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Are there people in your life who view God as unknown?

Acts 17:16-34

16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. 17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. 18 A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to debate with him. Some of them asked, “What is this babbler trying to say?” Others remarked, “He seems to be advocating foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.19 Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting?20 You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we would like to know what they mean.” 21 (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.)

22 Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.

24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill.30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”

32 When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.” 33 At that, Paul left the Council. 34 Some of the people became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others.

Cross, Jesus, God, Holy Spirit, Daily Devotion, God

What a great example of sharing the gospel with others this passage is. I read this passage and notice some similarities in the culture that Paul is engaging with here to our culture. I really love how Paul doesn’t just jump straight into the message of the gospel but takes in what is happening where he is, so that he can engage them well in the gospel.

What Paul says after he has noticed what is going on and points out that the altar that they have to an unknown god is what I really find beautiful. Paul shows them who this god is and what he is like. Probably my favourite two verses in this passage are at verses 27 and 28 where Paul tells the people that the God who created the whole earth and everything and everyone in it did it so that we might reach out and seek him. The clincher for me is that the one true God isn’t far away like other gods. How wonderful it is to know that God isn’t a distant god and we can reach out to him whenever and wherever.

I also love that Paul points out from their poets, that we are God’s offspring and as such that we cannot create God with our own hands because he has created us. Paul brings everything he is saying to the point of telling the people they need to repent because the day of God’s judgement is near because Jesus will return. He has brought them to the point where he can share the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection with them and some of them hear it and respond while others reject what he says.

For me this passage is a helpful example of how to look at the culture around us and engage in it, in order to share the gospel with people where they are and in a way, they will understand. This doesn’t mean they will always accept the message, but it does mean they will have the choice.

Head: Can you think of someone you would like to share the gospel with? Think about what is happening in their life and how you can use that to share the gospel with them?

Heart: Thinking about the person you would like to share the gospel with, is there something about God’s character and love that you would specifically like to share with them?

Hands: Will you be brave enough to begin this conversation with this person today?

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, Thanks that you are the God who has created this world and each of us. Thanks that you aren’t distant and we can reach out to you wherever we are. Please help each of us as we seek to share the great news of Jesus’ death and resurrection for our sins with others. Please help us to meet people where they are at and bring the gospel to them. Please open their ears and hearts to receive your message. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

A song to listen to: Until the Whole World Hears

Emily Andrews- Creek Road Presbyterian Church- South Bank


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