Paul’s teachings in Greece by Athena Baer
Athena told us that Paul taught what he did about tongues in Corinth because of the history of the area he was teaching in. The area was involved in the mystical – there was the Temple of Delphi where the oracles sat over fumes and chewed a narcotic leaf, and the oracles babbled. The local pagan priests would “interpret” the babbling. 1 Corinthians 14:27-29 If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to Himself and to God. Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judged. Verse 33 For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.
Paul did not want the Church at Corinth to be compared to the confusion of the Temple of Delphi, so he showed the church how they could operate in the gifts, but yet maintain order. God does not want confusion. The interpretation of tongues needs to be able to benefit the Body of Christ.
In Acts 17 Paul is ministering in Athens and decided to use the unknown God that the Athenians worshipped to teach about God.
Acts 17:22 Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious.”
The Areopagus was the high court in Athens. The Athenians grabbed Paul and took him to this court, which was like a school. The people loved to learn about new doctrines. In Greece it was illegal to be an atheist, so the unknown god helped them to cover all bases with the idols.
Acts 17:23 for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you.
Paul was being cunning, instead of pushing God down their throats, he was using their idol to teach them the truth about God. Paul tried to be all things to all people. Paul wanted to share with the people, Jesus Christ, the hope. He needed to make Jesus known without raising hackles. He studied the situation and prayerfully, God gave him an idea to use what they were already using.
Acts 17:24-26 God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshipped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings.
Athena shared that she is so amazed that the great I AM can help, at the appointed time, and where she is. That HE is involved with individuals, and that knowledge staggers her. God can bless us no matter where we are, and He is not constrained by our stupidity.
Acts 17:27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.
We are not left to forge our own way.
Psalm 139:7-10 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me. And Your right hand shall hold me.
No matter where God has put us, God is in control. Seek Him wherever we are. If you have problems, seek Him. Grope means to touch. In Greek it is 5584 “pselaphao” – which means to handle, touch, feel, seek after a person.
It implies groping blindly, going through the darkness. We’ve got Jesus.
Athena told us that Jacob’s ladder was the unity of the physical and the divine. That God has a design for our lives, before we get an idea in our mind, God placed it there.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
The time for God’s second coming is nearer and nearer.
The book of Acts is about the 12 dispersing to bless more than just the Jews. Acts is our book for this time. It teaches us how to approach unbelievers. Paul made himself available. Paul had faults, he was a human being with weakness and failures. God gave him the strength to be able to open up the Word.
Paul was speaking to various philosophers. Acts 17:18 Then certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered him. And some said, “What does this babbler want to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods,” because he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection.
The Epicureans denied God’s providence and the soul, they dealt with free will and lived hedonistic lifestyles.
The stoics believed in total self control and the absence of passion and emotion – sort of like the buddhists of today.
God is omnipotent, but He will not force us against our wills. If a man is able and willing, God will meet him where he is. If a man is not willing, God will not force himself upon a person.
We did not have to deal with sin until God taught us what was sin or not. We cannot avoid sin through self control and non attachment. Evil happens when our passions control us. If we make a religion out of self, we will self destruct. We need to discuss things to God.
When Paul came, they watched him, examining what he said from their philosophical point of view. The Epicureans sought pleasure – they fed themselves to avoid hunger, and sought warmth to avoid cold. There was nothing in their philosophy about forgiveness or sin.
God will help us with things, and all the saints of God have had problems that God has had to help them with. We need to relax in the knowledge that God is there, and allow God to do the surgery necessary in our hearts and psyches.
Praying your day is blessed!
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