Sermons

Summary: How to communicate to people who see God as a passive supernatural being

How To Speak to People Who View God as a Passive or Indifferent God

(Acts 17:16-18)

Quote: God is not dead nor does He sleep. Time magazine once asked the question "Is God Dead?" Let them read what Paul the apostle wrote. "For it is God who is at work in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure." (Phil. 2:13,14)

1. What is the best way to speak to humanistic people who view God as a passive agent hesitant to interfere in the affairs of men?

Many of the Greeks were polytheistic since they viewed life from a humanistic or naturalistic perspective. They thought that the anger of the gods occasionally needed to be appeased (as evidenced by the many monuments on Mars hill).

Yet they thought the gods were indifferent to the personal concerns of individuals. We live in a day when many Americans only call on God when they are in trouble.

Few seem to realize that the Lord wants to play an active role by guiding, helping and teaching them how to grow in to Christ likeness. Paul knew how to speak to the Athenians in a way that reflected an understanding of their culture and world-view.

Ask the Lord to help you approach people with an understanding of their perspective and needs. Good communication begins with knowing the needs and views of your audience

2. Paul knew that the Athenians believed in many gods passively observing the affairs of people with little more than a detached interest.

The Epicureans chief goal was to obtain pleasure without having to experience any pain or discomfort – much like many folks in our present culture. Paul offered them salvation as a free gift through the resurrected Jesus Christ.

The great apostle knew how to connect individual’s felt needs with their spiritual need for forgiveness. Paul did not try to criticize their idolatry, but he used the monuments on Mars hill as an example of one memorial marked to an unknown God to spark their curiosity.

Take something familiar and lead your listeners to what is unknown about Jesus Christ. The positive approach works much better with those who look at life from a natural-humanistic perspective.

Ask God for the wisdom, patience and persuasive power only given through the Holy Spirit. Speak the truth in love.

3. Paul prayed for the Athenians realizing they were prisoners to their social, moral and naturalistic perceptions. Instead of becoming angry, fearful or critical of people around you ask the Lord to give you a real heart for their salvation or spiritual growth.

Everyone needs the Lord working in and through them to experience the best of life.

Trust God to give you a heart for people’s spiritual needs.

4. Paul knew that the sufficiency and power of the truth could penetrate through any human mind. Many Christians look at the natural-humanistic perspectives of most people around them and think – “What is the use of trying to speak to them.”

Paul spoke with great confidence in the power of the scriptures to reach the hearts and minds of the most resistant person.

Ask the Lord to give you a greater confidence in what the word of God can do to reach the most resistant humanistic thinker.

5. Paul contrasted futile worship with the true worship of God through Jesus Christ. All people worship something. Paul knew how to peak the interests of the Athenians by showing them the deficiencies of their worship by taking them to one of the most cherished memorials which read, “To an unknown god”.

The Athenians were afraid of offending any god whose name might be forgotten. Ask the Lord to help you to find key redemptive analogies that will stir the chords of interests in your listeners.

6. Paul offered the Athenians a better kingdom and life in exchange for an uncertain one. The great apostle knew that the Greeks enjoyed philosophizing about the future.

He used their philosophical approach to show them how Christ’s kingdom is eternal, free and complete for all that they need.

Trust the Lord to help you to show people how to make the transition from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of Christ’s light, love and liberty.

Conclusion:Labour mightily for a healing spirit. Away with all discriminating names whatever that may hinder the applying of balm to heal your wounds...Discord and division become no Christian. For wolves to worry the lambs is no wonder, but for one lamb to worry another, this is unnatural and monstrous.

Thomas Brooks, quoted in Credenda Agenda, Vol. 5, No. 2, p. 3, I.D.E

The Names of God

EL: God ("mighty, strong, prominent") used 250 times in the OT See Gen. 7:1, 28:3, 35:11; Nu. 23:22; Josh. 3:10; 2 Sam. 22:31, 32; Neh. 1:5, 9:32; Isa. 9:6; Ezek. 10:5. El is linguistically equivalent to the Moslem "Allah," but the attributes of Allah in Islam are entirely different from those of the God of the Hebrews. ELAH is Aramaic, "god." Elah appears in the Hebrew Bible in Jer. 10:11 (which is in Aramaic, and is plural, "gods"). In Daniel (the Aramaic sections) Elah is used both of pagan gods, and of the true God, also plural. Elah is equivalent to the Hebrew Eloah which some think is dual; Elohim is three or more. The gods of the nations are called "elohim." The origin of Eloah is obscure. Elohim is the more common plural form of El. Eloah is used 41 times in Job between 3:4 and 40:2, but fewer than 15 times elsewhere in the OT.

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