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Divinely Furnished Proof

April 16, 2017 Speaker: Dr. Rick Gregory Series: Special Services

Topic: Resurrection Verse: Acts 17:30–17:31

“DIVINELY FURNISHED PROOF”
Acts 17:30-31

Theme: God has proven His approval of the sacrifice of His Son through the resurrection.

I. THE PATIENCE OF GOD TOWARD SINNERS – v. 30a

A. GOD’S PATIENCE IS SEEN IN HIS RIGHT TO JUDGE

  • The Apostle Paul stood before a crowd of people on Mars Hill to proclaim the glorious accomplishment of Jesus to people who had never heard of Him.
  • In this account, we can hear as if for the first time the basics of exactly what it is that Jesus accomplished.
  • Paul appeals to them to recognize that in the plethora of God’s that they serve, they themselves acknowledge that there is one that they do not know – cp. v. 23.
  • He declares that this God had created them and everything else and is Lord of Heaven and earth – holding men accountable before Him to acknowledge His glory and how we owe our very existence to Him – cp. v. 28.
  • He recounts how that man had strayed far from God – even diverting their worship from Him to other gods – of their own invention and satisfaction – cp. v. 29
  • Paul then shares how God has shown tremendous patience toward sinners who have failed to honor Him – “Therefore, having overlooked the times of ignorance …”
  1. God has permitted men to do as they pleased – cp. Acts 14:16
  2. He has shown great patience and forbearance in not immediately judging sinners at the instant of their sin – cp. Romans 3:25
  • The “times of ignorance” refers to the state of worshipping other gods – cp. 23.

B. GOD’S PATIENCE IS SEEN IN HIS RESTRAINT FROM JUDGMENT

  • The idea of God “overlooked” [ὑπεριδὼν - Aor. Act. Part. – “to disregard”] executing His wrath against sinners is a tribute to the fact that God is not eager to condemn sinners – cp. Ezekiel 18:23.
  • As we noted already, God patiently allowed people to go their own way.
  • Thus, God would have been just in destroying sinners who failed to honor Him, but He withheld His wrath in order to provide opportunity for a sinner to repent – cp. Psalm 78:38; 2 Peter 3:3-4, 9.
  • Such forbearance ought not to be interpreted by sinners as God’s indifference – the justice of God prohibits such an approach by God, but that doesn’t mean that He cannot be patient.

II. THE PRONOUNCEMENT OF GOD’S STANDARDS – vv. 30b-31a

A. THE STIPULATION OF REPENTANCE

  • God’s patience was never intended to continue forever in the “overlooking” of man’s rebellion against Him.
  • The Scriptures declare that the reason that He was patient is because He knew that reckoning was ultimately appointed – “… because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world …”
  • As the opportunity remained for sinners to repent, God now makes it clear that all men remain accountable to Him.
  • God now demands that men turn from their sin and repent – “… God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent.” – cp. Romans 2:4
  • The call to repent is essential to the proclamation of the Gospel – it is not enough to tell people that God wants them to have a better life going forward; such is impossible until the sin scarred life of their past is dealt with through repentance – cp. Luke 24:47; Acts 26:20.

B. THE STANDARD OF REVIEW

  • The consequence of willfully continue in this ignorance after being called to repentance is doom – “because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness.”
  • The standard of “righteousness” that He will use will not be arbitrary, nor will it be popular … it will be qualified by the standard set by the Son of God – “…through a Man whom He has appointed”
  • Nothing less that the standard of the perfection found in Jesus Christ will be acceptable – cp. Ephesians 1:6; 1 Peter 2:21-24.
  • This righteousness is available to all who receive the call to believe and repent – the righteousness of Christ is granted to them through God’s grace as He justifies us by means of the blood of Christ – 2 Corinthians 5:21.

III. THE PROOF OF GOD’S SATISFACTION – v. 31b

A. THE RESURRECTION ASSURES THE RIGHTEOUS OF BLESSING

  • These truths are not mere “positive thinking,” “mental manipulations,” “wishful assertions,” or “states of denial” providing “coping mechanisms” for the powerful guilt of soul plaguing sinners.
  • If the death of Christ had not fully satisfied the justice of God regarding our sin, then His death would have been the end of it.
  • However, the hostility of God toward our sin was fully satisfied and removed by the offering of the bloody, violent death of Jesus Christ – cp. Romans 5:9.
  • The proof of God’s embrace of what Jesus accomplished when He suffered for our sin is provided through the resurrection – “… having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”
  • “proof” [πίστις] – a pledge or oath was provided by God that the work of Christ completely satisfied Him regarding our sin – that “proof” was given by “raising Him from the dead.”
  • The resurrection is the proof that the standard of righteousness that satisfied the Father is the perfection and righteousness found solely in the living Lord and Christ – Jesus – cp. Philippians 2:9-11; Acts 2:36; Romans 1:4.

B. THE RESURRECTION ASSURES THE UNRIGHTEOUS OF BLAME

  • When this is embraced by faith, a sinner is cleansed from sin and forgiven through the blood of Jesus Christ.
  • However, when a sinner rejects this grace (and as long as he or she does so) he is under the condemnation that Christ died to relieve – cp. John 3:17-18, 36; John 5:24
  • God “will judge the world” on that appointed day and the opportunity will be over – and the resurrection of Jesus Christ assures us of both the blessing for those who believe and blame for those who spurn the Risen Son of God.

 

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