Summary: Exposition of Acts 17:26-28 about how God has dealt with man in general from a big picture perspective
Text: Acts 17:26-28, Title: Musings of a Seed-Picker 3, Date/Place: NRBC, 10/26/08, AM
A. Opening illustration: maybe the quote from What is a Healthy Church Member re: knowing major biblical themes and storylines of redemption
B. Background to passage: Again this is the continuation of Paul’s evangelistic outcry rooted in the honor of Jesus being trampled by idolatry. Paul is speaking before the Areopagus sharing about the Unknown God of Athens. And after a brief introduction to his message, and a brief but weighty introduction of this God, Paul continues to share about this God and plans and purposes on the earth with men.
C. Main thought: In the text we will see how God has dealt with man in general terms
A. From one blood every nation (v. 26)
1. Now Paul has already mentioned that God created everything that exists, so why would he come back and speak about the creation of man and the common ancestry we share. I don’t know if Paul consciously thought to address sin, but I do believe the Spirit of God inspired Paul to speak conviction upon a group of pious men. You see, the Athenians particularly, and Greeks in general, thought of themselves as better than all the other nations. They called everyone who wasn’t Greek, a barbarian for the language that they spoke, and looked down on them as second-class.
2. Gen 3:20, Mal 2:10, 1 Cor 15:22, Gal 3:28, Rev 5:9,
3. Illustration: In the 1960’s the church deacon board mobilized lookout squads, and on Sundays these took turns patrolling the entrances lest any black “troublemakers” try to integrate us. I still have one of the cards the deacons printed up to give to any civil rights demonstrators who might appear: Believing the motives of your group to be ulterior and foreign to the teaching of God’s word, we cannot extend a welcome to you and respectfully request you to leave the premises quietly. Scripture does NOT teach “the brotherhood of man and the fatherhood of God.” He is the Creator of all, but only the Father of those who have been regenerated. If any one of you is here with a sincere desire to know Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord, we shall be glad to deal individually with you from the Word of God. (Unanimous Statement of Pastor and Deacons, August 1960). When Congress passed the Civil Rights Acts, our church founded a private school as a haven for whites, expressly barring all black students. A few “liberal” members left the church in protest when the kindergarten turned down the daughter of a black Bible professor, but most of us approved of the decision. A year later the church board rejected a Carver Bible Institute student for membership, his name was Tony Evans, who later said, “Racism isn’t a bad habit; it’s not a mistake; it’s a sin. The answer is not sociology; it’s theology.” Go though the mental paths that we think when we go to a room with two tables with those “like me” therefore safe and beneficial, and those “unlike me” and therefore unsafe and unbeneficial. “Christ’s blood creates a deeper lineage that our genes.” Sinclair Ferguson, tell about the child in our SS the other day who said that he and his daddy call black people “monkeys,” I recently went to the Smoky Mountains with some friends to do some rock climbing. We came to a small town near Knoxville, Tennessee, and pulled into a little country store. I walked in. Three white guys sitting there gave me, a black guy, looks I’ve never seen before. One of them said, "You don’t belong around here--boy." At first I couldn’t believe he was talking to me. Then I couldn’t believe my ears when he said, "Stick around here after dark and we’ll hang you." I was thinking, Man, we’re sending rockets to Mars and there are still people living in this kind of blind racial ignorance. Suddenly, I was experiencing hatred, the kind of bigotry I’d only read about or seen on TV. I’ll never forget how I felt in that little country store. Less than human. –Michael Tait of DC Talk,
4. This is not unlike our own culture today. The rich look down on the poor. Management looks down on labor. Skilled look down on the unskilled. Legals look down on the illegals. Republicans look down on Democrats. Whites look down on blacks, Hispanics, and Orientals. When in reality, we are all from one blood. And God deals with us all equally, because of our unity in Adam. We are all sinners before God. We are all image-bearers of God. They need Jesus, just like you and I. We must jettison the idea of biological racism. So when you see one who is less fortunate as you, dressed not as nice as you, driving a car not as nice as yours, say to yourself, “JUST LIKE ME.” When you see one of another ethnicity, you can say, “JUST LIKE ME.” And we can welcome them into our fellowship and into our lives because they are JUST LIKE ME.” Jesus desires and has purchased men from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation. Are we going to have a heart like his or not? And this doesn’t mean necessarily that we are to have an ethnically diverse congregation, although if the Lord willed, we should receive that. Here is the practical application for us: If those of you who persist in racism refuse to repent, and those of you who are not racist refuse to stand up and confront it, it will hinder our growth and progression as a church. This means racial slurs, attitudes, jokes, practices, and prejudices must be put to death in our hearts!