12 Feb 2015 by Tony Dibble –
St Paul was asked to give an account of his faith (Acts 17:16-34). We may often find ourselves in a similar situation. When we testify about Christ, the joy of the LORD is our strength (Neh 8:10). We do not fear, feel embarrassed or feel insecure about what to say. We rejoice with GOD at the opportunity. It is the Holy Spirit who would give us the words to say (Luke 12:12). It is also the Holy Spirit who convicts the listener about the truth of the message (John 16:8-10). Our efforts do not depend on our skills or energy. We are only the vessels for this purpose (2 Cor 4:5-7).
- Knowing GOD
We may fail to know GOD personally, in a relationship. Worshipping and loving Him may be absent (Acts 17:23). We may have a stone-cold knowledge of GOD as a concept. GOD is neither a concept nor an image. He is a Person not far from us as we exist in Him (v 27).
We are to seek GOD out. He is readily available. We do not live in fearfulness of GOD since we know Him personally. This was the problem with the Athenians (v 23): they lived in moral fear of their deities. We instead live in the love of GOD whom we know personally (John 3:16 & 17).
- The Sovereignty of GOD
God is LORD over everything (v 24). He created all things by His Will (Rev 4:11). GOD rules over all persons and everything (Ps 103:19; Jer 32:27). St Paul introduces GOD as one Person and not one of many gods. GOD shares nothing of His power and control with anyone. There is nothing that man can do apart from GOD (John 15:5). St Paul’s whole sermon is GOD-centred. The whole gospel can be summed up in one person: GOD, who took the initiative for the plan of salvation.
- The Providence of GOD
St Paul speaks of GOD as Creator and Provider (v 24-25). GOD is seen as the Giver of Life and Breath and of all things to everyone. GOD is the one in whom we exist. We are not independent but are GOD-sustained. Our very breath is GOD-given, each second.
GOD did not create the world only to abandon it when man rebelled against Him. GOD has sought to bring man back through his own moral choice, if he wishes to exercise that choice.
- The Unlimited Nature of GOD
GOD is not bound by space. No image or dwelling can confine Him (v 24). As GOD is the source of life, He does not resemble anything that man can manufacture or shape (v 29). Man must never make a fool of GOD by reducing Him to the work of a stonemason or a carpenter. Man must remember that he is second to GOD.
- GOD Determines Man’s Limits
We are GOD’s offspring, created by Him. That is the basis of GOD’s relationship with us. We are not random objects like sticks or stones. GOD is our Father. In the LORD’s Prayer (Matt 6:9), we address GOD the equivalent of “Daddy”.
GOD has made us a universal race and has set the times and place of our existence. It is therefore our responsibility to sincerely search Him out (v 27; Deut 4:29).
GOD has forgiven man for being ignorant about Him. He now calls all men to repent from their separation with Him (v 30). This is because we have inherited sin through Adam (Rom 5:12).
Christ has been raised from the dead. He has proven this victory over the power of sin and death (1 Corinthians 15:3-7). This enables Christ as universal Redeemer to plead and represent those who have repented. None but Christ can save us (Acts 4:12).
The death and resurrection of Christ, as GOD and man, is unique and central to Christianity. If we take both these events away, we have no gospel. This is because Christ’s death and resurrection represent victory over the power of sin and death. Take that away and Christianity would be worthless.
GOD has appointed a day when He would be judging the world. That judgement would be through Christ. Christ has saved us. He has done His utmost. If we have no time for Him, He will not bother about us in eternity.
We gladly reveal Christ as He showed Himself to unbelievers, sinners, the sick, and multitudes of people. He did not condemn them. As He presented Himself to man, we likewise present Christ to others.
Note: Tony Dibble worships at Endeavour Christian Gathering, in Perth, Western Australia. Prior to this, he was attending the Church of Our Holy Saviour, Labuan, East Malaysia. When in Kuala Lumpur, he worships at Faith Oasis Fellowship (FOF) Subang Jaya, Selangor.
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