Every Answer We Need
When addressing the intellectuals of his day in the city of Athens, Paul discovered that his hearers had been influenced by two fundamental ideas: Stoicism and Epicureanism. Stoicism holds that the events of the world are determined by a merciless, cold, and impersonal fate, while Epicureanism teaches that good is determined by what brings the most pleasure. Neither of these philosophies hold up for the children of Almighty God.
One of the most distinctive features of Christianity is the way in which we are able to articulate our view of the world. In contrast to much of the culture around us, we know that our time is in God’s hands (Psalm 31:15)—that we’re neither trapped in the grip of blind forces nor tossed about on an ocean of chance. Whether people have been drawn in by Marxism, Hinduism, nihilism, or any one of countless other philosophies and religions, they are all faced with questions and insecurities regarding their beliefs. Have they been caught in a struggle for a classless society or in an endless cycle of birth and death? Perhaps they are convinced that life has no meaning at all. No matter what someone’s questions or beliefs are, God provides every answer that they need. Instead of living life caged by a senseless, uncaring fate or endless uncertainty, as believers we now live with unfailing hope. We, like Paul, are now stewards of all the answers God has given us through His word—answers that we must share with all the world. He has given us a great confidence, and His name is Jesus.
The question, therefore, is not whether we have a message that can answer the deepest longings of every human and the various objections of every other philosophy and religion: we do. The question is whether we will share that message. When Paul was in Athens, he saw what others did not see. He did not enjoy the impressive sites or stand in awe of the city’s intellectual reputation. He saw a city lost in idol-worship, and “his spirit was provoked within him,” for every time an idol is worshiped, the Lord Jesus is robbed of the glory that only He deserves. And “so,” without regard for his own reputation, Paul reasoned with and proclaimed the gospel of resurrection hope to the inhabitants of that city (Acts 17:18).
Wherever you live, in one way or another you find yourself in a modern-day Athens. What are the idols that those around you are worshiping? Is your spirit provoked by that? You have an answer that satisfies human longing in a way no idol can. You have an opportunity to bring glory to God. With whom can you reason today, saying, “Can you see that what you are worshiping will not satisfy? Can I warn you that you are ignoring the God who brings meaning and hope but who will not be mocked? Can I tell you about the answers I have found in coming to know Jesus Christ?”
How is God calling me to think differently?
How is God reordering my heart’s affections — what I love?
What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?
1Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Grace to you and peace.
The Thessalonians' Faith and Example
2We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly1 mentioning you in our prayers, 3remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4For we know, brothers2 loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. 6And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, 7so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. 9For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
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