Chapter Seventeen — Part Four: The Book of Acts

By: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne

Publish date: 06/19/2022

Foundation Scriptures:
Acts 17:23-34

1. The Creator of Heaven and Earth.
a. Acts 17:23 KJV — For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
b. Acts 17:24 AMPC — The God Who produced and formed the world and all things in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in handmade shrines.
c. Almighty God is not on the level of the other gods, but He is above them all.
d. He is omnipotent, the Creator of all things—the God of heaven and earth.
e. He cannot, and will not, be contained in a man-made temple (Acts 7:48).
f. This was an attack against all Greek temples and idolatry.
g. Acts 17:25 AMPC — Neither is He served by human hands, as though He lacked anything, for it is He Himself Who gives life and breath and all things to all [people].
h. Worshipped (Greek therapeuō) — served; to wait upon menially; to adore (God), or to relieve (of disease); cure, heal, worship.
i. God lacks nothing and needs nothing that men have to offer; neither have they anything worthy to offer Him.
j. On the contrary, He is alive, and the One Who gives life and breath to all (Is. 42:5).
k. He is our universal Benefactor and Provider—Creation is dependent on Him.
l. This was an attack against their images and idols and the sacrifices and services required in their worship.

2. Creator of Mankind.
a. Acts 17:26 AMPC — And He made from one [common origin, one source, one blood] all nations of men to settle on the face of the earth, having definitely determined [their] allotted periods of time and the fixed boundaries of their habitation (their settlements, lands, and abodes),
b. God made ALL people of ONE kind.
c. In His omniscience, He sovereignly planned and determined their existence in time and place (Acts 15:18).
d. Job 23:14 AMPC — For He performs [that which He has] planned for me, and of many such matters He is mindful.
e. Acts 17:27 AMPC — So that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after Him and find Him, although He is not far from each one of us.
f. Feel (Greek psēlaphaō) — to handle; grope; touch and feel; metaph. mentally to seek after tokens of a person or a thing.
g. God provided salvation for all (1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Pet. 3:9; Jn. 3:15-20; Rev. 22:17).
h. God is omnipresent and able to be found by any, and all, who look for, or feel after, Him.
i. Acts 17:28 AMPC — For in Him we live and move and have our being; as even some of your [own] poets have said, For we are also His offspring.
j. He quoted from the poet Aratus, from Cilicia, Paul’s own country.
k. We are alive because we are created by a live God, Who is the source of all life (Heb. 1:3).
l. We are nothing and can do nothing without Him.
m. And we dishonor Him when we worship idols as gods.
n. Acts 17:29 AMPC — Since then we are God’s offspring, we ought not to suppose that Deity (the Godhead) is like gold or silver or stone, [of the nature of] a representation by human art and imagination, or anything constructed or invented.
o. Because we are alive, we could not have been created by a being of wood or stone.
p. We are created by Him, in His image, and He gives to us His Divine Nature (2 Pet. 1:3-4).

3. Repentance and Judgment.
a. Acts 17:30 AMPC — Such [former] ages of ignorance God, it is true, ignored and allowed to pass unnoticed; but now He charges all people everywhere to repent (to change their minds for the better and heartily to amend their ways, with abhorrence of their past sins),
b. In the past, God tolerated their ignorant idolatry.
c. But now, Almighty God, through Jesus, has revealed Himself and His salvation plan.
d. Therefore, it is the time and opportunity for ALL men to come to Him, repent of their sins, and be saved and forgiven.
e. Acts 17:31 AMPC — Because He has fixed a day when He will judge the world righteously (justly) by a Man Whom He has destined and appointed for that task, and He has made this credible and given conviction and assurance and evidence to everyone by raising Him from the dead.
f. He has appointed a Judgment Day when the whole world will be judged in righteousness (Ps. 96:13; 98:9; Rev. 20:1-15; Mt. 12:36; Rom. 2:16).
g. Psalm 9:8 KJV — And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness.
h. Jesus Christ is the appointed Judge (John 5).
i. All men will have to give an account to Him, for their life and works.
j. Jesus’ resurrection is the evidence of the validity and credibility of God’s promises and the guarantee of justice to and for all (1 Cor. 15).

4. Resurrection.
a. Acts 17:32 AMPC — Now when they had heard [that there had been] a resurrection from the dead, some scoffed; but others said, We will hear you again about this matter.
b. The resurrection was the dividing line for them—the choice to believe or not to believe.
c. Some mocked, but some wanted to discuss it further, later.
d. 1 Corinthians 1:23 KJV — But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness.
e. Acts 17:33 KJV — So Paul departed from among them.
f. Paul had not broken their law, so he was free to go.
g. Acts 17:34 AMPC — But some men were on his side and joined him and believed (became Christians); among them were Dionysius, a judge of the Areopagus, and a woman named Damaris, and some others with them.
h. Some of them who heard, were persuaded by Paul’s sermon, and believed.
i. Dionysius was an eminent man—one of their judges, a member of the great court of Athens.
j. And Damaris was a prominent woman in their community.