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ACTS CHAPTER 17

KJV    NAS

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1-4 Now when they had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. 2 And according to Paul's custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, "This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ." 4 And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large number of the God-fearing Greeks and a number of the leading women.

 

Act 17,1-13

(143d) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> The public >> Paul ministered publicly -- These verses go with verses 22-34. Essentially, Paul went to somebody else’s church and stood in the pulpit and preached the gospel to them. Jesus regularly did this too, and it made spreading the gospel extremely simple, compared to today. Jewish services were held differently from gentile services; they didn’t exactly have a leader but a synagogue official, unlike churches today that have pastors who very jealously protect their pulpits, and if anyone dared enter his pulpit, a security teem would quickly drag him off stage and dispose of him. We could conduct Bible studies in our own homes that would better resemble the Jewish model of decentralized leadership, which will continue to increase in popularity as the day of Christ grows nearer, but for now "Church" these days is a closed system supposedly to shut out false teachers, while the truth is assumed. If they were wrong about the truth, there would be no way to correct them, and there is a lot of wrong teachings in the Church that have crept in over the course of 2000 years, and so it will remain in that condition indefinitely, because there is no way to correct it. Back in the 1980s we could go to just about any church any time of the week and find the doors open and someone there, so the pastor made himself accessible to the public, but this is no longer the case. Now, the pastor makes himself unavailable even to the very public he is attempting to reach with the gospel, shutting the doors and locking them with the pastor almost never on the premises.

Act 17,1-4

(6k) Responsibility >> Protecting the Gospel >> Persuade men that Jesus is the Christ – These verses go with verse 17

(149a) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Three key messages in evangelism >> The resurrection -- These verses go with verses 16-21. One of the main contributions of First Thessalonians is in chapter four regarding the Rapture, though it is controversial. In most Christian minds, we realize that the Rapture will occur at the First Resurrection, wherein God gathers His people together who died in faith from the beginning of time. The Rapture involves those who are still alive, and He will give them all spiritual bodies (1Cor 15-44), which is an oxymoron to our finite understanding, for we can’t conceptualize having a body that is spiritual. Although we currently have a spirit and a body, they are separate like apples and oranges, but a spiritual body is where both are one.

(210i) Salvation >> Jews and gentiles are being saved >> Salvation is from the Jews >> Jews are believers >> Gospel belongs to the Jew first

Act 17,2-5

(65e) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Jesus brings division instead of peace

Act 17-2,3

(141g) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Old Testament bears witness to the new >> It bears witness to Jesus >> Prophesy about Jesus’ resurrection

(174a) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Man’s religion >> Good traditions (Exception to bad religion) >> Good customs

Act 17-2

(89b) Thy kingdom come >> Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom >> Wisdom corresponds with logical reasoning -- This verse goes with verse 11

Act 17,4-13

(163f) Works of the devil >> Being a slave to the devil (Addictions) >> Used by Satan to destroy the word of God >> Used to destroy the mouthpiece of God

Act 17,4-9

(24i) Sin >> Poverty (Forms of fear) >> Jews are envious of the gospel

(97b) Thy kingdom come >> Having a negative attitude about yourself >> An uncooperative attitude

Act 17-4

(3g) Women (Key verse)

(3i) Responsibility >> To the Family >> God addresses both genders >> Women leaders -- This verse goes with verse 12

(86d) Thy kingdom come >> Belief demands a response -- This verse goes with verse 12

(239d) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Pursuing the knowledge of the kingdom >> Teachers >> Teachable students >> The teachable submit to the word -- This verse goes with verses 11&12. The result of this leg of the missionary journey has given us the two epistles of Thessalonians. Had Paul never gone there, he would have never written them, though he may have gone somewhere else and written other epistles instead. Paul often addressed questions and issues of the churches, being part of the reason he wrote his letters, and in them we have his teachings in writing, being important to the churches and even more important to us. It forced him to think through his ideas before he penned them to parchment, so that we have in his letters some of his greatest teachings, collectively representing all that he taught.

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

5 But the Jews, becoming jealous and taking along some wicked men from the market place, formed a mob and set the city in an uproar; and attacking the house of Jason, they were seeking to bring them out to the people.

 

Act 17,5-9

(154e) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> God bears witness against the world >> Witness that the world is godless >> Witness that the world hates God

(163g) Works of the devil >> Being a slave to the devil (Addictions) >> Used by Satan to destroy the word of God >> Used to Suppress the truth – The Jews who persecuted Paul and Silas suddenly cared about Caesar. The very institution that oppressed them for decades they suddenly gave allegiance, using this argument to oppress the truth that they hated even more. This was the very argument the Jews used to crucify Jesus, “We have no king but Caesar,” they said in Jn 19-15. They hated Caesar and his oppressive military tactics that converted their religious ceremonies into privileges, but they hated Jesus even more. They were willing to sacrifice their own faith in God and their hope of a coming messiah to martyr Jesus, who was that very Messiah, who would have delivered them had they opened their eyes and seen Him. Now they were doing the same to Paul, showing a total lack of repentance, and would do the same to anybody who came preaching Jesus to them.

(175j) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Ignorance >> Ignorant of what God means >> Ignorant of the meaning of God’s word – Many of the Jews actually believed in God, being open minded to the many Old Testament passages that pointed to the cross and the resurrection of Christ, and many of these were saved, but those who were blind to the Scriptures never saw the 2000-year age of grace coming. Embedded within the concerns about eternity and the life to come is loving and serving God and His people, which they discounted. Instead, they focused on the Old Testament passages that described a messiah delivering them from their oppressors, being the Romans at the time. To be forgiven their sins didn’t make it on their list of priorities, but they were very interested in the Scriptures describing their messiah coming and establishing His kingdom on the earth, though these refer to the Millennium at the end of this age that is still to come. They wanted Jesus to enhance their temporal lives in the flesh, but cared nothing for their eternal souls.

(180j) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Rebellion >> Rebelling against God’s narrow way >> Rebelling against the ways of God

(181f) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Lawlessness >> Having no regard for the law >> Forsaking the law

(200i) Denying Christ >> Excuses for rejecting Christ >> Using irresponsibility as an excuse to reject God >> Trying to talk your way out of accountability

(242g) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Persecuting the kingdom >> Worldly pressure >> World pressures you to forsake God – Paul’s plight with the Jews involved them persecuting him from town to town, Pharisees like his former self. Their strategy was to either get the majority opinion or else the authorities on their side to fight against the truth and escort them from their city. Paul didn’t have grounds to accuse them or to judge them, so they remained a thorn in his side. God allowed this hindrance to the gospel, since apparently it wasn’t serious enough to warrant stopping them. The world has a propensity to reject the truth; it is slanted in that direction, so when someone gives a little push, everyone moves in that direction without too much prodding, but Paul and Silas had to sacrifice their lives and put themselves in mortal danger to tell people about Jesus. They actually performed a service for Paul and Silas, keeping them sharp in prayer while delivering the gospel to the people; nevertheless, if it were up to Paul, he would have loved to see them disappear.

