1. Hello, listening friends.
2. Thank you very much for tuning in to this broadcast.
3. It is our prayer that this broadcast is blessing your life.
4. If you have not written to us, either on the Internet or by mail, please do so.
5. Someone said that, when people cease to believe in the biblical God,
6. the problem is not that they believe in nothing.
7. It is that they believe in everything.
8. We saw in the last message, from Paul and Silas’ experience in the Philippian jail,
9. that God does His best work when there is a clear definition between truth and falsehood.
10. God always manifests His power among His people when they trust in Him alone.
11. God’s supernatural manifestations are best experienced by His people when they turn to Him alone;
12. and the Apostle Paul gives us a model of this in the Book of Acts, Chapter 17.
13. Please turn to Acts 17 with me, if you have a Bible.
14. What Paul is giving us, here, is a model of how to deal with an adulterous culture.
15. He tells us how to deal with a culture that has abandoned the truth in the confusion of idolatry;
16. but I want to summarize Chapter 17, verses 1 to 15, for you.
17. Paul goes to Berea and is persecuted and opposed;
18. so he goes to Thessalonica and the same thing happens;
19. so he leaves Timothy and Silas and Luke and goes alone to Athens, the cultural capital of the Roman Empire.
20. Let me tell you a few things about Athens.
21. Athens, like so many of our cities today, boasted about its rich philosophical heritage;
22. but they did not plan for the present and the future;
23. and Paul lands in Athens as a tourist, because he had to be smuggled out of Thessalonica,
24. because there were people who wanted to kill him there;
25. so he goes to Athens as a tourist, but he ends up being an evangelist.
26. How did he do that?
27. I have three things that I want to share with you.
28. First of all, Paul became distressed over their idolatry.
30. Paul becomes determined to introduce them to Jesus.
32. Paul had a definitive message to their empty hearts.
33. Let’s look at the first point,
34. Paul’s distress over their idolatry.
35. Why was he distressed?
36. Let me explain.
37. If you know Jesus Christ and are in deep appreciation of the grace of God,
38. you should be distressed over the condition of unsaved people.
39. Paul’s reaction should be our reaction when we come face-to-face with ignorance of the truth.
40. Paul’s reaction should be our reaction when we see our world smothered with idolatry and materialism.
41. Look at verse 16 of Chapter 17 of the Book of Acts.
42. The Bible said that Paul was greatly distressed.
43. Paul was distressed that men and women, who were created to glorify God, were honoring statues and idols.
44. What’s an idol?
45. An idol is a God-substitute.
46. It doesn’t matter what it is,
47. An idol can be the pursuit of wealth for wealth’s sake.
48. An idol can be uncontrollable appetite for immoral things.
49. Anything that takes God’s place is an idol.
50. The city of Jerusalem did not have the idols that the city of Athens had;
51. and, yet, the Lord Jesus Christ comes up to the Mount of Olives and He looks down upon the city and He begins to weep over Jerusalem,
52. because the idols of Jerusalem were false religion.
53. The idols of Jerusalem were false rituals.
54. The idols of Jerusalem were people who were religious people, but their hearts were far away from God.
55. That’s why Jesus wept;
56. and that is why Paul was distressed.
57. Until you become distressed over sin in our world, God will not move.
58. Until you are broken over idolatry with all of its forms,
59. until you are able to weep over idolatry in all its forms,
60. we will not understand why Paul was greatly distressed;
61. but one of the great things about the Apostle Paul is that he did not allow distress to lead him into discouragement,
62. which brings me to second point.
63. Paul’s distress motivated him to introduce them to Jesus.
64. If you ever have a sense of distress over the condition in which we live,
65. it’s going to lead you to hopelessness, or, motivate you to do something about the situation.
66. Our sense of distress must motivate us to either lovingly confront people with the Gospel or become indifferent and apathetic.
67. Our sense of inward unrest must lead us to either lovingly invite others to have an encounter with the living God, or become unfruitful for Him.
68. Our sense of sorrow over false belief systems must remind us of how empty they are,
69. and that Jesus Christ is the only fulfilling Hope.
70. Paul understood that, in a culture with conflicting philosophies, a Christian should not retreat.
71. This is no time to say, “I don’t have anything to offer...”
72. or, “I can’t do anything about that.”
