In Acts 17, Paul provides a model for the framework of engaging our culture as we share the truth of Christ. Paul witnessed the glory of God degraded by idolatry, but did not condemn the people. Instead, he explained the truth of God as Creator and Sustainer of life, who cannot be enshrined by human hands. Alistair Begg encourages us to be relevant in the culture, but committed to the truth of God’s Word.
22So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. 23For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,3 25nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26And 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, 27that 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, 28for
“‘In him we live and move and have our being’;4
as even some of your own poets have said,
“‘For we are indeed his offspring.’5
29Being 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. 30The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31because 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.”
32Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.” 33So Paul went out from their midst. 34But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.
Contemporary churchgoers may find themselves considering the early days of the Christian church with fond nostalgia. However, in reading through Luke’s account in Acts, we find that the early Church was not a group of elite Christians. Instead, they wrestled with the very same challenges that face the twenty-first century Church today.
In this series, Alistair Begg traces a line from the first century Church to the twenty-first century Church by examining issues such as our alienation from God, our tendency to present a cheapened Gospel, the juxtaposition of divine predestination and human free will, our culture’s obsession with idolatry, and God's ultimate power to save. We learn that the early Christians devoted themselves to the teaching of God’s Word and the spreading of the Gospel by depending on the Holy Spirit, and we are encouraged to hold firmly to the truth of Christ’s saving work as we engage our communities.
|Two Sad Faces||Luke 24:1-53|
|Kingdom Thinking||Acts 2:1-21|
|The First Christian Sermon, Part One||Acts 2:14-23|
|The First Christian Sermon, Part Two||Acts 2:24-41|
|Evangelism Explosion, Part One||Acts 8:1-25|
|Evangelism Explosion, Part Two||Acts 8:1-25|
|Personal Evangelism||Acts 8:26-40|
|One Changed Life||Acts 9:1-18|
|City of Idols, Part One||Acts 17:16-23 Isaiah 44:16|
|City of Idols, Part Two||Acts 17:22-34|