PaulMarsHill2First let’s set the stage.

The Apostle Paul has been run out of town. In Philippi (Acts 16) he converts many, including a woman named Lydia and a jailor.

After a short stint in jail, he heads to Thessalonica (Acts 17:1), preaches the Gospel, perturbs the Jews, and is persecuted with threats of peril to his person.

From there he heads to Berea (17:10), who, as we probably can recall, were more noble than those in Thessalonica because they received the Word with all readiness of mind and searched the Scriptures daily to see if the things Paul was teaching was true.

But while in Berea, the Jews he angered in Thessalonica came from two towns over just to yell and scream and run him down. Not content with persecuting him at home, they try to persecute him there.

What we learn from Paul, however, is that you can yell and scream and say all kinds of hurtful things, even threaten the man’s life as they did, but you’re not going to get  him to stop teaching the Truth.

Still, Paul’s had it rough it’s fair to say. From Berea he heads to Athens (17:16), a city consumed with idolatry. When you have as many gods as the greeks you have plenty to think about, worry about and talk about. So Paul gets to work preaching which draws the attention of the cities greatest thinkers.

Keep in mind this is the culture that produced Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, etc. This culture prides itself on being intellectually superior.

And along comes Paul, no mental slouch himself, he is probably the most educated preacher the Lord’s church ever had (not counting his inspiration). So you have a real battle of the minds about to happen when Paul preaches this sermon.

Here’s a preacher who, in just his very recent history, faced enemies who challenged him head-on, and faced enemies who snuck in from behind. He faced the dark cell of a Philippians jail and the threat of death from the hard-headed stubborn old Pharisees. Now he faces probably the most inherently skeptical audience of his preaching life.

But he never stops preaching.

Why? What is so special about preaching that makes those who do it, do it, and never let any adversity stop them from doing it?

In Paul’s sermon to the Greeks in Athens the answer is given. The question is “why preach?” and Paul’s answer is…



Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.
For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;

Acts 17:22-26

Paul is able to stand before an audience that takes the idea of a higher power very lightly. I know that sounds odd considering how many gods the Greeks had, and indeed Paul’s opening statement is a compliment:

Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.

 Acts 17:22

“Too superstitious” literally means “extremely religious (what with all their gods and all).”

Yet it’s precisely their poly-theism that makes them actually LESS moved by the reality of a higher power. If you have a god for everything (one for the stars in the sky, one for the bugs on the ground, and gods for everything in between), you’re going to have less of an appreciation for what makes a god a god.

The uniqueness of Paul’s sermon is that it presented these people, who thought they had heard everything there was to know about a higher power, with something new to consider.

Paul offered them the idea that there is one God, Who is so powerful, and so all-encompassing that He is God over EVERYTHING, all by Himself. Now that’s impressive.

Why preach? Because preachers of Truth have the greatest subject ever to show someone.

Why preach?



That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.

Acts 17:27-29

In the middle of Paul’s sermon he transitions away from what makes God so unique, and into what God expects of us. Before he gets there, however, he talks about what we have available to us as blessings from the great God of everything.

Keep in mind that the Greeks taught that their gods showered them with blessings. The more gods you had the more blessings you were given. It’s a nice little cycle and it explains why they would go to the trouble of erecting a monument even to “the unknown god.” Their attitude was “We may have forgotten your name but don’t forget to bless us!”

So when Paul has a chance to speak to them about the One Real God, he makes sure to tell them that this God–Though He is Lord of all–isn’t distant. He’s not far away, either in space or in feeling. Instead He desires a relationship with us, His children.

Why preach?

Because people need to know there is something better than this. People who are hurting in whatever way they are hurting need to know they have hope, but it is only found in one place. We have that great hope in God.

Why preach?



And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

Acts 17:30

We can offer people a plan, a proposal, an agreement between man and God.

The Greeks’ view of Zeus was that he was a fickle vengeful being who would hurl thunderbolts from the sky when he had a bad day. He wasn’t much of a god you’d want to serve.

But God the Father, on the other hand, while firm and set in His determination to punish the wicked, is also fair and just. He has given us the ways and means to escape that punishment and so He commands us to repent. He commands us to turn our minds to Him, which will lead to our turning our actions to Him as well.

I think if there’s anything that is so ridiculous in all the various “modern, liberal interpretations” of religion and Christianity, it’s the idea that God does not expect His children to obey Him.

That’s what some say.

So-called religious leaders teach that and then wonder why people are abandoning religion. If there’s nothing tangible to hold onto, why not just give up the whole thing? If He doesn’t expect me to do anything, what’s my impetus for giving it any effort?

In reality, however, God says “I have a plan for you – a proposal — an agreement from Me to you. Obey it and you will live beyond this world in blissful peace.”

That’s why preachers preach. We get to show others that we have a great proposition available to us from God.

Why preach?



Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

Acts 17:31

We preach because we have something to offer people. More than just hope, more than just a plan, we can tell people that same God Who made this world and everything in it, is – through His Son – making an even better place for us. He is preparing for us a place where we can live WITH God.

Now you imagine telling a Greek that he can live in the heavens with Zeus. He’d say you were outside your mind.

But my God – the one true God — says “if you obey Me, you can live with me, in my very literal presence…for ever.”

He has appointed a day when He will send His son to return, and sort out those who obeyed and those who did not. Those who obey will receive that great reward.

That’s preachers preach…not just from a pulpit, but in our homes, at our jobs, in our schools.






You’ve got the greatest message ever given. Take it to someone who hasn’t heard it yet!

Think about it,
have a great day!