ACTS 17:16-21, 27-31

Acts 17:16-21, 27-31 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Philosophers at Athens

16 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols.

17 Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there.

18 Then certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered him. And some said, “What does this babbler want to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods,” because he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection.

19 And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new doctrine is of which you speak?

20 For you are bringing some strange things to our ears. Therefore we want to know what these things mean.”

21 For all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing.

27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that 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 have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’

29 Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising.

30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,

31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”

Dr. Gough:

"Jesus and the resurrection," earth's great hope!

--Of a God Who came so we may live, by dying for us.

--Death is so sad, as was Jesus' death, on a cross.

--It comes to all, but without dying there is no resurrection; and without Jesus rising, no salvation!

"Jesus is risen!" What a precious message, of joy!

--A proclaimed message by angels, "He is not here, He is risen, and He said, Come see the place" (Mt. 28).

--It is a proven message, God's answer to Job's ancient question, "If a man die, shall he live again?"

--Yes! To comfort all grief, a priceless measage.

--In Christ, we never see each other for a last time.

--It is a powerful message, bringing life, eternal.

--As our Messiah, God's Lamb, to take away our sin.

--Sin crowds God out of life, like a small coin over our eyes can hide the light of the bright sun.

--To defeat death and sin, "Jesus, and resurrection."

Jesus brings joy to the world like nothing else can.

--That dying men can be "born again" to live again.

--By dying for us, Jesus said, "Because I live, you shall live also" (John 14:19, if we follow Him.

--He often spoke of His cross, but promised to rise!

At the empty tomb that Easter the angel said, "Go and tell... that He is risen from the dead" (Matthew 28:7).

--A message that needs to be told. Be believed.

--That comforts hearts in joy and changes lives.

Jesus met Paul on a Damascus road, Paul was saved.

--Now he goes sharing "Jesus and the resurrection."

--Proclaiming the faith he once tried to destroy.

--Of a Savior who brings new live, from death.

In Acts 17 Paul is in the lovely city of Athens with its many temples to gods and goddesses, even one for "THE UNKNOWN GOD" (v 23). The real One is missing.

--Brought the unknown Jesus, wherever He is unknown.

--So on Mars Hill Paul preached to them, "Jesus, and the resurrection." For us to believe, be with God.

--One day have a glorified body like our risen Lord!

Some ignore the Savior, while many cherish the Lord.

--In France, Bishop Tallyrand was asked, "Who is Jesus and this Christianity? Anyone could start some religion like Christianity!"

--The Bishop replied, "Yes, just be virgin-born, live a sinless life, work miracles, get crucified, then spend three days dead in a sealed, guarded tomb, to come forth alive from the dead - with His scars all healed!" And no one else has ever done that!

I've researched, followed Jesus, none can compare!

Some have tried to start new religions. Claim deity.

--Benjamin Parnell of Benton Harbor, MI, is one.

--Wanted to be worshiped as lord and leader of a group.

--Claimed holiness, and if he died, would rise again.

--Well, one day he died. Followers delayed burial.

--Waited for days, as he promised to arise as Jesus.

--Jesus did, he didn't. Authorities stepped in.

--They forced burial. His claims failed, as his life.

All other religious leaders are in tombs! Not Jesus.

--His is an empty tomb! Risen! Seen by multitudes!

The good news of Jesus appeals to us, for it works.

--It is real. God comes to live within our hearts.

--He takes us as we are, makes us to be like Jesus.

--Now, of course, we have to work on it with Him.

--In worship. His Word. Prayer. Living godly.

--But those who come to Christ sincerely, "He daily loads us with benefis...even our salvation" (Psalm 68:19). He "works all things together for good."

John Chapter 11 is such comfort as it teaches this.

--Jesus' friend, Lazarus, was ill. Jesus sent for.

--He was away, ministering, so delayed a few days.

--When Jesus arrived in Bethany, Lazarus was buried!

