By Michael Julian
Pastor, Macedonia Baptist Church, Kenton
Focal Passage: Acts 17:16-18,22-23,30-31
Can we rejoice together that we have been privileged to receive and participate in a boundless gospel? Specifically, we promote that the gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. Notice the words, everyone who believes.
The book of Acts demonstrates this truth for us, as barriers are broken down and praises are lifted up. Christ in His flesh abolished the enmity, so that He could make the Jews and Gentiles into one new man, for the purpose of them being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. That pictures an unhindered gospel, the gospel of God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Since then these things are true, what kind of people should we be in relationship to God and the gospel of His Son? Are we steadied and readied to deliver this message unashamedly in the daily walk of our life? An example from the city of Athens will aid our preparation.
Acts 17:16-18: I have discovered the ease by which I can be stirred up emotionally by things that run contrary to the truth of God’s Word.
I will alert my wife to something I read, and have her read it, so we can be stirred up together. We can discuss the preposterous nature of things and talk about how to remedy the situation. But nothing has left the home yet, and that’s the point.
We encounter Paul walking through Athens in deep distress because of the striking visual of an abundance of idols in the city. But his distress led to action. With his spirit provoked, Paul began to share the message and reason with the people wherever they would listen. He did this daily.
An opportunity presented itself to Paul, and he redeemed the time. He spoke of Jesus and the resurrection, drawing ire from the lofty philosophers of the day. Supposedly, lovers of wisdom, these men showed disdain for the true wisdom from above that is “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy,” according to James 3:17.
Let us develop steadiness and readiness to share the message of the gospel.
Acts 17:22-23: Remember, Paul had taken time to see the city of Athens and its people. When he was invited to speak upon the Areopagus, Paul utilized his previous observations to find grounds by which to introduce the gospel.
Upon a hill, perhaps named for the Greek god of war, a spiritual battle loomed on the horizon. Wonderfully, Paul waded unfazed into this battle for the hearts and minds of the hearers that day. He met them where they were, and sought to bring them to where he stood, upon the gospel.
Acts 17:30-31: Accordingly, we must realize that the results are completely up to God. Nonetheless, we should desire earnestly to draw people into an understanding of the gospel. We must not shy away from leading people to a place of decision.
Jesus practiced this with unparalleled mastery. Paul follows that example as he explains the necessity of repentance and the day of judgment which will be enacted through the resurrected Christ. Let us be steadied and readied to share the message. B&R