FROZEN! Acts 17:16-34

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1 FROZEN! Acts 17:16-34

2 Acts 17 The Apostle Paul is alone in the city. He is on his second missionary tour. He is awaiting the company of his co-workers to join him in an evangelistic try in Athens.

3 Acts 17 As it turns out, he can t wait for them to get there, so he begins to tour the city and evaluate the culture, and the one thing that he is most deeply concerned about is the numerous idols, each addressing some specific pagan deity regarding some specific superstitious belief.

4 Acts 17 One idol was even addressed to an unknown god, on the outside chance they might have missed one. This obscene and ungodly behavior provokes him (Acts 17:16) to speak out against idolatry in the local synagogue and Areopagus.

5 Acts 17 This act will soon be noticed by a group of city intellectuals who congregate daily specifically to discuss theoretical hypothesis of the day and generally to exchange their own opinions on these matters. They are called Epicureans and Stoics. Zeno Epicurus

6 Epicureans and Stoics EPICUREANS were a faction of Greek philosophers who belonged to a school founded by Epicurus about 306 B. C. They were focused on the more pragmatic results of philosophy. Their chief aim in life was pleasure. They essentially believed than man finds his greatest happiness through physical and mental pleasure and by avoiding anything that which brought pain.

7 Epicureans and Stoics STOICS believed that mankind should be free from passion, unmoved by joy or grief, and submissive to natural law, stoically accepting all things as the result of divine will. Stoicism was one of the most influential schools of Greek philosophy in the New Testament period. Its name came from the Stoa Poikile, the portico or lecture place in Athens where its founder, Zeno, taught his philosophy.

8 Epicureans and Stoics These men spent {all} their time in doing nothing - other than - telling or hearing something new. Luke wasn t exaggerating. These men were purely talkers, not walkers. They were cerebral types. James would call them hearers versus doers.

9 Paul in the Areopagus Men of Athens, I observe that you are very *religious in all respects (*A better word would be superstitious ). For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, 'TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.' What therefore you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.

10 Superstition vrs. FAITH Superstition - is the fear of the unknown; unknown gods, unknown future, unknown consequences of one s actions.

11 Superstition vrs. FAITH FAITH - is confidence in the Divinely known or revealed, the revealed Christ, the revealed certainty of His Gospel, the revealed consequences of obedience to His Gospel [versus rejection of it].

12 DIVINE CERTAINTY 24 The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all life and breath and all things;

13 DIVINE CERTAINTY 26 and He made from one (Adam), every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined {their} appointed times, and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they should seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;

14 DIVINE CERTAINTY 28 for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we also are His offspring.' 29 "Being then the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man.

15 DIVINE CERTAINTY 30 Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, 31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.

16 Acts 17: Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some {began} to sneer, but others said, "We shall hear you again concerning this." 33 So Paul went out of 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.

17 Cultural Reaction to Paul We like NEW things. It is an obsession with men. Rom. 1:25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. Rom 1:30 they invented new evil acts to perform.

18 Something New? That issue is still an issue today. The world is always looking for a new thrill, a new high, a new pleasure that they might use to satisfy their never-ending lust for self-indulgence.

19 Something New? And with regard to ideas, even in the religious world, many so-called churches are morphing into an image that no longer reflects the true image of Jesus Body. This is very common among the unscriptural denominations- but it is also happening in some instances among our churches of Christ.

20 Brotherhood Authors F. LaGard Smith - The Cultural church C. Leonard Allen, Richard Hughes and Michael Weed - The Worldly church These are churches where the infallibility of Scripture is often questioned and the divine nature of Jesus and his teachings is being filtered through the mores of modern society.

21 Popularist churches The result is a popularist church that no longer asks the hard questions or seeks the pure answers and which might best be described as white-washed tombs full of dead men s bones, (Jesus: Mt. 23:27). In many places the members are dead men, having no real interest in knowing their own doctrines, no real assurance in their calling, no real passion for evangelism.

22 FROZEN! As a result, many churches are frozen; frozen in history, frozen in culture, frozen in Spiritual immaturity. They are like that exploratory voyage down at the South Pole last week many folks are just as immovable in their cultural beliefs.

23 I Wonder? If what many churches are accepting today as FAITH - isn t really just modern superstition in the form of religion, and really no better than the pseudo-philosophical rantings of the Areopagus. I wonder, if Paul were to visit some of our churches today, if he wouldn t have to say again- What you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.

24 If God Allows I want to spend time: Removing some the ignorance from our eyes, Reviving some of the convictions of our hearts Asking the hard questions, the ones that matter. Such as:

25 Some of the Hard Questions Is my FAITH based on truth or tradition? Am I actually living what I believe? Have I truly been transformed by the Spirit or have I merely been conformed by human logic and reason? Etc.

26 My Concerns I am very concerned as to whether the FAITH once for all delivered to the Saints, (Jude 3) will survive the 21 st century?

27 My Concerns Will we as churches of Christ maintain a sound and faithful balance as the image of Jesus today between the fast encroaching socialliberalism of the world and the stubborn reactionary conservatism of traditionalism, because if we survive -- we will have to survive between these two extremes -- as either of these two extremes will destroy the church as an organization and leave us impotent as a people.

28 Breaking it Down I suspect it will be different and a bit challenging for some Know that I will do my best to break it down and present it in pieces we can all digest. Because, it does need to be ingested.

29 Breaking it Down Because, it is vital to our Spiritual health. Because, unless we at least begin to ask ourselves [in sincerity] as to what we believe and why we believe it, we may not as a people survive the era, and we may never as individuals experience the true confidence of our convictions.

30 Plan of Salvation BELIEVE that Jesus is THE SON OF GOD (Mk. 16:15-16) And we must BELIEVE that the WAGES OF SIN ARE STILL DEATH, we need THE BENEFITS OF HIS BLOOD SHED AT CALVARY to cleanse us from our sins. (1 Cor. 6:11) A BENEFIT we receive when we are BAPTIZED INTO JESUS - FOR THE REMISSION OF OUR SINS (Mt. 28:18-20; Rom. 6:3-7 and 6:23).

31 FROZEN! A lot of folks are FROZEN in their ignorant superstitions. They need to get un-frozen! As Paul said in Acts 17:30 Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent

32 FROZEN! According to God s Word- Ignorance is not an excuse for living in sin. OUR JESUS HAS REVEALED THE ETERNAL TRUTH OF GOD FOR ALL TIME, AND NOW IT IS FOR US TO OBEY HIS WILL, AS HE IS THE LORD OF ALL LIFE

33 FROZEN! Don t allow your life to become frozen. Join me in investigating the the core values of THE FAITH once for all delivered to the Saints, (Jude 3)