. spread quickly through the Roman Empire, and
            2. not only did the Jews fear it, so did the Romans.
    4. Therefore, these Jews knew
      1. that if they could get the evil men from the marketplace
        1. to show how the preachers and the church threatened Rome,
        2. they could persuade the rulers of the city to stop it.
      2. If the preachers had turned the world upside down in other places,
        1. they will do so here in Thessalonica, and
        2. Jason had hosted these men.
      3. They charged that the preachers acted contrary to the decrees of Caesar,
        1. declaring that another king existed, known as Jesus.
        2. That did it.
          1. That troubled the crowd of Romans, and
          2. it troubled the rulers of the city, for
            1. if they did not do something about the preachers, and
            2. about Jason who embraced these preachers,
              1. the city would be in trouble with Rome, and
              2. Rome did not merely threaten to withhold federal dollars.
    5. Therefore, to avert political disaster,
      1. the Romans took security from Jason and others
      2. who embraced the preachers, and then
        1. let them go, because
        2. Jason and the others would not host the preachers again.
  3. Acts 17.10 | Fleeing Jews to Speak to Jews

    10 Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews.

    1. Therefore, the brethren, the new converts,
      1. knew where to find Paul and Silas, and
      2. got them out of town quickly, doing it by night.
        1. The brethren sent the preachers in the direction of Berea.
        2. Once they arrived in Berea,
          1. they did as elsewhere and
          2. went into the synagogue to bring the Good News of Jesus
            1. to the Jews first, as it is written,

              16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek (Rom 1.16).

              26 “To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities” (Acts 3.26).

    2. Would the evangelists run into the same troubles in this synagogue?
  4. Acts 17.11–12 | Fair-Minded People

    11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. 12 Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men.

    1. The preachers found reasonable, Scripture-believing Jews in synagogues, but
      1. this synagogue seemed to be filled with Jews
      2. who were open to whatever the Scriptures taught.
        1. Did they have a rabbi who encouraged this?
        2. Was it simply the personality of the congregation?
    2. These Jews were fair or noble-minded, more so than the ones in Thessalonica,
      1. they received the word,
      2. they received the word with all readiness, and
        1. they showed their receptivity by
        2. listening to the preachers, and then
          1. searching the Scriptures everyday
          2. to discover whether the evangelists spoke the truth.
    3. What result did that bring?
      1. Many of them believed.
      2. Greeks also found out what Paul and Silas taught, and
        1. they believed also,
        2. including prominent women and men.
  5. Acts 17.13 | Stirring Up the Crowds Again

    13 But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was preached by Paul at Berea, they came there also and stirred up the crowds.

    1. The Jews back at Thessalonica were not content to be rid of the preachers, for
      1. the church had already been established there, and
      2. they saw that they had to stop this new thing wherever it showed up.
    2. They got word that Paul preached in Berea just like he did in Thessalonica.
      1. Therefore, Jews traveled from Thessalonica to Berea, and
      2. stirred up crowds there.
  6. Acts 17.14–15 | The Preaching Team Keeps Moving

    14 Then immediately the brethren sent Paul away, to go to the sea; but both Silas and Timothy remained there. 15 So those who conducted Paul brought him to Athens; and receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him with all speed, they departed.

    1. The persecution got bad enough that Paul had to get out of town.
      1. Again it was the brethren sending him away,
      2. caring for his safety, because
        1. he probably would have stayed,
        2. since persecution did not stop him, or even make him flinch.
    2. They sent Paul away by sea, but
      1. Silas and Timothy stayed in Thessalonica, because
      2. they did not speak as much as Paul, and
        1. did not suffer the same degree of opposition.
    3. Brethren from the Berean Church took Paul to Athens.
      1. However, he did not like being without Silas and Timothy, and
      2. he wanted them to report on how the church was doing after he left.
        1. He sent a message back with the local brethren
        2. to send Silas and Timothy to him as quickly as possible.
          1. Paul reminded the Thessalonians of these things
          2. in First Thessalonians 2–3.


  1. The Christ had to suffer; His followers will have to suffer. 
    1. He had warned them of persecution,

      20 “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also” (John 15.20).
    2. Why then should we think that we do not have to suffer?
  2. The world sees us as a threat. 
    1. Two reports have been published recently that show the extensive persecution in America.
    2. Why are they doing these things?
      1. They see us as turning the world upside down.
  3. Have a noble mind by being open-minded. 
    1. In reference to the Scriptures in particular.
  4. Do not stir people up with disinformation, nor fall for disinformation. 
  5. Continue to look for new people on whom you can do good works and that you can later teach.