Acts 17 - Paul provoked by the shows of religion in Athens, the many shows of religion which miss the mark of God’s Word.
I hope we are also provoked. I am about every time I turn on Christian radio or TV.
people like Osteen who ignore the idea of sin altogether and leave you in charge of your own salvation by thinking positive thoughts
people like Charles Stanley and John Piper who mix law and gospel, leaving an unclear picture of what the good news really is
people who think good morality is Christianity
people like T.D. Jakes who deny the Trinity but are considered Christian by so many in our society
some sort of Oprah-ized religion of what feels good or what moves your spirit
This kind of foolishness ought to provoke us. It should drive us back to the Bible to tear their unbiblical arguments to shreds and throw them out like so much confetti at a parade, to be swept up and disposed of.
But what do we allow to tickle our ears?
study of college students raised in Christian homes identified them as “therapeutic moralistic deists” - do the right thing, be good people, do what feels good, and figure that some sort of divine force will keep everything running just fine, though probably won’t ever interfere with our lives.
This should upset us. It should really upset us. But the fact is, there’s that therapeutic moralistic deist inside each and every one of us, lurking there, waiting to escape, waiting to persuade us that we can work out our own salvation, that Jesus is not intimately involved in all that happens in our lives, waiting to attack our world through us.
What did Paul do when he was confronted with false religion in Athens?
1) Preach the truth - there is one God, trinitarian, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who has judged sin and taken the penalty for sin upon himself, giving us new life freely through belief on the risen Lord Jesus.
2) Try to persuade others - don’t give up, don’t give in!
3) Live the Gospel. What will our world try to do to us? We live in light of Jesus’ work for us anyway.
Jesus, and only Jesus, is the one who has taken your sins upon himself.
Jesus, and only Jesus, is the one who has risen from the dead.
Jesus, and only Jesus, is the one who will judge the world in the last day.
Jesus, and only Jesus, is our living hope.
This is the Gospel, plain and simple. Are we going to hold it up? May the Lord provoke each and every one of us to lift the cross high in our lives, our communities, and our world, wherever the Lord leads us.