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Paul in Athens, Part 2 (Acts 17:22-34)

March 11, 2015

Reflecting on the Passage:

Here at East Point Church, we have begun a new sermon series entitled “Acts: The Spirit and the Church in the World“. This week’s sermon unveils the mystery of God in the Person of Jesus Christ. Pastor Duncanson attests to the sufficiency of the Gospel regardless of the context. The focus of this sermon is on how Paul proclaims the Gospel by sharing the Identity of God, the Imminence of God and the Instruction of God with the Athenians.

The Identity of God: Creator God

So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said:Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, To the unknown god. What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place (Acts 17:22-26;ESV).

Pastor Duncanson outlines the way Paul went about proclaiming the Gospel to these who were not familiar with the Scriptures. First, Paul explains to his audience that there is only one True God, who is the Creator of all things. As you began understand see God as the Creator, you also began to realize He is does not need anything from us, considering He made all things from nothing (cf. Genesis 1; Psalm 50:7-15; John 1). In other words, life exists because God exists.

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The Imminence of God: Personal God

that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for

“‘In him we live and move and have our being;

as even some of your own poets have said,

“‘For we are indeed his offspring.

Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man (Acts 17:27-29; ESV).”

Paul also demonstrates how this True God desires to be known by His creation. Here were men and women in Athenians desperately looking for the True God, then Paul shows up to proclaim to them that the One to whom they were looking for has provided the means for them to know Him. They needed to rethink how they thought about God. If He created the world and everything in it, does it really make sense for us to build gods for ourselves using His own creation (cf. Exodus 32; Isaiah 40)?

The Instruction of God: Sovereign God

The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead (Acts 17:30-31; ESV).”

More importantly, not only does the True God create and personally reveal Himself, He requires that every man worship Him through the means He prescribes because He is Sovereign. Although Paul does not mention the name of Jesus explicitly in this account, what he does mention demonstrates the love and severity of God (Romans 11:22). The love of God is demonstrated in His patience toward even these people in Athens by sending His Word, instructing them to repent of their ignorance, their evil deeds (i.e. transgressions) and good deeds (i.e. self-righteous, pride, arrogance). On the other hand, unlike the idols they served, the severity of God requires that everyone repents from their sins and believe in the resurrected Man He has appointed, or they shall perish on the Day of Judgment (Mark 1:15; Luke 13:1-5; John 5:21-25; Jude 14-25).

Does my life reflect that there is only One God?

Since God does exist and can be known through the Eternal Son, Jesus Christ, we must repent. We must turn from serving our idols to the Living God. Idols do not mind you having other idols, but the True God demands total allegiance (Matthew 6:24, 22:36-40; Mark 12:29-31; John 12:49).

Listen to this week’s full sermon for free and check out the sermon note below.

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