Radiant Church, February 22, 2020 Mike Rydman Acts 17:16-34 Acts 17:16 Now while Paul was waiting for them in Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. What did Paul see? Idols (through a Christian world view) A world view is a set of beliefs about the most fundamental issues of life: origin, meaning, morality and destiny It is one’s world view that translates, even explains circumstances to the one holding that world view What did Paul feel? His spirit was “provoked” (seizure, spasm, outburst) Acts 17:17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. Where did Paul go? The synagogue, the marketplace, specifically to intellectual skeptics Acts 17:18 Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, “What does this babbler with to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities” – because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. Babbler – “seed picker” He’s just grabbed some off ideas here and there, but nothing coherent. They wanted to hear a coherent world view. Epicureans – materialists, the gods were totally indifferent to human actions, Wisdom was in neither fearing divine judgment nor awaiting eternal rewards. Enjoy pleasure. You only live once. “Dichotomists.” Stoics – pantheists. All things (people, nature) are divine. Thought fate controlled everything. Bear with pain; there’s nothing you can do about it anyway. What will be will be. Both world views were hopeless and meaningless They thought Jesus and “Resurrection” were two distinct gods, like Resurrection was Jesus’ female friend. The Greeks had many deities that had names like, Fate, Mercy, Effort and Shame (all female) among others Today? Skepticism, rejecting ultimate truth, life has no meaning, humanity does not need “salvation,” it needs rational, intellectual responses to the here and now. Skepticism is today’s “intellectual response.” Cynicism is a lifestyle choice, as a self-protection plan Acts 17:19-21 And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.” Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new. Acts 17:22-23 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 unknown, this I proclaim to you. First, Paul makes a connection; then he creates a conflict Acts 17:24-25 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. God is the Creator God is the Sustainer of life An atheist will really feel, “There is no god, and I hate him” Acts 17:26 And he made from one man every kind of nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, God is the Ruler of nations Acts 17:27-28 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually nor 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.’ God is not unknowable; He can be known God is the Father of humanity Acts 17:29 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 17:30-31 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.” God is both Judge and Rescuer Received as outrageous ideas from Paul: The exclusivity of salvation in Jesus (against what the pluralists believed) The idea that Jesus rose bodily (against the Epicureans who thought the body was bad and not worth preserving) The notion that history is going somewhere (against the Stoics who believed that history just repeated itself over and over) These are some of the same things that offend people today Acts 17:32-34 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.” So Paul went out from their midst. But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and other with them. We cannot communicate the gospel of Jesus without the doctrine of God Or the cross without the creation Or salvation without judgment We do not communicate the gospel, because we do not feel as Paul felt We pray “Hallowed be your Name,” but we may not really mean it We are not bothered by idols in a city, because we are not bothered by our own idols 1 Corinthians 1:18, 23 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God…but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.