Acts 17.16-34 "The God of the Age or the God of the Ages"
The God of the Age or the God of the Ages" -
Christian witness can never be mechanical, using formulas or gimmicks,
because people are made in God’s image. We must listen to their questions and minister to their heartfelt needs. We must deal with the “shame” of false accusations and misunderstanding.
I The Right Use of Reason -
A. The Greek philosophers
1. Started with their own minds and experience. autonomous reason
2. Life is either to be endured – the Stoics; or is to be enjoyed – the Epicureans
3. Resurrection is impossible because we have never seen a resurrection before –
resurrection before –
4. Unbelief uses put-downs to make their points. Paul is accused of being a “seed picker.”
of being a “seed picker.”
B. Proper Reasoning -
1. Begins with God’s revelation
2. Reasons consistently from the Scripture – from a renewed mind –
3. We know of Jesus’ resurrection by revelation –
Yet these philosophers wanted to know what Paul taught –
II. The Address at the Areopagus -
A. Begins by acknowledging their questions
1. The Athenians are very religious - all men are worshippers –
2. Paul begins this address very graciously in spite of the fact that he is greatly troubled in his spirit –
3. Idolatry provokes God – ;
4. There are consequences to idolatry in this world and the next –
B. Paul’s reasoning
1. God is the Creator of the world –
2. God is transcendent not dependent on us or His creation –
3. He is the Lord over all events and people –
4. We are created by God for fellowship with Him –
[Paul quotes one of their own poets as Christians and non-Christians have life in common.] We can quote appropriate words of well-known authors without committing ourselves to their belief system.
have life in common.] We can quote appropriate words of well-
known authors without committing ourselves to their belief system.
5. God cannot be worshipped by idols –
God has shaped us; we do not shape Him. The view that everyone has to worship in a way that suits them is idolatry. What significance does a God have for you if you shaped this God?
has to worship in a way that suits them is idolatry. What significance
does a God have for you if you shaped this God?
6. The Living God requires repentance – – because a day of judgment is coming guaranteed by the resurrection of Jesus –
of judgment is coming guaranteed by the resurrection of Jesus –
III. Response -
A. Mocking –
1. The Greeks despised the body – that is why they either indulged the body or abused it.
2. They exalted the spirit while separating it from the body.
3. These philosophers considered Paul foolish for asserting that Jesus, when freed from His body, chose to be resurrected in the body –
His body, chose to be resurrected in the body –
B. Despising the shame –
1. Part of the cross we are to bear is the shame of unbelievers rejecting and mocking us –
2. A vast multitude of people will turn from the Christian faith but do not be ashamed of your faith –
your faith –
C. Some believed –
1. Dionysius one of the philosophers
2. Damaris, a woman
We must not so react to the idolatry of the culture that we cannot graciously interact with people who are idolaters. May God give us grace to love those who do not know Him but also the boldness to proclaim the truth despising the shame of rejection.