Summary: Exposition of Acts 17:29-34, regarding the conclusion of Paul’s Mars Hill sermon regarding repentance, belief, and judgment
Text: Acts 17:29-34, Title: Seed Picker 4 (AKA: Hellfire and Brimstone), Date/Place: NRBC, 11/2/08, AM
Opening illustration: The whole thing gets to be a terrible riddle for most of us. My working idea of God is that there’s something very significant, beyond my capacity to measure, that existed before me and will exist after me and all the things like me. It was there at the beginning, and it will be there at the end of this reality. Perhaps it will create new realities. And I’ll call it God, but it is a kind of “first force,” and it does exist. Does it determine all of our actions? No. The God I believe in allows us free will to make the contest of humanity an interesting one. If it weren’t for free will, we wouldn’t be able to tell when we were doing it right and when we were doing it wrong. So this force, this God, built that into our current stage of existence. There’s a right and wrong in everything. But for it to be right and wrong, we have to have a will, and we have to be able to choose between the two –From ElightenNext Magazine, The God we believe in is the God of all peoples. Muslims worship Him, as do Jews and Mormons, as do Orthodox Christians, Catholics, and Protestants –From the Obama/Biden page, Walter and NE Castings,
A. Background to passage: this is the conclusion to Paul’s message to the Areopagus on Mars Hill. He is addressing philosophers and academics about Christ and the resurrection. And after a short introduction, and a witty dive off of the altar to the “Unknown God,” Paul tells them about this God and what all He has done. Then he comes to the application part of the message today beginning with “therefore.” Paul cuts to the chase for the listeners to come to a clear understanding of these things. He begins his main assault with a piercing remark about God not being shaped from man’s devising.
B. Main thought: In this text we will see that God is not a composite of our thoughts about Him, nor one shaped from our preferences, but one who commands authority, repentance, and will bring forth judgment upon those who refuse to believe.
A. Universal Repentance (v. 30)
1. Paul jabs again by saying that God has ignored or overlooked times of “ignorance.” This would have really rubbed these academics the wrong way, but the bible does speak of such. God overlooked, or didn’t judge as harshly or severely as He should have, in times past. But now commands every man to repent and believe the gospel. Define repentance: to experience a change of mind toward sin and God accompanied by sorrow, which results in a change of behavior. This again would have offended them.
2. Rom 2:4, 10:2, Matt 4:17, 2 Pet 3:9, 2 Cor 7:10-11,
3. Illustration: I’ve been wrong, so wrong. Won’t you give a poor penitent girl another chance?" Charlie Brown was moved by her display of grief and responded to her, "Of course, I’ll give you another chance." He stepped back as she held the ball, and he ran. At the last moment, Lucy picked up the ball and Charlie Brown fell flat on his back. Lucy’s last words were, "Recognizing your faults and actually changing your ways are two different things, Charlie Brown!" "True repentance is when by the convicting power of God’s Holy Spirit, the sinner finally has a sense of revulsion and Godly sorrow for the condition of sin in his or her heart, and comes, empty-handed and un-defensive, without pretension or ceremony, in the most personal and submissive posture he’s ever taken, and from a sincere heart says “I’m sorry”, to the only One who can truly claim offense at sin; Holiness Himself, the God of the ages...who alone can forgive and redeem and regenerate and reconcile." The headline reads: Korn guitarist leaving to follow Jesus. "Popular heavy metal band, Korn, has parted ways with guitarist and founding member, Brian, "Head" Welch who has chosen Jesus Christ as his savior and will be dedicating his musical pursuits to that end, radio station in Knoxville that changed overnight to a Christian station, bar owner in Ecuador who closed his bar overnight,
4. The gospel generally rubs unbelievers wrong. You bound to say a few things that will ruffle some feathers when you witness. But God has called all men to repentance, and you are the mouthpiece. Every person in this room God now commands to repent! In fact, every person in this city, county, state, country, world, God has commanded to repent, and acknowledge God’s holiness and their helplessness. Everyone is in need of God’s forgiveness and provision in Jesus Christ. Explain the difference between feeling guilty and true repentance. Explain false repentance. Have you ever truly repented? The flip side of that coin is belief; they go hand in hand in the Christian walk. Have you surrendered your life to Christ and pinned your only hope of heaven upon his finished work on the cross? Because if you haven’t…