The Importance of Repentance
J. Gerald Harris
The apostle Paul was an itinerant preacher. He went from country to country and city to city preaching the gospel and planting churches. In the 17th chapter of the book of Acts, we find the record of three major stops that Paul made on his second missionary journey.
The first stop that he made was in Thessalonica. And the Bible says that ''for three sabbath days he reasoned with them out of the scriptures.'' I want you to notice the kind of response that he got. Look in Acts 17:4 (read).
Now, I would say that was a pretty good response. Paul's message was received by some, but it was resisted by others. In fact, if you read the next few verses you will find that Paul's message so stirred up some of the people in Thessalonica that the whole city was in an uproar. It just seems that everywhere that Paul went there was either a riot or a revival.
The next place that Paul stopped in our chapter was Berea. Paul got a great reception in Berea. Look at verses 11 and 12 (read). Wasn't that great? They ''received the word with all readiness of mind.''
Of course, if you read the following verse you will find that some of those rebel rowsers over in Thessalonica could not leave well enough alone, and they came over to Berea and stirred up the people there. That prompted Paul to leave Berea and go to Athens.
Now, Athens was the intellectual and the cultural center of Greece. Athens was the greatest university town in the world.
Now, if Paul had good success in Thessalonica and great success in Berea, we're going to discover that he had very little success in Athens. The spiritual climate in Athens must have been comparable to the spiritual climate that prevails in America today. Athens was a hard nut to crack. It was not easy to get the people of Athens to turn their hearts toward God.
So, first of all, I want you to see
I. PAUL'S AGONY
In Acts 17:16 we're told that Paul's ''spirit was ...
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