Gracefully Truthful

Deliver,Digging Deeper,Gift,God,Gospel,Humility,Worship

Discover the original intent of Scripture. Make good application to our everyday lives.
Become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Read His Words Before Ours!

Acts 17:24-25

“The God who made the world and everything in it—he is Lord of heaven and earth—does not live in shrines made by hands. 25 Neither is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives everyone life and breath and all things.”

The Original Intent

1) What is being compared or connected in verse 25 with the word “neither”?

The context for this passage of Scripture places Paul in Athens. While waiting for Timothy and Silas to join him, he engages in continual dialogue with the Jewish leaders and many of the people in the city. Disturbed by the number of idols he has noticed, Paul feels compelled to tell them the truth about Jehovah, the One True God.

The gods the Athenians worshipped were made with human hands and had limitations. But the God unknown to them, the One who had delivered them and was worthy of their worship, was in reality the Creator God. This God was “neither” confined to an earthly temple “nor” was He dependent on humans to provide Him with anything. He has no needs. God is the Provider. In fact, He is the ultimate giver of everything.  

Romans 11:33 reminds us, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments and untraceable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? And who has ever given to God, that he should be repaid?”
The word “neither” places emphasis on the fact that God wasn’t needy of anything, and therefore was uniquely worthy of their worship.

The Everyday Application

1) What is being compared or connected in verse 25 with the word “neither”?

We must keep in mind we worship a God much higher than us. “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways.’ This is the Lord’s declaration. ‘For as heaven is higher than earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8)

Paul was burdened that the people of Athens were missing the true God of salvation. The One True God of whom Moses proclaimed, “For I will proclaim the Lord’s name. Declare the greatness of our God! The Rock—his work is perfect; all his ways are just. A faithful God, without bias, he is righteous and true. The Lord declares, ‘See now that I alone am he; there is no God but me. I bring death and I give life; I wound and I heal. No one can rescue anyone from my power.’” (Deuteronomy 32:3-439)

 God is able to accomplish anything. He created the universe and He sustains it. We do well to humbly acknowledge our relation as humans to Him, the LORD of all.

The Original Intent

2) What important doctrine is taught in the phrase “God who made the world”?

Some people in Athens didn’t know the One they were honoring was indeed the One True God. There are Bible scholars who believe the verses regarding this specific altar (verses 22-23) are possibly referencing a time in Athenian history when the people believed they were rescued from pestilence and plague. They constructed the altar/idol out of their gratitude. 

Paul wanted them to understand the altar they had erected to their “unknown God” (verse 23) was not just to a god. He was in fact The God. He was their Deliverer. He was the One who had rescued them.
He was also their Creator.

In their ignorance, they were celebrating the God of the universe without realizing it. In the following verses, Paul revealed how this God was also their Savior through the work of Christ Jesus. Paul’s message to the people declared the God who created them, and the God who had rescued them from disease, was the very same God who would save their souls. (Acts 17.30-31)

Paul’s gospel was this: From creation to this very moment, this is the same God. The only God.

The Everyday Application

2) What important doctrine is taught in the phrase “God who made the world”?

In John 3:16, we learn that God loved the world and He gave us His only Son. In Acts 17 we learn God created the world and gives us life and breath … and ALL things. What an amazing thought: The creator of the universe is a giver. He did not just create a world and then leave us alone. He isn’t some distant deity, uninterested in our lives.

We understand this because we are made in His image.
Those in Athens had heard their own poets refer to themselves as God’s offspring (17:29). Paul used this familiar concept to communicate how God was more than a figure made of wood or stone. Humans were created to live in relationship with the Creator. He has given us life and has also given us the power to live and breathe. He demonstrated this life through the resurrection of Jesus, the Son He gave. THE God, who created everything wants a forever relationship with us.

Peter preached the same message that Paul preached, “By the word of God the heavens came into being long ago and the earth was brought about from water and through water… [This] Lord does not delay his promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:59)

We were created by God and we are loved by God. He is a life-breathing, life-giving God!

The Original Intent

3) Why is Paul reminding the people of Athens God doesn’t need anything or anyone?

The people who worshiped in this day were accustomed to their religious practices (verse 22). They mostly likely served their gods “religiously”. Paul used this opportunity to teach them that the God he was speaking of did not need their service. “If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and everything in it is mine.” Psalm 50:12

In fact, this God was the giver of all things, not the receiver. Through the prophet Isaiah, God reminded His people of this truth. Reminding them of the inadequacy of idols, He said, “Listen to me, house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been sustained from the womb, carried along since birth. I will be the same until your old age, and I will bear you up when you turn gray. I have made you, and I will carry you; I will bear and rescue you. Who will you compare me or make me equal to? Who will you measure me with, so that we should be like each other?” (Isaiah 46:3-5)

Just like foreign gods could not save the people of old, neither were the present gods able to deliver them. Only an all-powerful and all-sufficient God was worthy of genuine worship.

The Everyday Application

3) Why is Paul reminding the people of Athens God doesn’t need anything or anyone?

When we worship the One True God, we are the beneficiaries. He doesn’t need our worship, He deserves our worship. We must recognize that we remain a receiver and God is always the giver, yet even so, He finds delight in relationship with us. We are the beneficiary and He is the benefactor. Everything we have was given to us by God. (1 Corinthians 4:7 )

When we pray, we are confessing our dependence on Him to even desire to pray. When we serve, we aren’t working for a weak God who can’t accomplish a task without us. We are simply vessels God created to be His human hands and feet on earth. When we ‘count our blessings’, we aren’t tallying what we owe God. We could never repay Him. Nor should we see it that way. God doesn’t give because He needs a return. God gives because He is a giving God.

In Isaiah 41:10, God says “I’ll help you, and I’ll hold you.”
John Piper said, “Trust this God, and every day pray as a helpless, empty recipient of this promise. And when you pray and when you trust as a helpless little kid, God will work for you. And He will get the glory, and you’ll get the joy.”

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