Act 17,5-8

(75k) Thy kingdom come >> Motives >> Jealously manipulating people

(166h) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Wisdom of the world >> Nature Of Man’s Wisdom >> Man’s wisdom will not allow the righteous to succeed

(183ea) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Spirit of Error (Anti-Christ / Anti-Semitism) >> Nursery for the spirit of error >> Selfish ambition >> Seeking to control the Church

(240i) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Hindering the kingdom >> Taking away the key of knowledge >> Hindering people from entering the kingdom -- These verses go with verses 13&14

Act 17-5,6

(54h) Paradox >> Opposites >> Not much respect for someone with world renown The irony of the Jews persecuting Paul was that if they didn’t believe then why were they jealous? Paul had already developed a reputation for evangelism, receiving high praise from his enemies, whom he could trust more than anyone when it came to positive feedback. Coming from his friends and companions, this wouldn’t have meant as much, but when his enemies said that his efforts have turned the world upside down for Jesus, it must have made him feel that he was really accomplishing something.

(148k) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Obligation to preach the gospel >> Consumed by the desire to do it

Act 17-5

(3l) Responsibility >> To the Family >> God addresses both genders >> Evil men

(16h) Sin >> Man’s willingness to be evil >> Being punished for doing God’s will

(179c) Stir Up The Crowd (Key verse)

(179d) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Wolves >> Stir up the crowd >> Stir up the crowd through jealousy -- This verse goes with verse 8. Paul came to the Jewish synagogue and presented the gospel to them first; it wasn’t like they were jealous of the gentiles in this case, so what made them jealous? They had unteachable spirits and were jealous because they knew Paul was preaching the truth, and they were too prideful and arrogant to admit that he and Silas knew something about the Scriptures that they and their people have overlooked for centuries. They could have humbled themselves and they would have become brothers in the faith, but the Jews were simply unteachable. Pride is hopelessly depraved; it is the main sin that keeps people from heaven.

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

6-10 When they did not find them, they began dragging Jason and some brethren before the city authorities, shouting, "These men who have upset the world have come here also; 7 and Jason has welcomed them, and they all act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus." 8 They stirred up the crowd and the city authorities who heard these things. 9 And when they had received a pledge from Jason and the others, they released them. 10 The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews.

 

Act 17-6

(105h) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Led by the Spirit >> Into The will of God >> Led to the right people

(128ia) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Bearing fruit >> Living a fruitful life >> Be fruitful and multiply >> Growing numerically

Act 17-7

(66c) Authority >> Lordship of Christ >> Jesus is Lord of His people – It sounds funny for an unbeliever to talk about our faith; it makes us want to answer him the way Jesus answered Pilate, “It is as you say.” They speak the truth without knowing it; if they only believed in what they were saying, they could be saved. The Jews condemned the gospel, “To whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises” (Rom 9-4). They were first in line to receive salvation, and they were supposed to teach the gentiles the faith that leads to eternal life, but they rejected it. Now in this verse the Jews have the truth on their lips and they don’t even know it. They made up excuses why the gospel isn’t true, and of all things they used Caesar, a gentile king to deny Christ, who couldn't care less about them or their religion. This was a reiteration of what they said at His crucifixion; they brought up Caesar as their king then too, so it makes us think they actually meant it, but in fact it was just a convenient lie. The Romans had captured Israel and Jerusalem, and the Jews were trying to remain in good standing with their captors. If they could please Caesar, then maybe their life would go a little easier, but if they believed in Jesus, they would most certainly be persecuted and bring down the wrath of Caesar on their heads. The world can give us a hundred reasons not to believe in Jesus, but this life will end, and they will bury the hindrances of the gospel in the ground, but the benefits of believing in Jesus will follow us into eternity. Those who believe in Jesus in defiance of earthy kings will partake of the First Resurrection and receive new bodies, and God will create a new heavens and a new earth, and we will enjoy His new creation forever and ever. Therefore, we should make decisions now that benefit us in eternity, even if they cause us a little suffering in this life.

Act 17-8

(179d) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Wolves >> Stir up the crowd >> Stir up the crowd through jealousy -- This verse goes with verse 13

Act 17-9

(2e) Responsibility >> Keep your commitments >> it is better not to vow at all – They made Jason and some others take an oath, not recanting their faith but promising to never help the apostles preach the gospel in their area again. Back then their word was their bond meaning more to them then a signature on a legal document; they had no choice but to honor their word. We can find ways around a signed legal document, but when they made an oath, it was a bond strong as marriage vows.

Act 17,10-13

(95f) Thy kingdom come >> Attitude >> Having a cooperative attitude >> Cooperating with each other – There are many pastors and teachers who become convinced of their doctrines too early without ever verifying what they believe. This is based on the prideful attitude, ‘Far be it from me to be wrong!' In contrast, the Bereans were noble-minded and examined the scriptures to verify the doctrines they believed. The longer we believe what is false, the harder it is to admit we were wrong. Would it be more difficult to admit we believed a lie for a month or for five decades? When we happen upon a truth that is greater than ours, we should joyfully modify our theology to accommodate a more accurate depiction of the truth. If we wait too long, we will build up resistance to change, and our fleshly pride doesn’t like to admit that we have been wrong. It even has a name "Cognitive Dissonance". As a newborn Christian it is imperative that we have disciplined mentors who are highly committed to the faith, ensuring the things they tell us. Even then, we need to edit our theology from time to time, being inevitable. There is really nothing wrong with having views different from other people, for differing views are not always wrong, but wrong interpretations of Scripture can be dangerous, such as those surrounding the person of Jesus Christ, which raises the biggest question in the Bible, 'who died for our sins?' If we get this wrong and turn His identity into someone He's not, the gospel becomes fatally flawed. See also: Act 17-11,12; 239d

(148l) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Obligation to preach the gospel >> Slave laborers -- These verses to with verse 30

