Daily Devotional Saturday 16th May

by William Moody

Acts 17:24–34

24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,1 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28 for

  “‘In him we live and move and have our being’;2

as even some of your own poets have said,

  “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’3

29 Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. 30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

32 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.” 33 So Paul went out from their midst. 34 But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.

Footnotes

[1] 17:24 Greek made by hands
[2] 17:28 Probably from Epimenides of Crete
[3] 17:28 From Aratus’s poem “Phainomena”

(ESV)

As Paul seeks to share the Gospel with the Greeks in Athens, he doesn’t start in the Old Testament as he would do with the Jews. The Greeks see his teaching as about a foreign God, but Paul brings home that the God he is speaking of is not foreign, but the Creator of all (v24-26).

The purpose of people being created by God was that they would seek this One True God (v27). Paul is emphasising that God is near and can be known. Paul even uses some of their poets to back up this point (v28). He is seeking to share the Gospel at a level they can grasp.

Paul seeks to be relevant but he does not compromise and attacks their idolatry, but he does this through reasoned argument (v29).

As Paul moves on to teach about the need for repentance, about judgment and the resurrection (v30-31), he is confronted with sneers (v32), but others remained interested and some came to faith (v33-34).

As we share the Gospel relevantly but without compromise there will be those who sneer, but by the power of the Spirit there will be those who believe. May we seek to witness with courage and expectancy.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®),
copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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