When addressing the intellectuals of his day in the city of Athens, Paul discovered that his hearers had been influenced by two fundamental ideas: Stoicism and Epicureanism. Stoicism holds that the events of the world are determined by a merciless, cold, and impersonal fate, while Epicureanism teaches that good is determined by what brings the most pleasure. Neither of these philosophies hold up for the children of Almighty God.
One of the most distinctive features of Christianity is the way in which we are able to articulate our view of the world. In contrast to much of the culture around us, we know that our time is in God’s hands (Psalm 31:15)—that we’re neither trapped in the grip of blind forces nor tossed about on an ocean of chance. Whether people have been drawn in by Marxism, Hinduism, nihilism, or any one of countless other philosophies and religions, they are all faced with questions and insecurities regarding their beliefs. Have they been caught in a struggle for a classless society or in an endless cycle of birth and death? Perhaps they are convinced that life has no meaning at all. No matter what someone’s questions or beliefs are, God provides every answer that they need. Instead of living life caged by a senseless, uncaring fate or endless uncertainty, as believers we now live with unfailing hope. We, like Paul, are now stewards of all the answers God has given us through His word—answers that we must share with all the world. He has given us a great confidence, and His name is Jesus.
The question, therefore, is not whether we have a message that can answer the deepest longings of every human and the various objections of every other philosophy and religion: we do. The question is whether we will share that message. When Paul was in Athens, he saw what others did not see. He did not enjoy the impressive sites or stand in awe of the city’s intellectual reputation. He saw a city lost in idol-worship, and “his spirit was provoked within him,” for every time an idol is worshiped, the Lord Jesus is robbed of the glory that only He deserves. And “so,” without regard for his own reputation, Paul reasoned with and proclaimed the gospel of resurrection hope to the inhabitants of that city (Acts 17:18).
Wherever you live, in one way or another you find yourself in a modern-day Athens. What are the idols that those around you are worshiping? Is your spirit provoked by that? You have an answer that satisfies human longing in a way no idol can. You have an opportunity to bring glory to God. With whom can you reason today, saying, “Can you see that what you are worshiping will not satisfy? Can I warn you that you are ignoring the God who brings meaning and hope but who will not be mocked? Can I tell you about the answers I have found in coming to know Jesus Christ?”
CARE TO SHARE