Irvin Wasswa-Tylertown Campus Pastor LHBC
“While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was deeply troubled by all the idols he saw everywhere in the city. He went to the synagogue to reason with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and he spoke daily in the public square to all who happened to be there. He also had a debate with some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers. When he told them about Jesus and his resurrection, they said, “What’s this babbler trying to say with these strange ideas he’s picked up?” Others said, “He seems to be preaching about some foreign gods.” Then they took him to the high council of the city. “Come and tell us about this new teaching,” they said. “You are saying some rather strange things, and we want to know what it’s all about.” (It should be explained that all the Athenians as well as the foreigners in Athens seemed to spend all their time discussing the latest ideas.)
So Paul, standing before the council, addressed them as follows: “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about. “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. From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries. “His purpose was for the nations to 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 some of your own poets have said, ‘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 ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins 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.” When they heard Paul speak about the resurrection of the dead, some laughed in contempt, but others said, “We want to hear more about this later.” “That ended Paul’s discussion with them, but some joined him and became believers. Among them were Dionysius, a member of the council, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.”
Has your heart been burdened for those who do not know Jesus? We see Paul here in Acts 17 in the middle of his ministry, traveling all over the world sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ out of a sheer burden for them. He and his fellow co-laborers in the faith saw the Lord do many great works in and through them. There were people who were getting saved, others getting healed. Though there was opposition from his own people, the Gospel was still advancing! While in Berea waiting for some of his fellow comrades, he was pierced to the heart by what he had seen: Idols being worshiped all over the city. The city of Athens was dark and Paul’s heart was broken, compelling him to penetrate the darkness with the light of the Gospel.
If you couldn’t tell our community here in Clarksville is much like the city of Athens. There are idols everywhere that are being worshiped. The idol may not be a bronze statue, but rather it’s a job, possessions, accolades, etc. There are people all around us who like the people of Athens, have bought into the lie that the idol that they are worshiping will satisfy their soul, when in reality it will just leave them empty and broken. That reality ought to break our hearts and indeed move us to action.
There are people who you come in contact with everyday who are far from God, with no hope, who will die without Christ and spend eternity away from Him. You have the opportunity as Paul did to share the hope of the Gospel of Christ with them. May we choose to be a people who step up and look to engage in building relationships with those around us, love them well and share Christ with them!
Paul stepped up and shared the Gospel with the people in Athens and there were several who came to faith. Amen! Today, I encourage you to ask the Lord to give you a deep burden for the lostness around you—a burden for that best friend, that neighbor, that coworker. I pray that when He does, you are compelled to step in and share the hope of Jesus with them.
PRAYER FOR TODAY: Dear Heavenly Father, give me a burden for my lost friends, neighbors and coworkers today. Please open up opportunities to invite them to church but also open up doors for me to share the gospel and invite them to trust Christ. Help me to cast my eyes off myself and on the mission to make disciples. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
MEMORY VERSE FOR THE WEEK:
James 1:12- 12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.