Friday, February 10, 2012

Do you know your Father?





Scripture

“Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man.
(Acts 17:29 NASB)
“Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent,
(Acts 17:30 NASB)
because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”
(Acts 17:31 NASB)

Observation

Paul was in Athens and he joined with the others who were on Mars Hill. This was the place where people gathered to consider the deep questions of the day, always wanting to learn something new. Paul realized that this would be a good place to proclaim the good news about Jesus Christ, for indeed it was new news for the people of Athens who had so many different gods. I'm sure that Paul, a very well educated man, took time to consider how he should address this crowd. How could he relate to these people?

Being a student of cultures, Paul was able to relate to the people there in Athens that day. He was able to argue from the point of paternity. Whose child are you? He knew that they had poetry tin which they referred to themselves as the children of God. Therefore he could jump from that point -- if we are children of God, then we must think about God's nature. So many of the gods were carved into stone or made of gold or bronze. However, if we, as humans were not images, then why would God, the very creator himself, be an image. He could not be. Paul was then able to bring them right to the place of the good news and understanding what God had done for them. The promise of the resurrection was the point at which they were overwhelmed. How could this be possible -- how could God raise one from the dead?

Application

Paul was the great contextualizer. He was able to read a situation and put his knowledge to good use to tell those people about Jesus Christ. At the end of the day, he understood that people had a deep need to recognize that they had come from someplace -- and deep in their hearts, people recognized that this was God.

The same seems to hold true today. While there are those who call themselves atheists, when it comes down to it, they really want to cry out to their daddy -- to Abba -- to the Father of us all. That's because deep in our hearts we know that we belong, that there is a Creator who loves and cares for us.
Often I have people say to me that they have no idea how to lead someone to Jesus Christ. However, it seems that we can, just like Paul, draw on the natural human desires which are placed into us by God. There is a natural desire to get to know the One who has created us. Christopher Hitchens, the well-known atheist recently passed away after a long battle with cancer. Concerned that he might turn to Christ in his journey toward death, he declared a disclaimer early on during his illness. He said that if you heard that he had turned to Christ it was simply because he was not in his right mind because of the illness. However, as the illness was progressing, I believe that this man wanted to leave the door open to the possibility of responding to the Creator, but have a disclaimer so that he could remain atheistic.

We really do have a world that is hungry to know about the true God. There are ways in which the appeal can be made so that the story of God connects with them. Paul knew how to do this. It may not come that naturally for us, but we are still called to tell others the good news. May we all recognize that we have a desire to be connected with the Daddy of all creation. In a world that feels desperately abandoned by their earthly fathers, let us point the way to the heavenly Daddy who will never let us down.

Prayer

Lord, thank you for the love of a heavenly Father that is with us today and forever. Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment