The pandemic has taken away many of the things we relied on for purpose and meaning, and rioting has shaken our faith in our institutions.
We want to do something, but what?
Acts 17 tells the story of the Apostle Paul in the Areopagus in Athens, where the elites of the first century Roman world met to debate philosophy, religion, and politics. The elites listened as Paul explained who the God of the Bible was and how God was the force behind much of what they believed.
So far, so good.
But then Paul told them they needed to repent; God was sending someone to judge the world; the proof was the resurrection.
End of discussion. Paul and his talk were cancelled. The philosophers thought Paul was crazy.
I wonder if Paul left feeling helpless.
But God wasn’t done.
Paul wasn’t totally helpless after all; a few people who heard him believed.
Less than 300 years later, the Roman Emperor Constantine issued the Edict of Milan in recognition of the fact that Christianity had become the dominant religion of the Roman world.
The Gospel changed the world from the margins, not from the places where the elites hung out. Members of the new Jesus Movement had begun sharing their faith with relatives and friends, who shared it with their relatives and friends. People began to see there was something different about them.
Today, Christianity is the dominant religion in the world, and it’s still growing. Growing, not through force or programs, but through the quality of the members of the movement and the relationships they form.
Friends, we’re not helpless.
Share your faith. Point to the resurrection. Do it winsomely, fearlessly, and relate it to your audience, as Paul did.
It’s when we feel helpless, and step out in faith anyway, that God does some of his best work.