Acts 17

Recording from Selkirk Street Evangelical Church 3rd Feb 1985

Some notes:

Paul was stirred in Athens:

Was that because of the glory of Greece at that time? The greatest flowering of human intellect – science, arts, poetry, politics … Socrates, Plato, Aristole … Democracy was born… A remarkable set of achievements , Athens was the foremost city of its day.

But Paul was stirred in spirit – because city given over to idols. He saw a deep need of knowledge of the true God.

Our country has seen many achievements. But other views of our country. Is there nobody to weep for Scotland? We must be deeply stirred by the state of our country.

Paul didn’t stand apart and condemn. Paul went out into the city of Athens, recognising his deep need of God and he brought to them the gospel news.

PAUL SPOKE IN 3 PLACES:

  1. The Synagogue
    To Jews & God fearing Greeks. Calling people to recognise one true God, he expounded the scriptures – all God’s promises came to fruition in Christ.

    There are God fearing people in Scotland. It is good thing to have reverential fear, but it is not enough. We need personal faith & redemption. These people need God’s message.

  2. The Open Air – Agora (Market Place)
    In conversations with the people there with various philosophies:
    •    Epicurians – – chief end of man is pleasure
    •    grin & bear it.
    •    A little bit of God in everybody.

    Some said Paul was a bit of a babbler – this because his central message was Jesus & His resurrection.
    We must not reshape the message to fit “modern man”. The message should always be Jesus & His resurrection.

  3. The Areopagus ( court)
    He came before the great counsel so could be questioned & proclaim the message.
    He was not on trial and this was not an evangelistic meeting.
    It was his message that was on trial not him.
    30 sat on judgement.
    He uses the inscription “unknown God” – here to let them know about the God they don’t know.

PAUL RAISED 3 POINTS:

  1. God is the creator of all things
    God is not just a convenient word used by religious people. God is not an idea.
    He is God Almighty, who has made all things. We must be impressed by his authority & power.
    We cannot cut him down to fit our tiny minds. God doesn’t depend on us. God does not need anything from anybody.
  2. God is the sustainer of all things
    God needs nothing, but everything needs God.
    God needs nothing from any man, but every man is dependent on God for every breath he draws.
    All men are made for God.
  3. God is the judge of all
    In our society nobody wants to be responsible for anything.
    -> We are accountable to God

    God is not inviting men to a debate. God is commanding men to repent. No fireside theological discussion here – we are to strive to enter by the straight gate. It’s a life or death matter.
    God is just & God is holy. God will balance the books in the end. He is the Saviour and Judge.

In the court Paul sounded out the call to repent.

  • Some dismissed his message, some who mocked.
  • Some wanted to know more.
  • Some who believed. 1 out of 30 responded. A few others also, including a woman called Damaris.( Notable that it was a woman & she was named (valued) – Athens did not have a place for women.)

It is a wonderful thing to respond to this word, opening up to it. Receiving Jesus Christ, believing in Him, and coming thereby into all the good of the Gospel.

What of these three categories are you in? Those who mock, those who want to hear more, those who believe.

God wants you to seek after him and find him in Jesus Christ.

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