(210h) Salvation >> Jews and gentiles are being saved >> Salvation is from the Jews >> The Jew first >> Jews lead the world to faith in Jesus – The Bereans were nobler than the Thessalonians, referring to the Jewish people in these cities. Although Paul was an evangelist to the gentiles, he still had deep ties with his former heritage and fellow countrymen, the Jews, and maintained a deep desire to see them saved. He never lost his love for them, so when he went from town to town preaching the gospel, he appealed to the Jews first, and if they rejected the gospel, he would then turn to the gentiles. He ministered in this way from city to city (Act 13-46). In Rom 1-16 (also in chapter two) he used this phrase three times: “to the Jew first and also to the Greek [gentile],” making it a principle of Scripture. After they fully examined the Scriptures to verify what Paul was saying, it says, ‘Therefore, many of them believed.’ So studying Scripture often leads to faith and salvation. The Bereans had two witnesses come to them: the apostles and the Old Testament Scriptures. They taught the gospel through the Old Testament; that is how well the Old Testament documented the first coming of Jesus Christ, yet the unbelieving Jews still can’t see it to this day. People make up their minds about the truth and believe what they want. They could study the Scriptures for hours, yet it wouldn’t do them any good, because they allow only certain things to influence them, and other aspects of the truth they simply reject.

Act 17-10

(215k) Sovereignty >> God controls time >> Suddenly >> Working quickly -- This verse goes with verse 14

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

11-13 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. 12 Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men. 13 But when the Jews of Thessalonica found out that the word of God had been proclaimed by Paul in Berea also, they came there as well, agitating and stirring up the crowds. 

 

Act 17-11,12

(239d) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Pursuing the knowledge of the kingdom >> Teachers >> Teachable students >> The teachable submit to the word -- These verses go with verse 4. The noble-mindedness of the Bereans is defined by the fact that they didn’t reject out-of-hand what Paul was saying. The ignoble trait of rejecting something without looking into it, that is, exempting themselves from the need to investigate, is tantamount to exempting themselves from the truth. If someone says something that doesn’t jive with what they already know, they simply discount it. This behavior is rooted in pride. The Bereans, being noble-minded, were not ruled by pride, so they could hear Paul’s message of eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, which was a better fit with their Old Testament Scriptures than their previous beliefs. These were things that the persecuting Jews were incapable of doing, because their pride meant more to them than the truth. They had already made up their minds, but the Bereans monitored their pride like a caged rabid dog. Open-minded people are willing to make room for the truth, but know-it-alls make the rest of us wonder how they know anything at all. These people have sources from whom they are willing to learn, whom they have previously ratified, and they learn from them and from nobody else. Whatever their sources say they believe out-of-hand without questioning them, and whatever someone else says they see as moving lips without sound. Those who claim to already know the truth act like the unbelieving Jews who persecuted Paul and Silas from town to town. Open-mindedness is actually persecuted in Christendom today. Bigoted people see open-mindedness as a lack of confidence in what they believe, but in fact open-minded people are more likely to know the truth, because they are not afraid to listen to other people's ideas. See also: Act 17-11; 80d

Act 17-11

(80d) Thy kingdom come >> Know the word to learn the ways of God >> Leading to the truth – This verse is the sharpest exhortation in the Bible regarding our diligence in studying the Scriptures. We are to read the word of God, not as a hobby or as a religious duty but as knowledge that can save our souls (1Pet 1,3-9). Paul preached the gospel and the Bereans examined the Old Testament to see whether his assertions were correct. The book of Acts exonerated them for doing this, and so did Paul, who preached to all the Churches to be diligent in God’s word. The Bereans studied Scripture because they had every intension of believing in Jesus, and before they made this life-decision, they assured what they were about to believe was true. They didn’t want to get hoodwinked into believing a version of the gospel that was incorrect. Whenever we make a change to our theology, we need to examine the Scriptures thoroughly to make sure what we believe is true, because sometimes our teachers are ignorant of the truth, and other times people are outright lying to us. Therefore, we need to be like the Bereans and ‘daily examine the Scriptures to see whether these things are so.’  See also: Act 17,10-13; 95f

(89b) Thy kingdom come >> Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom >> Wisdom corresponds with logical reasoning -- This verse goes with verse 17

(232l) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Seeking the kingdom >> Seek the essence of his kingdom >> Seeking the truth

Act 17-12

(3i) Responsibility >> To the Family >> God addresses both genders >> Women leaders -- This verse goes with verse 4

(86d) Thy kingdom come >> Belief demands a response -- This verse goes with verse 34

Act 17-13,14

(240i) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Hindering the kingdom >> Taking away the key of knowledge >> Hindering people from entering the kingdom -- These verses go with verses 5-8. The Jews didn’t go there to reason with the people like Paul and Silas did, but came only to agitate. Being allergic to the truth, they have a reprobate mind, being quarrelsome and competitive. Like wild dogs they snap at those who confess to know the truth, and it seems every church has a few of them. Those who fit this description are by no means saved; they don't love God but prefer controversy and disputes (1Tim 1,3-7; 6,3-5) without bringing grace and truth or an instance of enlightenment, only darkness.

Act 17-13

(179d) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Wolves >> Stir up the crowd >> Stir up the crowd through jealousy -- This verse goes with verse 5. The Jewish zealots persecuted Paul throughout his ministry, Paul being one of them before his conversion, but he defected from the mob. He said about the thorn in his flesh, “Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me-to keep me from exalting myself!” (2Cor 12-7). He asked the Lord three times that the Jews would stop following him, trying to shut down his ministry, but God would not stop them, partly because it was part of his judgment for persecuting the Church in His earlier life, and more importantly because his persecutors were doing more to promote the gospel than hindering it, for it seems the gospel needs persecution to flourish. People saw the persecution and recognized there must be something to Paul's message, and that it must be inherently good, since those persecuting it were hopelessly evil.

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

14&15 Then immediately the brethren sent Paul out to go as far as the sea; and Silas and Timothy remained there. 15 Now those who escorted Paul brought him as far as Athens; and receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible, they left. 

 

Act 17-14,15

(7c) Responsibility >> Protecting the gospel >> Defending the word of God >> Protecting the men who carry the gospel – It seems you just can't get far enough away from certain kinds of people. This was another effort to save Paul’s life, who was aiming at getting himself killed. He would not escape from harms way on his own, so his friends often escorted him to a safer place. Note that Silas and Timothy remained there, suggesting that these hostile Jews specifically had it in for Paul, because he was once one of them and defected from their unbelief. Paul preached the gospel and agitated the Jews in that area so much that they wanted to kill him. Instead of knowing when to leave, he continued preaching so long as he had ears that were listening, until he was taken and beaten to the point of death or thrown in prison, but his friends often saved him from this fate. Paul was ready to die for the Lord, which is fine, but it seemed he had a death-wish. He wanted to go down in a blaze of glory with martyrdom as his legacy. Religious history records him quietly beheaded, so he got his wish.

