“For in Him we live and move and have our being. . .”

Acts 17:28a

When this Truth governs us, we can rest assured His Spirit is guiding us.
Paul was definitely dealing with some pretty sharp, intellectual people that day when he spoke today’s Manna. Many of them were “Epicurean and Stoical philosophers, who enjoyed nothing more than hearing and commenting on the latest new philosophy, religious beliefs, fads, etc.” (vv.18, 21). In fact, they prided themselves on their perceived mental acumen.

Such is always the case with “the natural mind” (I Cor. 2:14).
Assuredly, some folks’ I.Q.s are higher than others; yet, so often, such “learning does make them mad (crazy, maniac, etc.)” (Acts 26:24b). They’re quite brilliant when it comes to logic and analysis, but quite ignorant when it comes to matters of mystery. Their minds may soar on “hypothetical hyperboles,” but never get off the ground when it comes to faith.

That’s why we should not be surprised or disappointed when they patronize us and liken us to some “babbling seed-picker,” which is the picture of a sparrow hopping along the ground picking up seeds or crumbs, as they did Paul (v.18). Likewise, we shouldn’t get discouraged if “some mock” and others say “We’ll hear you again another day” as they move on to another topic of discussion (v.32).

Again, they’re simply lost and acting lost (I Cor. 2:14).
Even so, like Paul, we should still give a clear presentation of the Gospel when given an opportunity—for we never know when God’s Seed is going to find lodging in a fertile heart (Mt. 13:3-9). Even if there are only one or two who believe (v.34), that’s still one or two more rescued from the devil’s grasp and an eternity in hell.

Paul didn’t get up and start lambasting them for their idolatry; in fact, he tried to find a point-of-reference by saying “As I passed by and beheld your devotions (Grk. ‘sebasmas’—‘something adored/worshipped, venerated, revered, etc.’), I found an altar with this inscription—‘TO THE UNKNOWN GOD’—Whom, therefore, you ignorantly worship; Him, therefore, declare I unto you” (v.23).

He’d already acknowledged the fact that they were very religious (v.22). But, now he’s wanting to tell them “a better Way” (Heb.1:4; 7:19, 22; 8:6; 9:23; 10:34; 11:16, 35, 40; Jn. 14:6): Jesus! Hallelujah!!
Into their world of mythical, capricious gods, he was wanting them to know the one true-and-living God Who “made the world and all things therein” (v.24a). He also wanted them to know “the Lord of heaven and earth doesn’t dwell in temples made with hands or find delight in marble statues fashioned into His likeness” (vv.24b-25a). Instead, He is the “Giver of all life, breath and all things, Who has made of one blood all nations of men and determined ahead of times and seasons of life” (vv.25b-26). This should cause us to seek Him and feel His “near Presence.” May the Holy Spirit guide us today as we tell others about Jesus, their “All-in-all.” Then, may He use us to help them invite Him into their hearts and begin living for Him.

August 29, 2011