In today’s text Paul finds himself in Athens, a city overrun with idols. As he takes it all in, his heart breaks for the people and his spirit is incensed with righteous anger. He cannot hold his tongue. Yet, rather than reacting in a carnal, judgmental, condemning way, Paul allows the Holy Spirit to speak through him to skillfully share the Gospel with these ignorant pagans. Notice, because his audience was not familiar with the Old Testament prophecies concerning Jesus Christ, Paul started with what we call, “Creation Evangelism.” After he identified the One True Creator / God, Paul went on to preach the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. But then he went one step further and declared that God commands all men everywhere to repent and prepare for the coming judgment of Christ.
“So Paul, standing before the Council, addressed them as follows: “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious, for as I was walking along I saw your many altars. And one of them had this inscription on it–‘To an Unknown God.’ You have been worshiping him without knowing who he is, and now I wish to tell you about him. “He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, and human hands can’t serve his needs–for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need there is. From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand which should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries. “His purpose in all of this was that the nations should seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him–though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist. As one of your own poets says, ‘We are his offspring.’ And since this is true, we shouldn’t think of God as an idol designed by craftsmen from gold or silver or stone. God overlooked people’s former ignorance about these things, but now he commands everyone everywhere to turn away from idols and turn to him. For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead.” Acts 17:22-31, NLT.
This message has application to us all!