(14k) Servant >> Ministry of helps >> Helpers are indirectly in charge of the word >> They relieve church leaders of menial duties – His fellow brethren came and took him as far as the sea, and Silas and Timothy remained in Berea teaching the word of God to those who had believed, establishing the church in their area, not a building but the people, who usually held services in their homes. From there they found Paul who was already preaching the gospel to another people in another place, and many were getting saved, and they came to Paul and taught the new converts about Jesus and established other churches in their area.

(234h) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Invest in the kingdom >> Sold out >> Placing no boundaries on your commitment to God >> Going to any extreme to fulfill the will of God – People were being saved and he was concerned for those who would hear the gospel and believe, and he was risking his life to do it. His friends took him by force and physically hauled him from danger against his will. On the one hand, this was the only way Paul could have accomplished what he did, and God used his bullheadedness. On the other hand he could have used a little discretion, risking his life to the point of almost dying before the time and losing opportunities to minister. His friends fought against the very qualities that God used in Paul to bring the gospel to the world. His commitment and devotion to his purpose and calling was probably greater than any man before or after him. We could say that Paul was the most driven man besides Jesus Christ Himself. In fact, he met Jesus on the road to Damascus and it changed his life, but that is not the only thing that was at work in his life. Many of Paul’s qualities were in him before that time. Paul was the ultimate Jewish zealot; he put all the others to shame. He couldn’t accept limitations when he was attempting to change the world, which Paul did. He virtually did the impossible by reaching the entire known world for Jesus. If it weren’t for Paul it would be a question how much longer it would have taken Christianity to gain a foothold in the world. It literally would have taken centuries longer, but as it was he touched foot in lands thousands of miles from his homeland and took the gospel as far as he could as long as his age allowed him.

Act 17-14

(215k) Sovereignty >> God controls time >> Suddenly >> Working quickly -- This verse goes with verse 10

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

16-21 Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was being provoked within him as he was observing the city full of idols. 17 So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present. 18 And also some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were conversing with him. Some were saying, "What would this idle babbler wish to say?" Others, "He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities,"-because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. 19 And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, "May we know what this new teaching is which you are proclaiming? 20 "For you are bringing some strange things to our ears; so we want to know what these things mean." 21 (Now all the Athenians and the strangers visiting there used to spend their time in nothing other than telling or hearing something new.)

 

Act 17,16-32

(175m) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Ignorance >> Ignorant of God – The gospel has been around for 2000 years and people have grown familiar with it, the vast majority of society having already made up its mind against Christianity. The reason: the Church is dilapidated and spiritually disheveled. The doctrines we believe are splintered and skewed into error, so now even the people of God believe a plethora of lies, which have returned to ignorance. Charlatans have perpetrated erroneous teachings against the truth, so now televangelists fly around the world in private jets and have beautiful homes to conveniently prove their doctrines, but through them and many others the gospel has been maligned, their prosperity doctrines an open wound, hindering anyone from becoming a Christian. Instead of the Church resembling the apostle Paul trying to persuade the world of our teachings, we have taken the place of the Athenians and sneer at sound doctrine. Christianity has no rival when it comes to superstition, having become ignorant of God, which is the greatest travesty since Israel rejected their own gospel.

(178d) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Presumption (Hinduism) >> Presuming the facts about the circumstances >> Philosophy – Man has had philosophies about God from the very beginning; this is not bad, but neither is it useful when the truth has come and we have rejected it. We can grope for God as the Athenians did who never found Him, but what makes us so arrogant to think we will find Him using the same method? ignorance begets ignorance and truth begets truth; if we want to know Him, we will need to read the Bible, otherwise we will develop our own philosophy about God that will inevitably fail to depict Him. Paul said that all mankind are the children of God, but he also said that we should repent. More specifically the children of God are born-again Christians who constitute the true Church. These children of God to whom Paul referred are all part of this natural creation well enough, yet not all of His natural children go to heaven, only those who have allowed Him to mix His Spirit with ours to become one in Christ (1Cor 6-17). So, He is part of us and we are part of Him, forever linked in a marriage relationship lived through faith.

Act 17,16-31

(195h) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Idolatry >> Worshipping other gods >> Worshipping other gods as a servant

Act 17,16-21

(149a) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Three key messages in evangelism >> The resurrection -- These verses go with verses 31-34. Note it says that the Athenians did little more than exchange new ideas, yet they were completely unfamiliar with the resurrection, showing just how uncommon an idea it was back then. We can talk about the resurrection now because the Bible teaches it; otherwise it would still be just as uncommon. So, without the Bible the resurrection is a foreign concept, and still a stumbling block for some to believe. It is a wonderful thought that we will all one day rise from the dead, never to die again, yet the question remains: are we going to heaven. If not, the resurrection is the very definition of hell! To possess eternal life is something we would all like to believe, but not everyone has the courage to actually believe. Prior to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, coming back to life was so distant from the human imagination that it was beyond even fantasy. Hard as it is for us to fathom the resurrection, how much harder was it for those in Paul’s day to conceptualize such an idea who had never thought along these terms? These philosophers did little more than sit around and listen to new ideas, and they found the resurrection to be utterly fantastical, and mocked Paul for having the audacity to believe something so wild, which bespeaks its radical significance. They thought they had heard it all being philosophers, but when Paul came and told them this was more than mere conjecture, an actual promise from the God who created them, they met brazen faith in the apostle Paul. This is what all Christians need to believe in God. We must be bold and courageous to believe the truth and live for Jesus in a world that hates Him. All of Christianity’s critics exempt themselves from God’s requirement of faith in His absolute truth, yet if they can’t find it in themselves to believe in Him at His word, then the truth has exposed them as wimps.

