Thursday, November 22, 2012

Learning from Athens

From Athens the USA gleaned the “one man, one vote” concept for government and the legal courts.

During the Persian Wars, an ambassador from Persia came to Athens to determine if the city would willingly subject themselves or fight to remain free. After heated discussion among the male Athenian land owners, each man put a stone into the pot: white to fight, and black to submit. They chose to fight for their freedom, and they also chose to ally themselves with their old enemies in Sparta to do so. As the great city-states of Greece combined, they were able to defeat the overwhelming forces of Xerxes I in 479 BC. Bas-relief squares along the top of the Parthenon depicted the victory.

The American people voted for president Obama fully knowing of his laws and goals for “morning after pills” and abortion. To me that means more than half of the country follows idols instead of King Jesus. The primary idol is Molech (which means king) who demanded child sacrifice. The ancients would burn their infants in the arms of the Molech statue; our society burns preborn children with saline solution during an abortion. It's a choice of sexual sin and human sacrifice to Molech instead of monogamous marital sex and raising children in obedience to King Jesus.

Some in Athens recognized their idolatry when presented with the good news of Jesus Christ, but others didn't. Paul's message to them seems appropriate for our day.

Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him. Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seems to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached to them Jesus, and the resurrection. And they took him, and brought him to Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof you speak, is? For you bring certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean. (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.) Then Paul stood in the middle of Mars' hill, and said, You men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore you ignorantly worship, him declare I to you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwells not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he gives to all life, and breath, and all things; And has made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. For as much then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like to gold, or silver, or stone, graven by are and man's device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commands all men every where to repent: Because he has appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he has ordained; whereof he has given assurance to all men, in that he has raised him from the dead. And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear you again of this matter.” (Acts 17:16-32)

It is the LORD who raises up nations and sets their borders and time of existence. Regardless of who the leader is, “The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turns it wherever he will” (Proverbs 21:1).

The appointed day of God's judgment of the world is drawing closer, and those who mock Jesus' resurrection will be asking the rocks to fall on them to hide them from the “wrath of the Lamb” (Revelation 6:16-17). But if you're not sure your friends have really understood the “Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), find a cultural connection like Paul did to explain Jesus' gift of eternal life to them.

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night;” (II Peter 3:9-10a)

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