It’s Now or Never…
Intro: Paul’s 2nd Missionary Journey… reaching, doing miracles… doing the work of God.
“But other Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city.”
1. History repeats itself.
16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols.
Example: On outreach we were taught to size up an area by what it manifested outwardly.
What does a city littered with trash say?
What about an overflow of homelessness?
What does a messy room say about a person?
Paul could see that there was a problem.
2. To know the truth is to recognize a lie.
Paul’s distress about the idols showed his inner pulse was on target.
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.
He used every opportunity to reach the people and the they responded to him.
Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.
2 Timothy 4:2
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.)
They were intellectuals…. Seeking knowledge is good.
Some of these people actually wanted to know the truth… but some didn’t.
people who ask tons of questions can drive you crazy. (think of an 8 year old), but it’s innocent.
2 kinds of lostness:
1) ignorance - I don’t know.
2) rebellion - I don’t want to know.
Let the choice of the people show the motivation.
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.
spiritual mapping: Paul used signs in the city to help him connect with the people where they were.
He felt the need to preach and do miracles in that place, indicating they had at least some faith.
Listen to how he describes God.
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.
character and nature..
“What we believe about God is the most important thing about us.”
Here Paul describes some attributes of God:
creator, sovereign, giver of life, complete, self-contained, timeless.
what does this tell people about the relationship with their Creator?
Example: Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
3. To know God is to know everything else.
I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
― C.S. Lewis
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.’
Did what? Made man to realize he gets his life from God and reach out to God for salvation and the receive everything else.
4. To find God is to find everything else.
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.”
The time for God to overlook ignorance is over.
Application: Don’t let yourself become more fearful as time goes on.
5. Now is the time to encounter eternity.
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds…”
If not here, where?
If not now, when?
But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.