73. In Athens, in the time of Paul, there were many conflicting, philosophical schools.
74. The two dominant ones were the Epicureans and the Stoics.
75. Both the Epicureans and the Stoics called Paul a “babbler.”
76. A “babbler” means that he is a person who does not have an original thought.
77. Now, they thought that this is an insult, but Paul took it as a compliment.
78. He was not proclaiming himself. He was proclaiming Jesus.
79. Sure enough, he didn’t have an original thought.
80. In fact, Paul was very happy with that description because his only thought was the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
81. The Epicurean philosophy was established by Epicurus;
82. and the Epicureans taught that indulgence is the key to life.
83. They taught that pleasure is the highest good.
84. The Epicurean professed to believe in the gods who are not really interested in mankind;
85. and, then, they go on to teach that there is no life after death.
86. The Stoics, on the other hand, almost had an opposite kind of philosophical approach to life.
87. The Stoics taught that God was the world’s soul and the world was God’s body.
88. At its best, Stoicism was marked with moral earnestness, but it was marred with spiritual pride.
89. To the Stoic, virtue was the supreme good.
90. Men, they said, should live above passion.
91. People should be unmoved by grief or joy or pain or pleasure.
92. No wonder they called the Apostle Paul a babbler!
93. No wonder they were aghast at the thought that the God who created the world became a man;
94. and, then, He hung on a cross and died to pay for the sins of people who believe in Him;
95. and, then, He rose from the dead in order that He comes back one day to judge all of humanity.
96. They were aghast at this preaching;
97. but Paul was determined to introduce them to Jesus;
98. and, therefore, he preached a definitive message to their empty heart;
99. and this is my third point;
1. and I want you to listen to me very carefully, my listening friends.
2. The reason why men and women did not worship and obey the true God
3. is because they do not want to know the true God.
4. God made Himself known in so many ways, but people deliberately and consciously reject Him.
5. I want to illustrate what I mean by this.
6. Most people will say that they believe in God;
7. but, if you go up to one of these people and say to them, “God will judge you,”
8. and that, “You will stand before His Judgment Seat one day,”
9. most of them would say, “Oh, no. Not this God.”
10. If you would go up to them and say that all who reject the Lord Jesus Christ will spend eternity in torment,
11. they will say, “We can’t believe in that God.”
12. They want a God that is designed by man;
13. and Paul’s message was, in effect,
14. “You reject the God who revealed Himself in His creation and choose to worship other gods and, yet, your hearts are empty. You are discontented with your gods.
15. You refuse to worship the Creator and, yet, you continue to worship His creatures and His creation...”
16. and that is why Paul says there will be no excuse on the Day of Judgment;
17. and Paul’s message begins with the Creator God and ends with a call to repent for their rejection of God.
18. The Athenians acknowledged that, in having an altar to the unknown God,
19. they have acknowledged their ignorance of the true God;
20. and, here, the Apostle Paul provides them with the evidence for their ignorance.
21. Look at verse 30 of Acts 17.
22. Paul said
23. ignorance is no excuse.
24. Ignorance is no excuse, because God never left Himself without a witness.
25. In His mercy, God is giving them a second chance.
26. In His mercy, He is giving them another opportunity to repent and ask for His forgiveness;
27. but, not only that,
28. Paul said God provided proof that the Day of Judgment is coming
29. and that the Judge is going to be Jesus Christ;
30. and the greatest proof that Jesus is the coming Judge was Jesus’ resurrection.
31. Paul is saying that the resurrection is God’s ultimate proof that the Judgment is coming upon the living and the dead.
32. Every one of us is going to face the judgment of God.
33. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.”
34. That is why He was raised from the dead;
35. and that is why He is the coming Judge.
36. My friend, if you have been confused by all the different ideas and philosophies,
37. if you have been ignoring the Lord of life,
38. He is calling you today to surrender to Him;
39. to repent of your sins and receive His forgiveness.
40. If you have broken one of the Ten Commandments, you have broken all commandments;
41. and, therefore, you deserve Hell.
42. That’s what the Bible said;
43. but there is a way out.
44. God said, “Through Jesus, I forgive you and assure you of eternal life...”
45. and the Bible said that God desires not for anyone to die in their sin,
46. but that they would turn from their wickedness and live.
47. Will you respond to Him today?
48. If you want to be assured of eternal life and not eternal judgment, you can do that today.
49. You can say to Him,
50. “Lord Jesus Christ,
51. forgive me of my sins.
52. Thank You for paying for the judgment of my sin on the cross.
53. I repent of my sins
54. and I receive You as my Savior.
55. In your name, Jesus,