7/4/16 Paul Addresses The Areopagus

Paul begins to explain about who the One True God is, and His Son, Jesus.  “This God, who is unknown to you and your people, is the God I serve.  He is the ruler over all Heaven and earth, and He is the One who made everything – the world, the heavens, all people, everything everywhere.  But He does not live in temples made by human hands, and He does not need anything that we can give Him, because He is the maker and owner of all that is.  The worship He asks of us is to live righteously, speaking the truth, loving one another, and showing no partiality in making judgments.  He created all people, every nation on earth, equal, with the same basic attributes and the same blood flowing through our veins.  God has determined where each person is to be born and sets the scene for each life lived, in order that they might look for Him.  He is very close to each one of us, so that we need only reach out to Him and He is there.  For those who don’t know Him, it is often like groping around in the dark to find something they think might be there.  But He is the One who gives us breath, life, the ability to be moved by the circumstances of our lives, and the ability to think and reason.  Aratus, one of your own poets, wrote about this in his poem, ‘Phenomena,’ saying, ‘For we too are His offspring.’  Another, Cleanthes, wrote in his poem, ‘Hymn to Zeus,’ ‘For we Thine offspring are.’  Though both men are speaking of Zeus, it is really the One True God of whom those words speak.  Because we are His offspring, we should not think of God as something we can sculpt with our hands out of stone or precious metals!  To do this is to think of Him as lower than ourselves.  But we come from Him, and so we need to use that which brings us higher – our minds, our hearts, our spirits – to draw closer to Him.  God has forgiven men for their ignorance in thinking of Him in such ways, but now He has sent ambassadors to all the nations to proclaim Himself to everyone everywhere, and He is calling on all people to turn from the worship of idols made of stone to worship Him as He truly is.  He sent His Son to us as a man, to live among us and teach us, and then to die the death we deserve to die in our place in order to grant us forgiveness for our sins, and finally to be raised from the dead, conquering death itself for us.  By this resurrection of His Son, Jesus, He has shown us that there is to be a day when all people will be judged by Him.”  At this, there is a commotion in the crowd.  Resurrection of the dead is not a concept that the Greeks have embraced.  The spokesman of the Areopagus stands and holds up his hands for silence.  “Leave us now.  But we would like to hear more about this at a later date,” he says to Paul, who nods and turns to go.  But a few of the people there follow him, having heard the ring of truth in his words.  One of those is a woman named Damaris, and another, a member of the Areopagus named Dionysius.

 

Acts 17:23b-34

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