Acropolis

Compelled to Witness

Our passage today is from Acts 17:16-34. The church’s sermon is titled “Compelled to Witness” This is a summary of Pastor Robbie Symons sermon from Hope Bible Church in Oakville, Ontario. Here you can find a summary for last weekend’s message “Turning the World Upside Down.” This week’s whole church service is available in the video below.

Overview

Epicureans were atheists and lived for pleasure. Their motto was: eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die. They believed in living for the experience of today and denied the resurrection and eternity. They would escape for the current pleasure of the moment. This is very prevalent in our world today. Believers can fall prey to these thoughts as well.

Stoics were pantheists. They believed that god was everywhere and in everything. Stoics were like modern-day evolutionists that follow a new age culture. They would say that there is no reason for life so let’s have an apathetic life. Neither philosophy would be favourable to Paul’s Christian message. In verse 18 they called him a babbler, which is basically throwing out random thoughts. Paul’s message was about Jesus and the resurrection. Anything and everything new was interesting to the Athenians. Really they are the babblers who talked so much with little action. Paul seized this intimidating opportunity to preach the gospel.

The REVELATION: There Is One True God

Acts 17:22-25. The Areopagus is the “hill of Ares” named after the Greek god of war. The Romans translated it to Mars Hill. The Court of the Areopagus was a long-established body with extensive authority over the civil and religious life of Athens.

Paul grabbed a reference point for the Athenians by talking about the “unknown god.” Just in case they missed a god, they had an inscription to an unknown god. They were always searching and had no real meaning. It’s never enough because there is no fulfillment in these false gods.

‘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. ‘

Acts 17:24-25

Paul destroyed the Athenians’ system of religion with these two points:

  1. Temples and idols don’t contain God
  2. Our service adds nothing to God

Human religion literally puts God in a box as in a temple. Our God is awesome, you can’t contain Him! The church buildings are closed today because of COVID-19, however, our God is alive. His church is alive and well around the world.

Every thinking person asks, ‘Where did I come from?’, ‘Why am I here?’, and ‘Where am I going?’ Science attempts to answer the first question and philosophy wrestles with the second, but only the Christian faith has a satisfactory answer to all three.

Warren Wiersbe

The REALIZATION: God Is NEAR

Acts 17:26-27. Paul has defended the doctrine of creation. Here he clearly defends the doctrine of man. He said that all humans came from one man. It means that God made all humans in His image. This is our value and where our identity comes from. In v.26, this is a devastating blow to racism. Since God created us all, ultimately, every human being has a God-shaped vacuum.

There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God the Creator made known through Jesus Christ.

Blaise Pascal

God is near and we should seek Him. We can know Him.

‘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, ‘

Acts 17:27

The REALITY: JUDGMENT Is Coming!

Acts 17:28-31. Since God created us in His image and because we have a knowledge of him through creation, therefore the rejection of God and the worshipping of idols instead of God must require repentance. We have no excuse. God has delayed judgment, but this will not last. Judgment is coming. He will come to judge the living and the dead.

Regarding Judgment: (Acts 17:31), God has:

  • Fixed a day: Imminent
  • Put a standard in place: Righteousness
  • Appointed a man: Jesus
  • Given an assurance: Resurrection
  • Required a response: Repent!

Are you compelled to witness?

The RESPONSE: BELIEVE

Acts 17:32-34. The response to Paul’s message was that some mocked him, some were curious, and some did believe.

Discussion Questions

  1. Is God seeking me personally through this passage today?
  2. Am I ready for the return of Christ and His judgment?
  3. Does my life prove that I’m ready? My affection, direction, and lifestyle?
  4. Do I need to repent and receive forgiveness today?

May we be compelled to witness to those around us

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