Paul in his address to the men of Athens ended it by declaring the resurrection of Christ. (Acts 17:31) As was always the case when Paul preached, he received a mixed reaction from the people. In fact, this is always the case when men preach God’s truth.
First, there were some who mocked. The very idea of a man being raised from the dead was foolishness to those learned men of Athens. Even today men continue to mock the teachings of the Bible. But we must never let that deter us. We must never be ashamed of God’s word.
Second, while some mocked, others said, “We will hear thee again on this matter.” These had an open mind. They were willing to give Paul a fair hearing. The same is true today. Many people have a closed mind to the truth but there are those who have an open mind.
Each of us should determine in our hearts to never be discouraged because there are still people who are open to God’s word.
In Antioch of Pisidia when the Jews, after hearing the gospel message, began to speak against the things spoken by him, Paul said to them, “It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it far from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.” (Acts 14:46) Perhaps we can learn a lesson here about evangelism. And that is, when one group of people rejects the gospel, maybe it is time to turn to another.
The restoration movement which is a part of our heritage was from the beginning an effort to call religious people out of denominational error. And for many of us this has also been our approach to evangelism. And this we should continue. But we might learn a valuable lesson from Paul. Paul turned from those who should have been most receptive to the gospel (the Jews) to those further away (the Gentiles).
While we are well versed in the Bible and know how to confront religious error, it seems to me that we have not learned how to reach out to the un-churched. Certainly, among those not religiously attached at all, “the fields are ripe unto harvest.”
Brotherly love is an essential part of the Christian life. The apostle Peter wrote: “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently. (1 Peter 1:22)
In this passage Peter tells us three things about brotherly love. First, it is the natural outgrowth of obedience to the truth. He said that we have obeyed the truth “unto unfeigned love of the brethren.” Second, he tell us that our love for one another must be real – not mere pretense. He calls it “unfeigned love,” that is, not hypocritical. The Greek word from which “unfeigned” is translated literally means “not an actor.” Our love for one another must never be mere playacting. Third, Peter tells us that our love must be with feeling. He said, “Love one another with a pure heart fervently.” There is no room in the Christian religion for a listless love. Our love for one another must be intense, fervent, forceful. It comes from the heart.
This past week, I received an email containing a link to a web site showing pictures of human development in the womb. The pictures are absolutely BEAUTIFUL, AMAZING, and AWESOME. Just as God is! Our Lord created life and the process by which life carries on. Let us praise Him for loving each of us enough to create us and for sending His Son Jesus to save us. Let us thank Him by serving Him with all our might.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. Psalm 139:14
As you do not know…how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, so you do not know the works of God who makes everything. Ecclesiastes 11:5