Act 17-16

(70e) Authority >> Sin of familiarity >> Familiarity-enemy of discernment >> Spirit grieves over sin

(188k) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Sorrow (Vexation) >> Grieving over your own loss >> Grieving over the loss of others – This is an aspect of faith that virtually no one understands except Christians, vexation of spirit. Even unbelievers have the occasional vexing moment, but never as often or severe as Christians in a world that doesn't know God. Christians experience constant vexation of spirit merely being in the presence of unbelievers. The horror of living in a world without God is the Christian’s plight, but to the unbeliever this world is as close to heaven as they will ever get, unless they repent of their unbelief. Paul, an apostle and evangelist was persecuted from town to town; he was whipped and beaten innumerous times, reasoned with people, seeing the good and the bad, yet beyond all this was the vexation of soul that continually taunted him. It was one of his greatest languishes, yet it almost never entered the conversation, being something we all must suffer silently. Vexation of spirit plays in the background like a nagging headache that we try to ignore. By analogy of wartime, the soldier goes though battles and narrowly escapes death; he gets hungry and thirsty, wet and cold; he gets injured and scared, yet beyond all this is the carnage that he must witness along they way, the stench of dead bodies strewn about the landscape, the misery of both fellow soldier and civilian of both women and children. We Christians similarly must experience a world of unbelief waiting for us just outside our front door. The vexation of so many souls on their way to hell, knowing there is virtually nothing we can do about it, except talk to a handful of people and hopefully see them get saved, but the rest fade into obscurity, and many of them are friends and family. 

Act 17-17

(6k) Responsibility >> Protecting the Gospel >> Persuade men that Jesus is the Christ – This verse goes with verses 1-4.

(88j) Thy kingdom come >> Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom >> It causes repentance

(89b) Thy kingdom come >> Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom >> Wisdom corresponds with logical reasoning -- This verse goes with verse 27

Act 17,18-21

(233g) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Seeking the kingdom >> Seek the kingdom by the flesh

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

22 So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, "Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects.

 

Act 17,22-34

(143d) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> The public >> Paul ministered publicly -- These verses go with verses 1-13

(154d) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> God bears witness against the world >> Witness that the world is godless >> Witness that the world does not know God

Act 17,22-31

(54ea) Paradox >> Opposites >> Creation does not know its creator (Pantheism) – Most people refuse to worship a god that has been spelled-out for them, but prefer to worship a god of their own, devising their own ideas about him. For example, some who thought they were making up their own religion happened upon the teaching of Pantheism, the idea that god lives in the fabric of his creation, so to worship the creation is to worship god, but Paul condemned Pantheism as a pagan religion (Romans chapter one). There are a handful of other theories about God that have evolved into popular religious beliefs and given names, such as Hinduism, which boasts of being the oldest religion in the world and seeks to explain human experience and behavior through karma, the notion that whatever we do will return to us, whether good or evil. If bad things happen to us, it means we have done bad things, and if fortune comes our way it means the good we have done is now rewarding us. The biblical principle of sowing and reaping parallels the concept of karma, according to Gal 6-7,8, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” The difference between this quote from Galatians and Karma is that karma explains it as though God were in charge of all the activities of men, but God created man to be free. He is not in charge of doling out rewards and punishments in this life but is willing to wait for a time that He has designated for this specific purpose, called the Day of Judgment. God created a cause-and-effect universe, so in general terms the creation itself repays man for the good and evil he does. Occasionally, God will get involved in human activities such as when He institutes a new age, but overall He has better things to do than baby-sit mankind. See also: Act 17,22-25; 162f

(74b) Thy kingdom come >> The heart >> God wants a relationship with your heart – There is nothing we have that God needs but has access to every resource in creation. The only thing He doesn’t have is our hearts, and this is what He wants more than stars and galaxies. This is what it means to be God: He wants to own everything (Eph 4-6), yet no one owns Him, except the children of God (1Cor 3-23; Eph 2,4-7), so if He doesn’t own our hearts, then He isn’t much of a God. So adamant is God to subject all things to Himself that Jesus died on the cross to achieve this goal. However, God is an amazing person and He will ultimately come into possession of all things (1Cor 15,24-28), including our hearts, and those who withhold themselves from Him have a place prepared for them in hell, which He created that He holds in complete ownership along with everything it contains, a place where He can see into it, but its inhabitants cannot see through their blinding darkness. Jesus went to the cross to experience death for everyone, so He has experienced all that He subjected to His creation. He felt separation from His Father through sin, yet He was innocent of it. He went to hell and back for us and He now lives at the top of heaven. There is nothing the sinner has experienced that Jesus hasn’t. He was a man with limited resources and familiar with suffering and temptation through the weakness of human flesh, so no one can tell Him on judgment day that He doesn't understand.

(94m) Thy kingdom come >> God’s perspective >> God reflects on His creation – It is a conundrum that God would create such a magnificent universe and be jealous of us for worshipping idols. The explanation is straightforward by virtue of the definition of God: He is lord of His creation. Therefore, His jealousy comes from an innate obsession to subject all things to Himself, and the fact that we don’t understand this tells what we don’t know about God. He created a universe that continues forever, but He didn’t create anything of any real value until He created mankind, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. This was a very special creation to Him, for He made us in His image. What is it about us that is in His image? Perhaps He has two arms and two legs like us; or maybe He stands upright, and has a nose and a mouth and ears. None of this constitutes being made in the image of God. Rather, we have the capacity to understand Him, to make choices, to form a worldview and to believe anything we want. All these things directly translate to being made in the image of God; they also are involved in creating our world, which in turn has shaped the earth. In this way we are creators of our destiny, like God. We have the capacity to believe in something, to trust and to make decisions and understand what we are doing. We have the capacity to create ideas and to veto or accept other people's ideas. Essentially, we have the capacity to create truth, for whatever we believe is true to us, and when we act on our truth, we make them come true, just like God does. We have created worlds this way, towering empires from the dust of the ground. This is what it means to be made in the image of God. This is how He thinks: ‘If I don’t put the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the garden and give them an opportunity to exercise their will, it will be as though I never gave it to them.’ Similarly, this is how man thinks: ‘If I don’t eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, it will be as though I never had the choice.’ So, it was inevitable that we should take the path of sin, and God knew we would and even hoped we would. He originally made us to be farmers, but after we ate the forbidden fruit we became lords of the earth, and in eternity he will call us to become lords of His new creation, and as mere farmers we simply would not have been up to the task. 

(155a) Witness >> Validity of the believer >> Witness of the believer >> Conscience >> Having a good conscience >> Doing right to the best of our knowledge

(173d) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Catholicism >> Scripture that contradicts the catholic faith >> Worshipping idols – Paul was telling the Athenians that the God of heaven did not inhabit their religion. Paul cited only one inscription of all the idols he saw, but his vexation at Athens was in regard to the many idols, and his point was that none of them were any good. The one he mentioned spoke truth about the person worshipped it: he didn't know his god. This is true of all idol worshippers; they don't know the true God. We don’t have to look far in the Old Testament to see what God thinks of idols, for the first commandment of the law says it all. Idol worship is something God hates. To make the decision not to worship God is one thing, but to worship other gods is the ultimate insult to Him.

