Acts 17:15-18, Acts 17:19-23, Acts 17:24-34, Colossians 3:5, Ecclesiastes 1:9-11, Ephesians 4:15-16, Have You Heard The Latest?, Hebrews 13:8, Jesus Is Truth, John 3:14-21, Nothing New Under The Sun, Salvation, Truth
Bible Ballistics: Vol. 13 No. 17 Have You Heard The Latest??? (Or There Is Nothing New Under The Sun!)
Things seem to always be abuzz with the “latest”—the latest gossip; the latest technology; the latest movie, song or book. The list could go on and on, but my point is when we really think about it, there is nothing new. My husband found a couple of (new to him) series on one of the family friendly streaming services, and it’s amazing to find that no matter which one we may be watching they are all basically the same—people interacting with other people; and while the specific plot may change from program to program, the issues are the same—the good-vs-the ever; the lies versus the truth; morality (which is pretty non-moral these days) versus immorality (which is becoming more and more accepted by very subtle means of making it popular, convenient, and a speedy solution to whatever crisis may be at hand).
It grieves my heart to know that most in our culture have adopted their morality, lifestyle and perspective from the media—national, social, movies, music and sadly, often the educational establishment (although I am so thankful for the godly teachers on every level who share the truth of the Gospel in their realm of influence). Yet this isn’t a new issue, but a very old one, as Solomon reminds us!
“The thing that hath been,
it is that which shall be;
and that which is done
is that which shall be done:
and there is no new thing
under the sun.
10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said,
this is new?
it hath been already of old time,
which was before us.
11 There is no remembrance
of former things;
neither shall there be any remembrance
of things that are to come
with those that shall come after.” Ecclesiastes 1:9-11
Solomon reminds us that “there is no new thing under the sun”, for that which has been will be again; but the thing that struck me as I was posting this passage, is the last part of verse 11, “neither shall there be any remembrance”! What a true observation; we are a very short-sighted people, and we don’t remember from one election to another, the lies that we heard and the promises that turned into lies! We forget to hold those accountable who pursue the responsibility of power, authority and prominence. Yet the saddest thing of all, to me, is that we have forgotten God’s Word and His ways most of all! We have been so deceived by the enemy that we no longer regard truth as “truth”! We have come to accept perversion as normal; lies as necessities of business; moral turpitude as diversity; and murder as choice!
But this is not new—although it is a change for most of us who grew up in a different America—for there is nothing new “under the sun” or in God’s eyes! Paul encountered a culture of similar “open-mindedness” as that which we face today. His message was as true then as it is now—and the pivotal issue for Paul was the same as it is for us today—the cross of Jesus Christ and the resurrection through which Jesus triumphed over sin, death and hell. But for most today, there is no such thing as sin, death has no consequence, and Hell is simply a by-word!
“And they that conducted Paul
brought him unto Athens:
and receiving a commandment
unto Silas and Timotheus
for to come to him with all speed,
16 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens,
his spirit was stirred in him,
when he saw the city
wholly given to idolatry.
17 Therefore disputed he in the synagogue
with the Jews,
and with the devout persons,
and in the market daily
with them that met with him.
18 Then certain philosophers
of the Epicureans,
and of the Stoicks,
And some said,
What will this babbler say?
He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods:
because he preached unto them Jesus,
and the resurrection.” Acts 17:15-18
Paul’s heart was grieved as he encountered a culture totally steeped in idolatry; which Paul later equated with covetousness and greed in his letter to the Colossian church:
“Mortify therefore your members
which are upon the earth;
which is idolatry:” Colossians 3:5
Paul understood what Jesus had taught, that what is in the heart will come out in our choices—and when greed, self, and lust fill our heart, they will come out in immoral, wicked and idolatrous behavior. And like the Greeks, we need to hear the same message that Paul shared with the people of Athens; a culture of great sophistication, and wealth; but a culture also steeped in the throes of immorality and idolatry. The conversation was fine until Paul clearly presented the Gospel of Jesus Christ—crucified, buried and risen for the salvation of sinners!
