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The Gospel Is for All People

(Acts 17:22-34)

Lesson 9 -- first quarter 1999
January 31, 1999

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1998, Christian Light Publications

The Athenians were too superstitious. What about those around you? What are they "too..."? Too selfish? Too lazy? Too sensual? Too fearful? Too materialistic? Too self-satisfied? Too mistrusting? Maybe even too superstitious? People everywhere are too something or other. One of the big questions for us Christians is, are we aware enough of people around us to know what they are "too..."? And related to that one, do were care enough about those people?

We have all kinds of challenges here for us. We need to be aware, and we need to care. We also need to know how to use that "too..." as an effective point of contact. We need to touch these people with Jesus Christ and His Gospel. But we've got to be aware. Notice that Paul could even quote one of their poets.

The Athenians were too superstitious, to the point of trying to cover all their religious bases with an altar to the Unknown God. Then Paul comes along, takes in the sights as it were, sees that altar, and boldly announces, "I'm here to make the Unknown God known to you!" And you know what? Whether they agreed with him or not, they knew precisely what he meant.

An interesting and beneficial exercise for us would be to consider any pertinent "too..." for the express purpose of developing points of contact. Give it a try!

Now back to Athens. Paul announced, "God...now commandeth all men every where to repent." John the Baptist came announcing the Kingdom of God with a powerful call for repentance. Jesus did likewise, and so did Peter. And so have many others. Why does God command repentance?

Because God is done winking. At the ignorance of people who in all sincerity worship idols. At the love-your-friend-hate-your-enemy approach to life. At the focus on form at the expense of substance. At divorce and so many other things. He's been done with all this for almost two thousand years. Jesus came! And now God commands "all men every where to repent." Do we get the message? Out?

God also commands repentance because He has appointed a day in which He will judge the world. Oh the mercy and loving kindness of God to give us the opportunity for and call to repentance! He could have just quit winking and judged the whole lot of us. But not God. Do not despise this time of waiting. Make sure you are ready, then help others get ready!

"...God...hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation" (2 Corinthians 5:18).

"...The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance" (Romans 2:4).

"...If God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth" (2 Timothy 2:25).

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