Summary: The Apostle Paul’s message to the men of Athens at the Areopagus gives us a model for sharing Christ with others. We start with their natural knowledge of God and transition to the revealed knowledge of God.
What is the “natural knowledge” of God? Since our “examination / confirmation Sunday” is just over a month away I hope that one of our confirmands can answer that question. What is the “natural knowledge” of God? The “natural knowledge” of God is what all people know about God from nature and their conscience—which we say is the voice of God in a person. Around the world and throughout the history of the world people have believed that there must be some wise and powerful being who made the universe. They have come to this conclusion by observing creation. Humans also instinctively know that things aren’t right between them and whoever it is that made the universe. Again we see evidence of that fact across the ages and across the cultures of the world. The obvious question that follows on the heels of a description of the “natural knowledge” of God is was is the “revealed knowledge” of God. Let’s again ask one of our confirmands to answer that question. What is the “revealed knowledge” of God? The “revealed knowledge” of God is what we know about God through his revelation to mankind. Obviously the revelation we are talking about is the Bible.
Now I want you to think about the knowledge we have of the knowledge of God. I suppose we could pat ourselves on the back and tell each other how much Bible knowledge we have. But obviously it would be much better if we actually did something with the knowledge we have just demonstrated.
Our Savior has asked each of us to lead others from their natural knowledge of God to the knowledge he has revealed to us. The revealed knowledge of God has the power to save souls from hell. That is what every person needs to hear and believe.
In the first Scripture lesson for this Sunday the Apostle Paul started with what a group of people naturally knew about God and led them to what they needed to know about God. There we see an example of how a Christian can use the natural knowledge of God as a bridge to the revealed knowledge of God. May the Holy Spirit work in us an understanding of how to do this and also give us the desire, determination, and dedication to actually do it. We are told to:
“LEAD OTHERS TO KNOW GOD”
I. Start with what they know about God
II. End with what they need to know about God
As the Apostle Paul did wherever he went we find him sharing the truth about Jesus in the city of Athens. On the Sabbath days Paul spoke with the Jews and used the Old Testament to prove that Jesus was the promised Savior. During the other days of the week Paul went where the people were. In the city streets and in the market places he served as a witness for Christ.
Paul’s teaching was obviously getting noticed. He was asked to defend his ideas at a meeting of the Areopagus. The Areopagus consisted of a group of philosophers. They were sort of the “idea police” in Athens serving as an open forum in which new ideas could be aired. Although it may be hard for us to grasp all the finer points of what happened in these verses from Acts 17 we can take away a couple of key thoughts. Paul started with what this group of unbelievers knew about God and led them to what they needed to know about God.