Skip to content

So, He Told The Story

September 8, 2011

Around this time of year…every year…I have to really guard my heart…for several reasons, all of which are a form of idolatry.  I was warned before we had kids that it was going to be a struggle to not make them ultimate in life.  Ever since July 15, 2004, I have completely understood that advice.  Once school starts back, and soccer, and gymnastics, and all the other pieces of life begin to stack up, I often find myself holding onto them a little too much.  Not that I should shun them or anything…let’s not get crazy…just that I begin to obsess a little too much about our time together, or lack there-of.  And listen, there’s no sense in pretending that I don’t struggle when football season comes around.  I get sucked in…and all too often, begin to worship the creature over the Creator. 

 If you will…I know you’re busy…take a moment and read through Acts 17:16-34.

 This is exactly what Paul finds when he cruises into Athens.  It says that the city was “full of idols.”  Listen, the only way that anything can be a genuine idol, is if there are idolaters holding it in that place.  And the Bible is clear that this upset him.  Verse 16 says, “His spirit was provoked.”  Don’t miss this.  I know you’ve been told that Christians should always be smiling, laughing, and holding hands…but in this instance…Paul is angry.  There is real, tangible, palpable anger.  And you know this feeling…there’s no shame in it.  (There might be some shame if you feel this when your team loses)  Seriously, you’ve felt this when you’ve witnessed gross discrimination…or when you hear of a tragedy that should have been avoided.  It’s that swelling in your soul…that can’t breathe…heart pounding in your chest.  This is what Paul felt when he saw the idols of Athens.  So he told the story.

 Athens is a strange Biblical city…mostly because the city is still there and still has the same name.  But this is not Athens during its golden age…that was about five centuries earlier.  This Athens is one in decline.  And what Paul does is step into the culture, and as was his custom, he “reasoned in the synagogue.”  You had the materialistic Epicureans, and the Stoics with their “whatever will be, will be” philosophy, and Paul just begins engaging them with the Gospel.  Now, we have these people today don’t we…many of us are these people.  We have people who are pure materialists.  The world likes to call them “Naturalists” because it sounds less offensive.  We have these people who do not believe there is purpose…just life and we ought to do our best at it.  We also have stoics around today.  We have the sort of fatalistic, can’t change anything, and just embrace the flow of history type of people that Paul was talking to.  People really haven’t changed that much in two thousand years.

 But Paul notices something.  He’s paying attention, and he sees something.  He says, “I found also an altar ‘to the unknown god.’”  He’s not ignorant of what’s going on around him.  He is in the culture without being corrupted by it.  He’s “Holding true to what we have attained (Phil 3:16).  And then he just explains that the unknown god is the true God.  What they worship as unknown can be known.  All the others are just objects…bits of creation.  But there is a Creator.  We need to remember this.  There is a Creator who “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.”  And then he says this, “That they should seek God.”  Even in our sin, even in our blindness, God has made Himself available…that we might find Him.  He is not far off…for “in Him we live and move and have our being.”  This God has saved us…that’s the good news.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 1, 2013 4:07 am

    An individual in essence produce considerably articles I will talk about. This can be the very first time that I personally frequented your internet page and so a lot? My partner and i surprised using the research you’ve made to generate this particular write-up outstanding. Amazing method!

    • August 29, 2013 9:13 am

      Thanks for the comment. Glad you enjoyed!

  2. August 29, 2013 9:43 am

    Reblogged this on jadamwilliams.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: