by Dustin Dawe
Acts 17:22-31 The Message (MSG)
22-23 So Paul took his stand in the open space at the Areopagus and laid it out for them. “It is plain to see
that you Athenians take your religion seriously. When I arrived here the other day, I was fascinated with
all the shrines I came across. And then I found one inscribed, to the god nobody knows. I’m here to
introduce you to this God so you can worship intelligently, know who you’re dealing with.
24-29 “The God who made the world and everything in it, this Master of sky and land, doesn’t live in
custom-made shrines or need the human race to run errands for him, as if he couldn’t take care of
himself. He makes the creatures; the creatures don’t make him. Starting from scratch, he made the
entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could
seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find him. He doesn’t play hide-and-
seek with us. He’s not remote; he’s near. We live and move in him, can’t get away from him! One of
your poets said it well: ‘We’re the God-created.’ Well, if we are the God-created, it doesn’t make a lot of
sense to think we could hire a sculptor to chisel a god out of stone for us, does it?
30-31 “God overlooks it as long as you don’t know any better—but that time is past. The unknown is now
known, and he’s calling for a radical life-change. He has set a day when the entire human race will be
judged and everything set right. And he has already appointed the judge, confirming him before
everyone by raising him from the dead.”
Here is Paul in the midst of laying low in Athens, delivers this sermon to the Greeks. It feels a bit like an
impromptu sermon, a teachable moment perhaps. A teachable moment, that is defined as an
unplanned opportunity when you have a chance to offer some insight, in the moment, on something
that has just occurred. Paul connected with his audience by relating to their culture, he then introduced
God, that was more than just a statue. Paul then speaks about God reconciling the world to Himself. It
is a short, concise message.
What words would Paul have for us if he dropped into our culture? Would it sound like the message he
had for Athens or would it be different? In what ways would it sound the same? In what ways would it
be different? In some ways today’s believers can get so caught up in our own lives that we forget that
we are to be Ambassadors for Christ. People are looking at us, comparing our words to our actions to
see if they agree. Wondering what a life looks like that has been surrendered to God. Are we that
example? What teachable moments does God put in our daily lives to connect with Him in deeper ways
and invite others into the way of Jesus?