Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Seeking Truth

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
John 8:31-32 (NASB)

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. John 14:6 (NASB)

Carvings of numerous idols stood in various sites throughout the city and it provoked him. Paul’s spirit roused with anger and distress—people need to know the Truth. In the synagogue he reasoned with Jews and God-fearing Gentiles. In the market place he talked to anyone who listened. Surely God’s Word and his personal experience would reveal the Truth, confirming authentic Biblical history to the present.

Paul also conversed with the intellectuals of the day. The people of Athens as well as visitors enjoyed discussing life’s meaning through old and new ideologies. Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were among the crowds, questioning Paul about truth (Acts 17).

Before moving on with Paul’s witness to the people in Athens, let me give you some tidbits of knowledge about Paul and each of the groups he encountered. Paul (formerly Saul) was a very learned Pharisee who studied under Gamaliel, a Jewish Rabbi and leader in the Sanhedrin (Jewish court system). Because of his zeal for God and the Jewish law of his ancestors, Paul persecuted followers of the Way (believers of Christ) before he met Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9).

Some of the Jews he reasoned with in the synagogues were possibly Pharisees or Sadducees. The Pharisees were middle-class business men who served the people of Israel. Only a few Pharisees sat on the Sanhedrin, yet the common people supported them. Pharisees regarded the written Word of God as well as oral tradition with equal authority. They believed in resurrection and an afterlife. 

The Sadducees were wealthy aristocrats who served as chief priests and high priests, securing a majority in the Sanhedrin. Their prime concern for Roman rule and politics left little consideration for religion and the common man. Sadducees denied God’s involvement in everyday life as well as the existence of the spiritual world. They refused acceptance of the resurrection of the dead or an afterlife. Needless to say, these two groups opposed one another.

The Epicureans enjoyed pleasure and avoided pain. They sought knowledge to avoid fears and superstitions of religion. These philosophers thought every thing in the universe existed as atoms, so they concluded that the gods had no interest in man. They believed both body and soul to be perishable, therefore no afterlife. Life held no virtue, death offered nothingness. The Epicurean epitaph written on gravestones read I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care.

The Stoic philosophers believed logic and reasoning facilitated the search for truth. They presumed that controlling their actions meant living a virtuous life. These men believed gods existed to direct the universe and intervene in men’s lives, thereby believing in fate. Even though the Stoics accepted the existence of a soul after death, they thought only those favored by the gods lived in heaven. 

Consider these various beliefs and then suppose how lives were lived accordingly. Are these ways of thinking any different than today’s beliefs? There is truly nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). People continue to search religions and philosophies for truth and the meaning to life. 

Imagine the questions deriving from all those beliefs. Does truth exist? What is the purpose of human life? Do gods exist to intervene in the lives of man? What is the nature of the soul? Does life end at death or is there an afterlife? Is there really a God of the universe?

Paul preached before this huge crowd of people with different beliefs. He challenged their views as he proclaimed Jesus and the resurrection. Because they delighted in discussing new ideas, their ears were pricked. Eagerly they took him to the Areopagus (meeting place where philosophy, religion, and law were discussed) to hear what he had to say. 

Paul spoke to the religious aspects of their life as well as the objects of their worship. He mentioned an altar he had noticed with an inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’  And he said, “Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.”

Paul then addressed their false beliefs in light of the truth of the gospel message. He declared:
  • The Creator God made the world and every thing in it.
  • The Lord of heaven and earth does not dwell in man-made temples.
  • The Giver of life and breath doesn’t need the service of human hands.
  • God created from one man all of mankind, determining their life times and dwellings.

Paul said the God of the universe fashioned it all that we might seek Him, even grope for Him, in order to know Him and have relationship with Him. He announce the existence, the movement, the very life of humans is in God and from God. He proclaimed the knowledge written by some of their own poets who pronounced, ‘For we also are His children.’

Paul continued by stating if we are His children, then we should not think of God and His Divine Nature as an image of gold or silver or stone made by man—He is God, the maker of heaven and earth. He sent the God-Man into the world to save the world through His sacrifice on a cross. Paul then declared that God supplied proof of salvation to the world through this very Man whom He raised from the dead.

Scripture says some listeners sneered while others claimed a desire to hear more. Mentally put yourself in the crowd before Paul and envision your response. In fact, close your eyes wherever you are, gather your thoughts, and assess your way of thinking. What would God say to you about your beliefs? 

I can’t read God’s mind, therefore I can’t begin to suppose His communication to you. But I do know, without a doubt, He created you in His image (Genesis 1:27), He loves you enough to die for you (John 3:16), and He calls you His child (John 1:12). Will you call Him your Maker, Redeemer, and Father today?

Listen with ready ears and an open heart to Casting Crowns's "Voice of Truth".....

What is God saying to you about His Truth and your way of thinking? Please feel free to comment below.

God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Genesis 1:27 (NASB)

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NASB)

He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:11-13 (NASB)

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 1 John 3:1 (NIV)

For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.’ Jeremiah 29:11-14 (NASB)


  1. Excellent Debbie! Surly the Christ lives in you.

  2. Thanks, Johnnie! I see Him shining through you as well.