The God of Humanity
Topic: The God of Humanity Passage: Acts 17:16–17:21, Acts 17:22–17:23, Acts 17:24–17:28, Romans 13
-The God of Humanity-
This last Sunday we looked at the text found in Acts 17: 16-34. This was a weighty treatise on the question regarding displaced people; what should be our attitude as believers. As Paul approached the city of Athens he provided a two-fold answer for us which ultimately comes down to the Sovereignty of God and our willingness to be subservient to that. So go ahead and pull out your outlines from last week and lets dig in!
Now that you have the outline out, I want to subtract most of it so that we can focus on what needs to be our heart food.
Have someone read aloud Acts 17: 23-34.
Have someone read aloud Acts 17: 26-28.
Have someone read aloud Acts 17: 26-27
Have everyone read aloud Acts 17: 27
Now, let’s answer a few questions:
- What is Paul saying in Verse 24?
- What does God need from us in Verse 25?
- Look at Verse 26. Which people group finds their origin in Adam, who was made in the Image of God? Is there any who are not a part of this heritage in Adam?
- This verse also says that God determines two things in regard to the descendants of Adam. What are they?
Now, Look at Verse 27.
- Why does God do ALL of this? (Have someone read Romans 1: 18-32)
- What does all of this mean?
As Paul points to the altar found at Athens, he proceeds to make known to them the God who is.
Pass out and read through the following, noting and sharing what stands out:
Note: The Bible verses below are far from exhaustive, and each should be interpreted per its genre and context. But I am convinced that these verses—rightly interpreted—definitively establish God’s absolute sovereignty over all things. And since compatibilism is true, none of this contradicts the equally biblical teaching that Satan is “the god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4) and that human choices are genuine and significant.
God Is Sovereign Over . . .
• Seemingly random things (Proverbs 16:33)
• The heart of the most powerful person in the land (Proverbs 21:1)
• Our daily lives and plans (Proverbs 20:24) (Proverbs 19:21) (James 4:13-15)
• Salvation (Romans 9:15-16) (Acts 13:48) (Romans 8:29-30)
• Life and death (Deuteronomy 32:39) (1 Samuel 12:6)
• Disabilities (Exodus 4:11)
• The death of God’s Son (Acts 2:23) (Acts 4:27-28) (Isaiah 53:10)
• Evil things (Amos 3:6) (Isaiah 45:7) (Job 1:21-22; 2:10) (Psalm 105:17; Genesis 50:21)
• All things (Ephesians 1:11) (Psalm 115:3) (Job 42:2) (Daniel 4:35)
Understanding just what Sovereign means when we apply it to God proves much more than a mere idea that Paul is presenting to the Athenians. An idea can be shaped by fear, doubt, greed, lust, passion, power- all the things present in the dreamers mind and heart. (See Acts 17:19-21).
No, this is God. Our God. Your God. My God. Humanity’s God. The God who IS.
Every time we sit and reflect on the above passages it is as if another layer of it’s meaning penetrates us. To think that everything that happens is ordained for the purpose found in Acts 17: 27? Not my comfort, not my families own future in this world- but God moves in the moment for eternal standing?
Last week Pastor Damian read through the MANY names of those who were displaced by God for a variety of reasons. Who remembers any that stood out to them? Did you know so many Refugee’s made up our Scriptures?
From Adam and Eve, Cain, Abraham and Sarah, Hagar and Ishmael, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Esau, Naomi and Ruth- to David and his family? Remember the Prophets, Nehemiah, Ezra, Esther- even Jesus’ family- Joseph and Mary?
As we begin to conclude this study, let’s all turn to Romans 13.
Have someone read Verses 1-7. Writing during the era of Rome, a government far more wicked than ours may ever be. Paul’s heart toward the government was not conditioned by the leader’s qualifications but of God’s command. They are chosen by God for the purpose of all people being brought to a place where they reach out to find God- the Creator of us all.
Do you find yourself struggling to show honor in how we talk about our leaders, how we “share” on facebook about our leaders or Country? We need to realize, regardless of who is elected and how they are acting- how we treat them is a direct reflection of our heart and God. Obedience is difficult.
Now have someone read Verses 8-14. While corruption abounds all around us our direction is clear. We love as God has loved us. None of us are born into this world seeing it as God does; yet He is patient, longsuffering and with daily renewed mercies extends invitation through the catastrophic circumstances that force people to be displaced.
Have you ever felt like you were displaced? It is easy for us as Americans to compartmentalize these people groups as deserving of their circumstances or disregarding our role to care for them. The American dream is a very self-driven, self-fueled and result driven way of living. We live in a Country that we participated in slaughtering and dispersing thousands of people to call this home. What if one day, when America’s God appointed time ends or regional boundary changes- will we still be anchored in our faith focused on the world that is to come? Is God’s Kingdom truly what we are living for?
At the end of the day- at the end of the refugee questions resides our heart and God. God is the God over all of humanity; but teaches us through Christ to call Him Father. Acts 17: 27 says that “he is actually not far from each of us.” That means when these displaced people reach out to feel for God, their hands should find us.
Where is your heart with God? Are you living in a way that acknowledges God’s Sovereign purposes with this world- seeking first His Kingdom? Or have we sold out to the love of this world and the exclusion of others? Our lives will tell the truth in which we believe- it is either God or an idol.