Year 2 Day 52
Read - Acts 17v16-34
Message - Scott Woodburn
Paul's address begins exactly at the level of his audience. Athens was filled with idols to false gods and they even had an altar "to the unknown god" (v23). They were so "religious" that they took care not to annoy any god that they hadn't yet identified. Paul was more than happy to fill in the blank. The unknown god was now proclaimed by the Apostle.
The Lord God almighty made the world and everything in it (v24a) and He doesn't need temples made by man (v24b) nor does He require anything from human hands (v25a). Indeed the Lord gives to humanity everything they need, not the other way around (v25b). He made every nation on earth from on man called Adam (v26) and He rules over every nation setting times and boundaries for each one. If the nations sought God they might find Him (v27a) but actually He is quite near.
To prove his point Paul quotes from the Greeks themselves. Epimenides said "In him we live and move and have our being" and Aratus wrote "For we are indeed his offspring." (v28). Both men did not know the one true God but they spoke truth. Without the Lord the universe would collapse, in him we live and move and have our being. Without the Lord we would not exist, he made us, we are his offspring.
Therefore, says Paul, we shouldn't think God can be imagined or formed by man or shaped into gold or silver or stone (v29). We do not keep God in a box or in a temple. We do not rub a magic lamp and get three wishes. The Lord is a great God and King and He has fixed a day that He will judge the world in righteousness (v31). Jesus will be the judge on that day and we are assured of this by Christ's resurrection (v31b). The response was mixed. Some mocked the notion that the dead would be raised to life (v32) but others wanted to hear more from Paul (v32b). Still others came to trust Christ (v34).
We should never doubt that our message will sound strange in the ears of many. The Christian faith is an extraordinary one with multiple supernatural claims. God Himself took on flesh. God Himself died upon a cross. God Himself stood again from death. Brothers and sisters, do not be embarrassed by your faith or the claims it makes. Let God be true though every one were a liar (Romans 3v4)
Instead, as Paul once did, we present the claims of the Gospel faithfully. The message may be mocked and we may face the scorn of the crowd but we continue to speak the truth of the Gospel. "I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, 'The righteous shall live by faith.'" (Romans 1v16-17)
Q61 What is forbidden in the fourth commandment? The fourth commandment forbiddeth the omission, or careless performance, of the duties required, and the profaning the day by idleness, or doing that which is in itself sinful, or by unnecessary thoughts, words, or works, about our worldly employments or recreations.