- Rev. John R. Nader
Joining God’s Activity
In chapter seventeen of The Acts of the Apostles, we find Paul and Silas in Athens. The city was flooded with idols. This distressed Paul very much. Additionally, as he conversed with the philosophers they assumed he was talking about a foreign god because he was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. The council wanted to know more about this new teaching. This was his change to share the reality of God as creator and Jesus as redeemer through resurrection.
Our section of scripture contains those words from Paul and the response of those listening. Here is the powerful things about Paul’s speech: instead of rejecting their idol worship Paul uses the idols as an explanation of who God truly is. “I found an altar with the inscription: ‘To an unknown God,’” Paul says. He knew that if he were to come into Athens destroying their idols or preaching against them no one would listen to him or take him seriously. However, by using the idols as a way of sharing the gospel the Athenians were open to hearing what he had to say.
Although Paul and Silas’ visit to Athens only spans about nineteen verses in The Acts of the Apostles, what we learn in the delivery of his speech has been vitally important in sharing the gospel. This gospel message is the good news we hold within our lives. It is the story of how God has changed and transformed us from brokenness to wholeness, from pain to healing, from sorrow to joy, from destitute to fulfillment, from death to resurrection. Whatever God has done in your life, that is your testimony.
Paul’s testimony was his encounter with the resurrected Christ on the road to Damascus (Acts 9). This confrontation gave Paul’s life new meaning and purpose as before he was persecuting Christians and after on the front lines of the Christian missionary movement across the Roman controlled Mediterranean.
What about you? What is your testimony? How has Christ entered your life? Who were you before Christ changed you? Who have you been since Christ has changed you? If you are wrestling to answer these questions then maybe you desire a transforming experience with the risen Christ. Just as Paul, you too can be forever changed by the love and grace of Jesus – the Son of God.
If you would like to discuss your testimony with me or if you, like me previously, struggle to give your sins over to Christ to experience that powerful change of life, please don’t spare a moment of hesitation to call me or visit with me. You will never regret the freedom Christ give you.