Paul and Silas in Thessalonica
 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews.  And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures,  explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.”  And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women.  But the Jews were jealous, and taking some wicked men of the rabble, they formed a mob, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason, seeking to bring them out to the crowd.  And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also,  and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.”  And the people and the city authorities were disturbed when they heard these things.  And when they had taken money as security from Jason and the rest, they let them go.
Paul and Silas in Berea
 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue.  Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.  Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men.  But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was proclaimed by Paul at Berea also, they came there too, agitating and stirring up the crowds.  Then the brothers immediately sent Paul off on his way to the sea, but Silas and Timothy remained there.  Those who conducted Paul brought him as far as Athens, and after receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible, they departed. (ESV)
- Women and Jesus
Twice in this text, Luke mentions that powerful and influential women were coming to faith in Jesus through the ministry of Paul. These simple details contradict many misrepresentations of the Gospel and Christian theology. First, the Gospel was attractive to both men and women, rich and poor. Second, these leading, influential, and financially independent women did not see the Gospel or the Church as a threat to their womanhood. Rather, many of them enthusiastically embraced the Gospel and a Christian worldview. Far from feeling repressed, these women of high standing were compelled by the Gospel.
- An ad hominem compliment
When an individual engaged in a debate can no longer defend their position or overcome their opponent’s arguement, they often resort to personal attacks. It is essentially an admittance of defeat. These sorts of attacks are not uncommon in Acts. Paul had clearly demonstrated from the Old Testament that Jesus was the Christ. When his opponents could not disprove his argument, they sought to discredit the character of his team by causing a public uproar. This is the ad hominem compliment.
- The political Gospel
We are often told that the Gospel is not political. That, however, is a misrepresentation of the Gospel and would have made no sense to the early Church; Luke highlights this fact for us in the text. The Church was rightly accused of claiming that Jesus was King and that Caesar was not. The implications of such a claim “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6). It was not a simple misunderstanding but rather an accurate assessment of the Gospel which commands every knee to bow to him and all tongues confess that he alone is Lord, not Caesar.
- How do the numerous influential women coming to faith in this text contradict modern objections to Christianity?
- What is an ad hominem argument? Have you ever been on the receiving end of such an argument? How might you respond in the future when you find yourself being accused?
- What does this text teach us about the political nature and implications of the Gospel?
Call to Worship
 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
 If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you. (ESV)
Prayer of Confession
Gracious Lord, you alone are righteous and holy, and in your presence, no one can stand. Your gracious mercy is our only hope and we ask for your forgiveness. We pray for your cleansing touch to wash away our corruption, clothe us in righteousness, and for your hands to rework our lives anew. We pray these things in Jesus Christ's holy name. Amen.
Family Discipleship Weekly Resources
Family Discipleship Weekly Resources are tools for families to use to help connect Sunday’s sermon to the rest of your week, fostering conversations and habits of worship.