Act 17,22-29

(150a) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Invitation to the Kingdom of God

(221a) Kingdom of God >> The elusive Kingdom of Heaven >> Kingdom hidden behind the veil from the world >> God hides from man’s ignorance >> God hides from those who are not looking for Him

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

Act 17,22-25

(1i) Responsibility >> Avoid offending God >> False burden >> Serving God in ignorance – This verse is in conjunction with verse 29. If our religion does not encapsulate the truth, then we are not worshipping God, hence we do not know Him, yet the numbers are increasing in the world who believe that God is unknowable, thus the truth is irrelevant. They think if they just believe something, it will honor God, as in Paul's day, who preached the gospel to a very religious people. He picked out one of their monuments and quoted its inscription to them, “TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.” He told them, “What you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.” What does that say about religious people? If Paul was trying to get them saved, doesn’t it mean they were previously unsaved? Therefore, there are many highly religious people in the world who are not saved. All of them by virtue of their religion believe they are right with God, but the Scriptures testify against mere religion that it has no power to save. If people do not form their beliefs around God’s word, but worship Him in their own way, it cannot bring them to God. There are many people in the Church whose beliefs revolve around false doctrine, yet at the very core of their beliefs they have a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. They understand that the sacrifice of Jesus’ cross is the only means by which God can forgive sin, and that believing in Him, God counts us righteous. In this way, the good works that stem from our faith in Jesus becomes evidence of our faith. However, the Athenians believed in various gods that they erroneously invented through a vivid imagination over many centuries, assuming their many beliefs would appease the gods, but God is not glorified by the deceptions of men or by the doctrines of demons. Rather, we glorify God when we believe and obey the truth that is in Jesus, who said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (Jn 14-6).

(19l) Sin >> Worshiping idols will twist your mind -- These verses go with verse 29. Worshipping other gods is tantamount to worshipping demons, which is akin to worshipping self. The devil worships himself, and he defines every form of religion as self-worship, except the true religion, which is based on the truth, for then we are worshipping the true God. There is a demon behind every idol, so for us to be idol worshippers is to worship God’s nemesis, and to worship demons is to give them power. To give them power is to destroy ourselves, so there are big reasons God doesn’t like us worshipping idols. Is God jealous? Yes He is! It sounds immature until we look into the reason behind His jealousy. He created us to be His worshippers. We have no idea the amount of time God devotes to thinking about us. We are just a lot of ants on a globe, and we wonder why God cares about us, but if we worshipped Him, we would know.

(162f) Works of the devil >> Being a slave to the devil (Addictions) >> Bondage >> A slave to unbelief >> Bondage to believing a lie -- These verses go with verse 29. Verse 24 does away with Pantheism, the belief that God dwells in His creation, such as in plants and animals as well as inanimate objects such as rocks and sand, in that Paul said He doesn’t dwell in temples made with hands. According to Pantheism, everything we see is a reflection of God, but God does not dwell in all the natural things of this world, and He especially doesn’t dwell in the idols we make supposedly in his honor. If He doesn’t dwell in idols, how much less does He dwell in substances we don’t worship? So based on this statement alone, Pantheism is a false concept. The creation is under a curse, and the curse is that God has removed Himself from the creation, so not only is Pantheism a lie, it is the exact opposite of the truth. God doesn’t dwell in anything of this creation and nor is He served by human hands. So there is nowhere that he lives and no way to serve Him, except by believing in His Son; then He will dwell in the hearts as we serve Him in spirit and in truth. See also: Act 17,22-31; 54ea

Act 17-22,23

(1f) Responsibility >> Avoid offending God >> become all things to all men >> Conform without compromise

(53j) Paradox >> Opposites >> Contradicting your own standards >> Believing in something you don’t understand

(198d) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Ordained by man >> Men place themselves in positions of authority >> Men who have no business in the ministry – The men of Athens had an excuse for worshipping nameless gods -the gospel had not yet come to them. The opportunity to believe in Jesus was bran new, but 2000 years later what excuse have we to worship God in ignorance? What excuse have men in the pulpits of our churches leading people in worship to an unknown god? Obviously, there are many churches that adore the true God of heaven, but there are other churches that are not as sincere. We have no excuse today, and the fact is the Athenians didn’t either, for there were people back then who worshipped the true God even before the gospel became available. Jesus said of them, “Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me” (Jn 6-45). Before Jesus shed His blood there were worshippers of God, both Jews and gentiles who were being trained by the Old Testament about the person of God. The vast majority of the human race still worships an unknown God to this day, though they have heard the gospel and Jesus showed us His very nature and character.

(208h) Salvation >> The salvation of God >> Personal relationship >> Being the friend of God >> Relationship with God by the Spirit – No religion but Christianity has attempted to reveal the person of God and His plan for mankind. A born-again Christian, devoted to his faith has potential to know God better than his immediate family members. Although our five senses cannot detect God, we interact with Him strictly on a spiritual basis, yet because of our spiritual connection, we can actually become closer to God than our natural mind allows. Often we can’t get very close to people from a lack of trust, but we can trust God, for one reason because He is God, and secondly because we trust Him like Job who said, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him” (Job 13-15). This is the kind of faith God wants from His people, and if we give this to Him, we can erase the slogan off our altar, “To and Unknown God,” and can write in its place, ‘Jesus is my way to God.’

(209b) Salvation >> The salvation of God >> Personal relationship >> Counterfeit relationship through religion >> Knowing about God, but not knowing God – Notice what Paul said: they were religious in all respects. Being religious never guaranteed anybody the truth. In fact, Paul was bring out the opposite point, that their religion was getting in the way of understanding the truth of the resurrection from the dead and that all their religion would not get them to heaven. Paul was saying, ‘Yes, you are highly religious, but you have not yet come to know God.’ Many people have a problem understanding genuine faith because they are not genuine people. They don’t want anything to do with God because they prefer their secular worldview, the belief that what they see is all that exists.

Act 17-22 

(3l) Responsibility to the Family >> God addresses both genders >> Evil men

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

23-26 "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.' Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. 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 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; 26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation,

 

Act 17,23-29

(212d) Sovereignty >> God is infinite >> He is the creator >> Evolution (Defaming God) >> The philosophy of evolution

Act 17,24-31

(154b) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> God bears witness against the world >> No excuse >> There is no excuse for rejecting the Father

Act 17,24-29

(30b) Gift of God >> God is our source >> His creative ability supplies our needs – Although God has gifted mankind with the ability to reproduce, it doesn’t mean we have made ourselves; rather, God has made us. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. Paul explained to the people of Athens that it may seem like a generous act to create an idol for God, to mold it and polish it and garnish it with ornaments, costly jewels and precious metals, yet a person can go through all that trouble and expense and God will still refuse to dwell in it. Instead, God wants to dwell in our hearts. Stubborn as people can be, God is even more stubborn about following His own plan and not ours. He will never dwell in our temples made with hands. He wants us to repent of our rebellion and integrate into his purpose and fill our hands with His calling, so we can be born again and He can dwell in our hearts through faith.