“And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying,
May we know what this new doctrine,
whereof thou speakest,
20 For thou bringest certain strange things
to our ears:
we would know therefore what these things mean.
21 (For all the Athenians and strangers
which were there
spent their time in nothing else,
but either to tell,
or to hear
some new thing.)
22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said,
Ye men of Athens,
I perceive that in all things
ye are too superstitious.
23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions,
I found an altar with this inscription,
TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.
ye ignorantly worship,
him declare I unto you.” Acts 17:19-23
Paul was willing to speak the truth to any who would hear, which reminds us that, like much of our culture, the Athenians simply wanted to hear or tell “some new thing”! Yet Paul wanted to share with them the ‘ultimate’ new thing—all the while sharing with them the “Old, Old Story” of Jesus—the Good News! And he continued his message.
“God that made the world and all things therein,
seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth,
dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands,
as though he needed any thing,
seeing he giveth to all
and all things;
26 And hath made of one blood
all nations of men
for to dwell on all the face of the earth,
and hath determined the times
and the bounds of their habitation;
27 That they should seek the Lord,
if haply they might feel after him,
and find him,
though he be not far
from every one of us:
28 For in him we live,
and have our being;
as certain also of your own poets
For we are also his offspring.
29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God,
we ought not to think that the Godhead
is like unto gold,
graven by art
and man’s device.
30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at;
but now commandeth
31 Because he hath appointed a day,
in the which he will judge the world
by that man
whom he hath ordained;
whereof he hath given assurance
unto all men,
in that he hath raised him
from the dead.
32 And when they heard of the resurrection
of the dead,
and others said,
We will hear thee again
of this matter.” Acts 17:24-32
The Athenians were with Paul until he spoke of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead; then they were skeptical and mocked. Yet there were those who wanted to hear more. Our job is to share the Gospel, not to force people to believe. Like Jesus, Paul didn’t try to force anything on them, and if you go back and check, you’ll find that Jesus never explained Himself (except to those who asked for more understanding in sincerity, like the disciples who often didn’t get it!) or chased after anyone who walked away. Paul did likewise.
“So Paul departed from among them.” Acts 17:33
Trust God and remember that there are those who will respond, and we can help them when they do!
“Howbeit certain men clave unto him,
among the which was Dionysius
and a woman named Damaris,
and others with them.” Acts 17:34
We are called to be faithful witnesses, to share with those whom God places in our path; even speaking HIS truth in all things; knowing that as we do, God will be glorified, we will grow, and the body of Christ (the church) will be strengthened.
“But speaking the truth in love,
may grow up into him
in all things,
which is the head,
16 From whom the whole body
fitly joined together
by that which every joint supplieth,
according to the
in the measure
of every part,
maketh increase of the body
unto the edifying of itself
in love.” Ephesians 4:15-16
So, my friends, we must remember, “there is no new thing under the sun”—and that our God is ever in charge! He is the sovereign God of all. He gave HIS own Son to die for our salvation—the ONE way to know God and have abundant life! It’s all about Him! Have you heard the latest? Have you read HIS Word!!! It never changes (neither have the rules!)!
the same yesterday,
and to day,
and for ever.” Hebrews 13:8
Jesus came for YOU and me! Will you hear and receive the Good News, and walk in its truth? The choice is yours, but remember, choose wisely—there is a test coming! So, I’d simply like to close with one of the most beautiful and concise pictures of The Good News! He loved you then—He loves you now, but you must choose!
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,
even so must the Son of man
be lifted up:
15 That whosoever believeth in him
should not perish,
but have eternal life.
16 For God so loved the world,
that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him
should not perish,
but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son
into the world
to condemn the world;
but that the world
might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him
is not condemned:
but he that believeth not
is condemned already,
because he hath not believed
in the name
of the only begotten Son of God.
19 And this is the condemnation,
that light is come into the world,
and men loved darkness
rather than light,
because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one that doeth evil
hateth the light,
neither cometh to the light,
lest his deeds should be reproved.
21 But he that doeth truth
cometh to the light,
that his deeds may be made manifest,
that they are wrought in God.” John 3:14-21 Amen!