Tuesday, June 08, 2021

2021.06.08 Hopewell @Home ▫ Acts 17:24–31

Read Acts 17:24–31

Questions from the Scripture text: What does the apostle introduce God as having done (Acts 17:24)? What two things has He made? Of what does this make Him Lord? In what does He not dwell? By what is He not worshiped (Acts 17:25)? What doesn’t He need? To whom does He give what? What has He made from what in Acts 17:26? What two things has He determined for them? What (Whom) should they seek (Acts 17:27)? In what hope? What makes it surprising that they do not seek or find Him? In what way is He not far from us (Acts 17:28)? Of what Greek poetry phrase does the inspired apostle approve? Who get their nature from Whom (Acts 17:29)? What does this mean God’s nature cannot be like? What cannot devise it? Why had God not dealt judicially against national idolatries (Acts 17:30)? Would this forbearance continue? Why not (Acts 17:31)? What token has God given that nations are now corporately judged specifically for idolatry?

Next week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, Song of Adoration, and Prayer of Confession all come from Acts 17:24–31, so that we will see that we are singing God’s thoughts after Him with Cast Down, O God, the Idols

There’s nothing we can offer God that He needs. He “made the world and everything in it” (Acts 17:24a). He is “Lord of heaven and earth” (verse 24b). Our handmade temples cannot benefit Him (verse 24c). Our hands themselves cannot benefit Him (Acts 17:25a). He is nothing like even the most valuable or strongest things in creation (Acts 17:29b, “gold or silver or stone”). He is nothing like anything at all that  our minds can come up with (verse 29c).

Rather, we have come from His mind (Acts 17:26a) to refract His image as His offspring (Acts 17:28b–Acts 17:29a), for we are the only things that He made as a display of Himself (verse 29). 

So, are you thinking of Him as He describes Himself in Scripture? And worshiping Him alone? And only doing so in the way that He has appointed in Scripture—through Christ alone, which must only be through the worship that the resurrected Christ leads from heaven? And do you think of yourself and your purpose as Scripture says: existing to glorify God as one made in His image, and to enjoy Him in that worship through Christ?

There was a time when most nations lacked the Scriptures and lived in ignorance of these things (Acts 17:30a). This was in the wisdom and providence of God (Acts 17:26b). But now He is sending His gospel into all the world, with the command to repent and to become His renewed image-bearers and worshipers in Christ (Acts 17:30b). 

Nations whose idolatry was not punished in the way that Israel’s idolatry was must no longer think God will overlook it now that Christ has come (v30). He made all these nations from one blood (Acts 17:26a) for the same glorious purpose (Acts 17:27). 

By raising Christ from the dead (Acts 17:31b), God declared Him to be that Son of God with power (cf. Romans 1:4), to Whom belong all the kingdoms of this world and their glory (cf. Psalm 2). Now, God judges all nations in history for their idolatrous theology and idolatrous worship (Acts 17:30b) as a means by which He announces to each of us that we will stand for judgment before this resurrected King (Acts 17:31a).

What a dreadful thought this is for our own nation! And unimaginably and everlastingly dreadful for every person who hasn’t repented from defining God, worship, and self to lay hold of Jesus Christ and His Word for the definitions of these things. Repent, and believe upon Jesus Christ!

Why are you? How has that been showing up (or not) in what you do and how you do it? To you, what defines good worship? How has your nation, and/or its churches, been answering this question? On this basis, what do you expect would happen to your nation and/or its churches?

Suggested songs: ARP2 “Why Do Gentile Nations Rage” or TPH467 “Cast Down, O God, the Idols”


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