(135j) Temple >> Your body is the temple of God >> Sins of the body >> Abortion >> God loves the fetus >> The human body is the work of God

(151i) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> Witnesses of the father >> Creation is evidence of God >> No other source but God can explain the creation

(212a) Sovereignty >> God is infinite >> He is the creator >> The creation glorifies God >> The creation exemplifies God’s sovereignty – God is infinite, so He created an infinite universe that reflects His nature, and it is just as easy for Him to make something eternal, for these things are simply within His nature. The current universe is under a curse, so it is not eternal, but He will create another universe that will last forever.

Act 17-24,25

(140f) Temple >> Temple made without hands >> Hiding place >> God builds your spirit with His own hands -- These verses go with verse 29

Act 17,26-29

(208bb) Salvation >> The salvation of God >> Salvation verses >> The kindness of God >> You can be saved without ever hearing about Jesus – People can grope for God, who have presumably not yet heard the gospel of Christ, such as those to whom Paul was currently preaching, and they will find Him only if they seek Him with all their hearts. Through our consciousness of God’s existence, then, we can grope for Him, and if we have a sincere heart, we will find Him, but if a person has heard the gospel and chooses instead to seek Him only in his heart, his knowledge of Christ will defeat his conscience, because he knows God has provided a better way to seek Him, and he has rejected it. God refuses to reveal Himself to someone who is less than sincere and genuine, because God is sincere and genuine, and He reveals Himself only to those who want to be like Him.

Act 17-26,27

(59h) Paradox >> Two implied meanings >> Groping for our creator / Groping for our redeemer – It is actually possible to grope for God and find Him, for He makes Himself available to those who seek Him with all their hearts. In a way, that was the gist of the old covenant; they were required to obey three things: the law, the prophets and the Levitical priesthood. Doing these, they would find Him, but if they rejected these institutions mandated by God, it would prove their hearts unwilling to obey Him. The rest of the world, the gentiles, whom God did not specifically deal as with Israel, could grope for Him and find Him if they had a sincere heart. The new covenant, however, is clear in the way we find Him, for the blood of our forgiveness has been shed, so when we believe in Jesus for eternal life, He gives us His Spirit. In this age of grace we have the word of God and the promise of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us so we can worship Him in Spirit and in truth and not have to grope for Him.

(130d) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> Being in one accord >> Having one origin

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

27-29 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we also are His children.' 29 "Being then the children 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.

 

Act 17,27-31

(169e) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> The world is blind to God >> Darkness has a blinding effect

Act 17-27,28

(233f) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Seeking the kingdom >> Seek The Kingdom With Your Essence >> Seek the elusive Kingdom of God – God is not far from each of us, though it doesn't always seem that way. Paul assures us that mere groping would be sufficient for a person who really wants to know Him, but the insincere will never find Him. Why are so many people without Christ? According to this verse, they do not even grope for Him, illustrating the level of indifference that sinners have toward God. It is not a surface indifference, but one that is entrenched in the depths of their souls. What drives their indifference but their deep-seated hatred of Him? This is paradoxical in that hatred shows they care, while indifference shows they don’t, so which one is it? Sinners pretend to ignore questions about God, but in their heart the subject is churning, though most have already determined they will never surrender to Him, even knowing about His love for mankind. They hate Him because of their sinful nature that is rooted in their flesh. God has given each person sovereign authority to exercise his will. If we can grope for Him and find Him, how much more can we expect to find Him when we read the Bible? Looking at it this way, ignorance has no excuse. God will be completely justified in the sentence of hell He will impose on the unbeliever. Jesus said that people reject Him because they prefer darkness over the light (Jn 3,18-20).

Act 17-27

(89b) Thy kingdom come >> Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom >> Wisdom corresponds with logical reasoning -- This verse goes with verse 2

(90c) Thy kingdom come >> Keeping the law >> Law is our tutor >> It prepares your heart to receive Christ

Act 17-29

(1i) Responsibility >> Avoid offending God >> False burden of serving God in ignorance – This verse is in conjunction with verses 22-25

(19l) Sin >> Worshiping idols will twist your mind -- This verse goes with verses 22-25

(34dd) Gift of God >> Believer owns everything >> The divine nature belongs to us – The divine nature refers to the Holy Spirit whom God has give us at the moment of salvation, which Peter said is more valuable than gold, silver and precious stones. Many people believe that everyone is a child of God, yet Paul was urging the Athenians to repent that they might be saved, hence being a child of God in a general sense will not get us to heaven; we must be born-again. His spiritual children are special to God in that they have received Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior, which was the very purpose of Him coming and dying on the cross. If nobody believed in Him, His death would have been in vain; therefore, only His children give meaning to the cross, and for that reason Jesus loves them.

(140f) Temple >> Temple made without hands >> Hiding place >> God builds your spirit with His own hands -- This verse goes with verses 24&25

(162f) Works of the devil >> Being a slave to the devil (Addictions) >> Bondage >> A slave to unbelief >> Bondage to believing a lie -- This verse goes with verses 22-25

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

30-34 "Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people 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." 32 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.

 

Act 17,30-32

(38d) Judgment >> Jesus defeated death (Satan) >> Resurrection brings about judgment – Paul commanded Athens to repent of their unbelief, which is the root of all sin. To believe in something other than the truth is the same as unbelief, and for this reason Paul was commanding the people in Athens to repent and turn to faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin. Likewise, if we don’t repent, Paul says there is a day fixed when God will judge the world in righteousness through the One who was meant to be our savior. It is interesting that he calls it a day; God can judge every man and woman who ever lived in one day. Is He referring to a 24-hour period; what if it runs to 25 hours? That’s more than one day. Perhaps it is a day like the days in which God created the heavens and the earth. Many people say those were 24-hour periods, but that is debatable in relation to the evidence we see in the earth, pointing to a very old creation. Instead of being earth days, maybe they were heavenly days, lasting millions of years. The Bible says that we will always be with the Lord, so this means we will be with Him while he judges the world; that sounds extremely boring. What is a more likely, God will partition each person and judge them all separately at the same time, taking only one day (however long a man can live), and each person will experience it as though God were giving him His undivided attention, just like He works with His children. He will replay their entire lives, and discuss the things they did and the choices they made.

