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How often do we evangelize? How often do we tell others about Jesus Christ? How often do we feel prompted by the Holy Spirit to go and tell others about Christ and yet we resist? May we find a burning passion and desire to meet people where they are and with love and compassion open their blinded eyes to the truth of the Gospel in such away that they cannot help but see the error of their ways and respond.
Opening Passage: Acts 17:23-34
23 “For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. 24 “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; 26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ 29 “Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. 30 “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, 31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” 32 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some began to sneer, but others said, “We shall hear you again concerning this.” 33 So Paul went out of their midst. 34 But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.
Focus Passage: Ac 17:29-34
After revealing the ignorance that their worship had brought them, Paul begins to show the men at Mars Hill the truth of the Gospel. He uses their own false occult practices and pagan worship to do so. He begins to declare to them who their Unknown God (v.23) is. He rightfully declares to them that this unknown god is the God of creation.
This is where we find people at today. They do not know God because they have been blinded the enemy.
4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
With that said, he spends vv.24-28, opening their eyes to this truth and in v.29 begins to expand on the ramifications of this unknown God being truly the God of creation. He expresses that they have been brought to a crisis of decision. He points to three truths that must be understood and their decision must be based on.
He begins with the fact, that if they are truly children of God, Being then the children of God (v.29a), they should realize that he not some creation (idol) like the statues that the occult adherents and priest would want them to believe, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man (v.29b). He then addresses the truth that God will hold them accountable for their continuance to believe the lies around them.
God will not overlook man’s willful rejection (v.30) - “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance...”
God’s judgment was coming. Through His providence, God had and continues to set everything in motion according to His will. God demands a responds. There is no neutral ground at the foot of the cross and in response to the Gospel. This is clear by Paul’s three-fold warning to the men of Athens.
God demands a response to the Gospel (vv.30a-31)
Within vv.30a-31 Paul declares three that reveal that God demands a response and that response should be to accept Christ as Lord.
God demands a response of repentance - “…God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent...”
God demands a response because a day of judgment is coming - “…because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness...”
God demands a response because His judgments are unchallengeable - “…through a Man whom He has appointed...”
God demands a response because His truth has been made undeniable - “…having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead...”
How will you respond (vv.32-34)
Throughout vv.32-34, the men of Athens’ response reveal the three ways in which all of us will respond to a presentation of the Gospel - “Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead...”
Some will mock the gospel - “…some began to sneer...”
Some will entertain the gospel but refuse to commit - “…but others said, ‘We shall hear you again concerning this...’”
Some will embrace the gospel and find salvation - “…some men joined him and believed...”
The response of the people does not negate the need to further share the gospel - “…So Paul went out of their midst...”
How will you respond? Will you mock the gospel? entertain the gospel but refuse to commit? or embrace the gospel and find salvation for your soul? If you have already accepted Christ, are faithful in your witness and testimony to follow the great evangelistic need of the church? May we be as the puritan preacher, Richard Baxter, whom after facing a near death experience in his thirties began preaching as a dying man to dying men. (Timothy K. Beougher, Invitation to Evangelism: Sharing the Gospel with Compassion and Conviction, (Grand Rapids: Kragel Academic, 2021), 310.