--In the grave already four days, his sisters state, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But..I know whatever You ask God, God will give you" (John 11:21, 22, 32).

So better than healing, Jesus gave life - He summoned Lazarus from the grave, "Lazarus, come forth," and Lazarus did..alive again, for a time.

--Jesus is "the resurrection and the life..."

John the beloved Apostle, now aged, was banished, to the little isle of Patmos. We have visited there.

--Saw where John, visited by Jesus, wrote the Book of Revelation; Jesus said, "I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore"(Rev. 1:18). What a comfort and strength it was to John.

--And to all who have lost loved ones, in Christ.

Remember, Jesus came to defeat sin, and death.

--He raised a 12 year old girl, dead a few hours.

--He raised a widow's son, en route to a cemetery.

--He raised Lazarus, in a grave at least four days.

--Perhaps others, not recorded. To show He is God.

--And, Jesus arose that Easter, of His own power!

--Risen, He said, "All power is given to Me." God!

--His is the greatest resurrection - so we may live!

--One day Jesus is coming again, to raise believers!

The Bible is full of proof. A crowd say Jesus die.

--It is fully attested in fact, dividing B.C. - A.D.

--His messages and miracles given to "multitudes."

--He arose, and appeared to hundreds, only believers.

--Christianity is no myth or false or fiction.

--Proven in countless ways as we read in Luke 1:1-4.

--In lives of millions of His faithful followers.

No burial wrappings, cold grip of death, stone, nor a seal, nor Roman guard could keep Christ down!

--He said, "Because I live you shall live also."

Many miracles accompanied Jesus' death, resurrection.

--"A great earthquake" (Matthew 28:2). "Graves open."

--"..saints fallen asleep were raised..appeared to many" (Matthew 27:52f).

--"An angel..from heaven rolled back the stone from the door (of the tomb) and sat on it" (Mt. 28:2).

--Like a shell of chrysalis, His graveclothes lay.

--Jesus' scars - head, hands, feet, side-healed!

--All this, in three days, prove His risen powers!

No wonder Paul preached "Jesus and resurrection."

--Preached resurrection .. and repentance.

--"God commands all men everywhere to repent" in Acts 17:30 - given on Mars Hill, where we have stood.

--Jesus said, "unless you repent you will all likewise perish" (Luke 24:47).

--Also, "Repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations" (Luke 24:47).

--To offer hope, love, and forgiveness is our task.

Another thing the resurrection does, is give us assurance, "He has given assurance of this to all, by raising (Jesus) from the dead" (Acts 17:31).

--Yes, God has given us assurance, we shall live!

--Many of us have suffering or sorrows, or will have.

--We need the peace, comfort, God's assurance gives.

--"If a man die, in Christ, he shall live again!"

--A Risen Savior gives believers this great peace.

--Jesus lives, so we can face the future unafraid.

Abraham Lincoln was one of our greatest presidents.

--It was one of the most difficult - a civil war.

--He was a good man, from humble beginnings, with his heart of compassion, for the under-privileged.

--We've visited his tomb, his home in Springfield, IL.

--Listen to his own words, "When I left Springfield I asked the people to pray for me; I was not a Christian. When I buried my son, the severest trial of my life, I was not a Christian. But, when I saw the graves of thousands of our soldiers, I then and there consecrated myself to Christ. I do love Jesus."

Heartaches have a way of leading us to the Lord, as He shared so much suffering - Jesus can comfort us.

--With the Father, He is "the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble" (2 Cor. 1:3,4). Let's get our share of God's comfort.

Disappointments, suffering, sorrow are part of a sin-cursed world - good people have these things.

--Job 2:10 says, "Shall we indeed accept good..from God, and shall we not accept adversity?"

--We, too, will have our Good Friday's, with tears.

--But a talk with Jesus can turn them into an Easter!

--Life may be dark until the Son came out! God's Son!

--Our Savior, Jesus! To give believers assurance.

--Get yours today! - Wilbert D. Gough, ThD., DD., 553