Act 17-30,31

(40d) Judgment >> Jesus judged the world through His own death

(48b) Judgment >> God judges the world >> Eternal judgment – God’s divine nature is intrinsic to the Holy Spirit, who has come and mixed Himself with our spirit, so that we have become indelibly enmeshed in Him, being no longer two but one Spirit. Since we have become a part of Him, it suggests that we have a divine nature, and later, in the resurrection of the righteous, God will give us new bodies that will reflect that divine nature. For this reason God is unwilling to inhabit temples that we build for Him, being unwilling to mix His Spirit with the substances of wood, stone, metal and plastic. These materials come from this natural realm which is cursed, suggesting that our spirit is not part of the curse. It is our flesh that is cursed, being part of the natural realm, and those who follow the whimsical desires of the flesh, live according to that curse, and in hell their souls will inherit the curse, and at the resurrection of the damned, God will give them an indestructible body that reflects their cursed spirit. That is, their physical appearance will take on the attributes of their inner person, grotesque and monstrous, rendering a depiction of all that opposes God.

(205g) Salvation >> Salvation is based on God’s promises >> New covenant >> The new one is a better one

(208c) Salvation >> The salvation of God >> Salvation verses >> The expectations of God >> God expects us to repent and be saved – Think of World War I and II and all the other wars in the last hundred-fifty years; war is a sign that the gospel has become impotent; so man has resorted to killing each other. Had the Church remained true to the faith, the saints would be martyred instead of the world destroying itself, and in some places around the globe martyrdom is rampant. The Church’s message to the world is that it needs to repent of its unbelief, but the world does not like to hear of repentance. However, the Church has all but completely integrated into the world today, the offense of the cross lessoned, and so has the gospel’s effectiveness. People don’t know they need to be saved anymore, since the Church and the world are essentially one and the same. When the Church was apart from the world, people saw the distinction, and for that reason the gospel message was clear and effective and the world understood the difference between them and the Church. They knew that if they wanted to go to heaven, they needed to become a Christian, believe in Jesus and live according to the Church’s standards and conduct, but today the contrast between the world and the Church barely exists.

(247h) Priorities >> God’s priorities >> God’s interests >> God is interested in the gospel

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Act 17-30

(120b) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Forgiveness >> God forgives us when we become accountable to Him >> When we repent

(148l) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Obligation to preach the gospel >> Slave laborers -- This verse goes with verses 10-13. Paul was appealing to the people in the region of Athens, Greece to set aside the times of ignorance and throw away their superstitions and embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, who said about the times in which He lived, which included Paul's day, “Lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest” (Jn 4-35). People were ready for a new explanation; they were tired of paganism that insufficiently explained the meaning life and the universe, leaving them dry and thirsty for truth. When the gospel came, starting from Jerusalem and extending to the Mediterranean and then Europe and eventually to the Americas, people embraced it with great enthusiasm with many people being saved, partly because the doctrines of the faith were unmolested, and also because people were ready to receive it. Today it's different; take an evangelism crew someplace and preach Jesus to people on the street, and we would be hard pressed to make a single convert.

(149b) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Three key messages in evangelism >> Repentance

(175l) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Ignorance >> Lack of knowledge – Ignorance breeds superstition and superstition is a hotbed for witchcraft. When people don’t know the truth, they cook up superstitious ideas to explain their observations. For example, before the nineteenth century bloodletting was a common practice from which many people died. It endured for two millennia before it was finally abandoned as a healing method. When people naturally recovered from whatever ailment, they attributed their good health to this medical technique, and if the patient died, they never assumed it was from medical malpractice. This was a deadly superstition, and when religion operates in the realm of ignorance it is called witchcraft, which can be just as deadly. The witches of Salem Massachusetts can testify of this. The real witches in that story were not the women who were murdered, but their murderers, who were under a religious spell, motivated by greed.

(177i) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Presumption (Hinduism) >> Misunderstanding the word of God – The gospel has slowly ebbed into error over the centuries, and now the Church believes in a set of doctrines that the Bible simply doesn’t teach. This has been more the case in the last hundred years than it's been in the last 2000. We have lost touch with the truth of God. Although there is a Bible in nearly every house, and some people even read it, still most are lost in ignorance from layer upon layer of interpretation that people apply to the Scriptures, such as when we go to the optometrist and the doctor tries various combinations of lenses until the patient says his vision is clearest. In the same way the Church is just as superstitious as before the reformation. What could be more superstitious than telling people all they need is to believe in a set of doctrines to be saved? This is mostly what Christians teach nowadays, and it is based completely on ignorance. Jesus never taught this; He talked about believing in a way that incorporated obedience or else our faith is illegitimate. Tell that to mainstream Christianity if you dare; they would call us heretics for transgressing their doctrine of workless faith. Their favorite verse is Eph 2-8,9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Does this mean we can live any way we want because it is our beliefs that save us? No, the indwelling Holy Spirit does! What does the next verse say? “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Eph 2-10). If they read this verse with the other two, they would have the complete gospel!

(193b) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Turn from sin to God >> Repent >> Turn from your evil ways >> Turn from sin

Act 17,31-34

(149a) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Three key messages in evangelism >> The resurrection -- These verses go with verses 1-4. They stopped him when he mentioned the resurrection, because they were just not big enough to believe in something like that. Apparently, they didn’t want to be raised from the dead; such an idea scared them; though religious, they didn’t know God. The freedom of expression to do whatever they wanted actually made them feel like a god, and for this reason they worshipped idols; it made them feel like gods themselves. When they set up idols and worshipped them, they were really worshipping their own image, but if there is a resurrection, implying they will never die again, their consequences could expand to eternity; hence, the resurrection is the ultimate curse to the disobedient but ultimate glory to the children of God. They were planning on their lives being temporary; that way they could do what they wanted, and whatever consequences they could manage, but if their sin followed them into eternity, that would be a completely unmanageable situation, and an unimaginable horror.

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Act 17-31

(49h) Judgment >> God judges the world >> The last days >> The day of judgment  (Armageddon)

(149c) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Three key messages in evangelism >> Righteousness, judgment and self-control

Act 17-32

(200b) Denying Christ >> Man chooses his own destiny apart from God >> Rejecting Christ >> Rejecting the will of God >> Rejecting the gospel

Act 17-34

(86d) Thy kingdom come >> Belief demands a response -- This verse goes with verse 4

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