And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24.27
This week’s video is presentation 16 in our study of Acts. In this video we review the ongoing work of Christ up to Acts 18, and consider the stages by which that work proceeds. You can view it by clicking here (scroll down to Lesson 16).
Read and meditate on Acts 17.29-34.
Taking off from a quote by the poet Aratus, Paul questioned the reasonableness of men imagining God as a Being Who could be reduced to some concrete, portable form. If we are God’s offspring, then when we think about God we should think about a Being rather like ourselves, only more amazing – like Jesus, for example.
1. People are the fruit of the imagination of God. God is not the product of the imagination of people, or, if such a god is, it is a false god. Paul was trying to lead the Athenians to see that their best thoughts about truth and the good life could not compare with what God has revealed about these in Jesus Christ. Their gods were fashioned out of their own best ideas; the true God has made Himself known in Jesus. How should we apply Paul’s approach in our witness for the Lord?
2. In the imagination of God, He has ordained the salvation of benighted men by coming in their own image to proclaim the day of repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. We note in Paul’s address both the promise of redemption, the offer of salvation, the warning of judgment, and the call to repentance. Nothing philosophical here; this is pure theology. Should we be reluctant to share our theology with the unbelievers in our Personal Mission Field? Explain.
4. Paul’s tactic in Athens is criticized by some because he didn’t get the results he realized elsewhere. Quite the contrary. Some believe. Some are piqued and would like to talk further. And some are just angry. We’ve seen this everywhere Paul has gone. Paul was as effective in Athens as he had been anywhere else, because like everywhere else, he stayed true to the Word of the Gospel. How can you tell when your witness for the Lord is effective?
5. The ongoing work of Christ consists of replacing the sinful, benighted, unbelieving worldview of the Lie with the truth that is in Jesus Christ. To do this we have to analyze and disassemble one worldview, and carefully explain and assemble another in its place. Reason and persuasion are the proper tools here, dressed in the garb of preaching. How much does the idea of worldview factor into the disciple-making process in your church? Ask a church leader about this.
Paul took the time to learn the worldview of the Athenians, then he used that worldview as a platform on which to frame out the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Some believed, some scoffed, and some wanted to hear more. Many believers are reluctant to share the Gospel because they don’t think people will believe. Look at Paul’s example again, and the results of his preaching. How should we be encouraged in our witness by Paul’s experience in Athens?
Consider my affliction and deliver me,
For I do not forget Your law.
Plead my cause and redeem me;
Revive me according to Your word.
Salvation is far from the wicked,
For they do not seek Your statutes.
Great are Your tender mercies, O LORD;
Revive me according to Your judgments.
Many are my persecutors and my enemies,
Yet I do not turn from Your testimonies.
I see the treacherous, and am disgusted,
Because they do not keep Your word.
Consider how I love Your precepts;
Revive me, O LORD, according to Your lovingkindness.
The entirety of Your word is truth,
And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.
T. M. Moore
Each week’s studies in Acts are bound together into a free PDF that you can download for personal or group use (click here). Each week also features a video related to the studies of the week, which you may find helpful as you work through our studies in Acts.
Acts is the record of Christ’s ongoing work as King and Lord. This is the work of bringing the Kingdom of God to earth as it is in heaven. Read more about the implications of this work in our new book, The Kingdom Turn (click here).
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