Intro. Paul is on Mars' Hill sharing the gospel with the Epicurian and Stoic philosophers who know nothing of the true God or the Bible. He has told them the following things about God.
A. He is the creator of heaven and earth. Gen. 1
B. He is over all of heaven and earth.
C. He does not dwell in buildings made with man's hands. (As Solomon declared the heaven of heavens can not contain Him.)
D. Neither is He worshipped with man's hands.
E. He is not dependant upon man.
F. He is a giving God; He has given to all life, breath, and all things.
G. He created all of mankind from one source.
H. He appoints their times and boundaries.
I. He has planted a thirst for God in every heart.
J. He surrounds every man, for in Him, we live, move and have our existence.
K. We are His offspring, or made in His image.
L. Therefore, we should not think of Him as something made from gold or silver, someone made with man's hands.
M. They had been ignorant of the true God.
I. THERE WAS A TIME WHEN GOD WINKED AT THIS IGNORANCE OR CLOSED HIS EYES TO THIS IGNORANCE.
A. Prior to the coming of Jesus Christ, there had not been a full revelation of God to man.
1. Peter wrote concerning Jesus:
Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see [him] not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
Receiving the end of your faith, [even] the salvation of [your] souls.
Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace [that should come] unto you:
Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.
2. Peter is saying that they did not fully understand the things they were writing about. The revelation of God was completed in Jesus Christ. Until then, God more or less closed His eyes to their ignorance.
3. Things are different since the coming of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the full and complete revelation of God.
God, who at different times and in diverse ways spoke to the fathers the prophets in the past, has in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds; Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and who upholds all things by the word of his power, when He had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
5. Man is held responsible according to the light that he has been given.
a. Jesus said,
Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. So be ready to open the door for your master when He returns you will be ready to immediately open the door for Him. Let your light be burning. Blessed are those servants who when the Lord comes, He will find them watching, I say to you, that He will gird Himself and come forth and serve them. Blessed are those servants who are ready even if he delays his coming till midnight or three in the morning, they are still ready to meet Him. Just know that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief was coming, he would have been watching and his house would not have been burglarized. Therefore be ready, for you do not know when the Son of Man is coming. Then Peter said to Him, Lord, is parable just for us, or for everyone? Jesus answered, "Who is that faithful and wise steward whom His Lord will make ruler over His household, to give them their
portion of meat? Blessed is that servant, who when His Lord comes, he finds him so doing. him so doing. I tell you the truth, He will make him ruler over all that He has. But if that servant says in his heart, "My Lord delays His coming, and coming; and he begins to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; The lord of that servant will come in a day when he is not looking for Him, and at an hour when he is not expecting Him, and will cast him out and give him a place with the unbelievers. For if that servant that knew the Lord's will and did it not, he will be beaten with many stripes, yet he that knew not the Lord and did things that were worthy of stripes will be beaten with few. For unto him whom much is given, much will be required, more is expected from those who know the truth.
b. In other words, knowledge creates responsibility.
c. Peter said:
For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known [it], to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
d. You see it is too late for you. You have been told, there is, you know, there is no closing of God's eye to your ignorance, for you are not ignorant, but have heard the gospel.
e. Yours is not the sin of ignorance, but of willful rejection of the truth.
B. The days of God's winking at ignorance is past, now God requires all men, everywhere, to repent.
II. GOD HAS APPOINTED A DAY, IN WHICH HE WILL JUDGE THE WORLD IN RIGHTEOUSNESS BY THAT MAN WHOM HE HAS ORDAINED.
A. As the judgments of God are being poured out during the great tribulation we read that:
And I beheld when He had opened the sixth seal, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casts her untimely figs, when she is shaken by a mighty wind.
And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
1. This great tribulation is called the wrath of the Lamb.
2. He will judge in righteousness.
And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.
And I heard the angel of the waters say, You are righteous, O Lord, which is, and was, and shall be, because You have judged thus.
For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink; for they deserve it.
And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous [are] thy judgments.
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him [was] called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He does
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him [was] called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.judge and make war.
But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things [done] in [his] body, according to that he hath done, whether [it be] good or bad.
Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;
And another came, to Him saying, Lord, behold, here is your two dollars back, I kept it wrapped up in a napkin because I feared you because you are an austere man, you take up that which you did not lay down, and you reap that which you didn't sow. And He said to him, I will judge you be your own words you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man that I took up that which I did not lay down, and reaped that which I didn't sow, so why then did you not place my money in bank, so that I might have received my own with interest?"
B. I sometimes hear men questioning the justice of God and I always think how foolish.
1. God is absolutely just and fair.
2. There are many people who really do not want justice, they are sob sisters. They do not want to see evil punished. Why? Because they are evil and know that if evil is punished, they will be punished.
C. God has given us assurance of the true judge by raising Him from the dead.
1. The resurrection of Jesus is the gospel, is the heart of the gospel.
2. Without the resurrection, we have no gospel.
3. As Paul said to the Corinthians,
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also you have received, and wherein you stand;
By which also you are saved, if you keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless you have believed in vain.
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: Then in verse 14 he adds:
And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching vain, and your faith [is] also vain.
Also, we are false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.
For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
And if Christ be not raised, your faith [is] vain; ye are yet in your sins.
Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.