TITLE: Easter in Athens, Acts 17:22-31 INTRODUCTION Acts 17:22 (NLT), “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, 23 for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about.” God is Creator. Acts 17:24 (NLT), “He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples…” • Romans 1:20, For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God." • The Greek gods of Athens were all inside the universe, limited to a particular zip code. God is Sustainer. Acts 17:25 (NLT), “… and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need.” • The gods of Greece were sustained by the people. The people kept them alive. • The true God sustains the people and keeps people living and breathing! • Colossians 1:16, “… for through him God created everything… 17 He existed before anything else and he holds all creation together.” God is Ordainer. Acts 17:26 (NLT), “From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries.” • There is one human race created, sustained, and ordained with boundaries set by God. • The Epicureans thought destiny was determined by atoms. • The Stoics thought destiny is determined by fate. • Paul says, mankind’s destiny is in the hands of a free, loving, and ordaining God, who knows the future ahead of time. God is Knowable. Acts 17:27 (NLT), “His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. 28 For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ 29 And since this is true, we shouldn’t think of God as an idol designed by craftsmen from gold or silver or stone.” • Paul says the God you do not know – is knowable! His whole purpose is for the Athenians, and all the nations, to know Him and find Him. • Ecclesiastes 3 says God has “...set eternity in the human heart.” Every person, senses that there is “something more” than this temporal world. • God is creator, sustainer, ordainer, and knowable. You should know Him! G.K. Chesterton, “Every high civilization decays by forgetting obvious things.” • Historians say Athens was in decline at this time. This is what happens to a nation that forgets God. Conclusion #1 – NOW! Acts 17:30 (NLT), “God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him. • Repent of this ignorance, willful ignorance, and turn to God. Why now? Conclusion #2 – WHY? Acts 17:31 (NLT), “For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead.” • Why repent now? • Because judgement day is coming. • Who will be our judge in the end? • The one God raised from the dead! Jesus! • The resurrection proves there is more going on than the gods and the greatest intellects in this world can explain. Another kind of destiny lies ahead. • C.S. Lewis said the resurrection proves, “Something new had appeared in the Universe: as new as the first coming of organic life. This Man, after death, does not get divided into ‘ghost’ and ‘corpse’. A new mode of being has arisen.” • Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. Three Responses Acts 17:32 (NLT), “When they heard Paul speak about the resurrection of the dead, some laughed in contempt, but others said, “We want to hear more about this later.” 33 That ended Paul’s discussion with them, 34 but some joined him and became believers. Among them were Dionysius, a member of the council, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.” Some laughed. Some wanted to hear more. Some believed. How do you respond to the truth of Jesus' resurrection?