Archive for May, 2013

Courage from the Word of the Lord

May 31, 2013

Humans are emotional people as well as rational ones. In the Greek society, they realized that humans could sometimes be persuaded by feelings rather than rational thoughts. Blaise Pascal once stated “the heart has reasons that the mind knows not of”. In those instances, any rational proposition is woefully inept, but their emotions serve as guides.

In most cases, decisions made from the affective domain rather than the cognitive are not sound ones. Emotional decisions can mislead and defraud us. In those instances, a strong appeal from the cognitive or rational is most helpful and a lifeline to the right pathway. Jesus demonstrates this in the life of Paul in Acts 18. As a proclaimer of the Gospel, Paul often faced challenges and danger from those whom the Gospel threatened their position and power. I am sure that you can relate to when your emotions were a perpetual emotional burden that plagued your thoughts and  weighed you down.

As Paul faced similar challenge, he received Courage from the Word of the Lord

Acts 18

One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. 10 For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” 11 So Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.

Imagine how Paul felt. He was accustomed to people getting upset with him proclaiming the Gospel which usually led to those people seeking to hurt and harm him. The very thing that he did before Jesus spoke to him in Acts 9 is the same thing that was happening to him. He was sure that he was in danger. When we are in danger, the single most prominent emotion we feel is fear.

We know that Paul was feeling fear because Jesus told him “do not be afraid”. The most important fact is that Paul received Courage from the Word of the LordNow, that is something to which I am sure we all can relate. We often need courage in the face of fear. It is only the Word of God that can embolden us to forge forward in the face of danger and harm.

The outcome of one receiving Courage from the Word of the Lord is that he/she forges forward down the path that God has sent him/her. We press on in doing God’s will. Once more, we turn to our text to demonstrate that to us. After Jesus spoke to Paul, the Word says, “So Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.” In Acts 9:15, Paul was told that he was Jesus’ chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. Jesus reminded Paul of his commission and mission. Paul heard from Jesus and Courage from the Word of the LordAre you being plagued by your emotions? Get into the Word of God to be emboldened.

Are You Appointed to Eternal Life

May 30, 2013

I am certain that I have written and asked the question Are You Appointed to Eternal LifeIt is a critical and pivotal concept in Christendom, so I am writing about it again as it surfaced in Acts 18. If you have been reading, you know that I have been moving through Acts 18. Consequently, the appointment concept is presented by Jesus to Paul as Paul was going about sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ in Corinth.

First, let’s see other important facts from Acts 18

One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. 10 For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” 11 So Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.

When God gives us a task to accomplish, as He had with Paul, we, like Paul, can work in accomplishing that task without fear. Jesus told Paul not to be afraid of speaking the gospel. Notice, it was the gospel that Jesus told Him to “keep on speaking, do not be silent”. It’s the work that Jesus will protect us for. In reality that is the value we have been assigned by God. We are here to do His work. If we are not doing His work, what value do we have to the Lord Jesus?

Jesus tells Paul, “I am with you”. This is reminiscent of what Jesus told the disciples in the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20. Wherever we see “I am with you” in the bible people accomplished the mission God gave them to do. No harm befell them when He gave them that assurance. Look it up. It’s there, and it is true. Now, Jesus did not tell Paul that people would stop attempting to attack him. He only said that they people’s attacks would not lead to him being harmed in Corinth. The message there is that we will have hardship in accomplishing the work God gave us to do, but God assures us safety and more importantly, success in accomplishing the work He gives us to do.

What is the work God has given believers to do? To play their role in God offering redemption, the forgiveness of sins, to select people. Let me remind you  of what is said in Acts 13:48 – “When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.” The appointed to eternal life is that there are specific people, whom we don’t know, who are chosen by God to have eternal life.  Paul did not know who they were either. He only knew that there were “many people” in the city. There were numerous people whom God had chosen to receive eternal life.

This controversial topic came up last night at church. We can have controversy, but we must go by what the Word says. In reality, God has issued the call to us all. Those who follow Him faithfully are those whom He has chosen. Those who never respond or fall away or those whom He didn’t. I don’t claim to be an expert on the matter only informed and still following Christ after 30 years. While that is true, it is not because of my own prowess or strength. We learn in Zechariah 4:6 “‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’says the Lord Almighty.” We also learn in Philippians 2:13 “for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”

The point here is that when God calls or appoints one to eternal life their calling is sure because He will send someone to proclaim Him to them. The person will not only respond, but will be empowered by the Spirit to continue to “will” (want to) and “act” (to do) in ways that fulfill his good purpose. That purpose is to glorify God in completing the work given to him. This is what Jesus’ life depicts. This is what Paul’s life depicts. Are You Appointed to Eternal Life to assist Christ in bringing people to redemption, the forgiveness of sins? If so, go to work.

 

Next Man Up

May 29, 2013

Recently from the world of sports, a new cliché has entered our lexicon – Next Man Up. We normally see this phrased used when injuries happen to one player. That injury creates an opportunity for another player to have more playing time. While one door seemingly closes for one, another door is opened for another. Most recently during training opportunities, San Francisco 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree tore his Achilles tendon. Just as Coach Jim Harbaugh had done when then quarter back Alex Smith was injured, he now employed the Next Man Up mentality in Crabtree’s injury situations. Next Man Up means somebody is getting an opportunity where there had not been one.

We are back in Acts 18. In the post Your Blood be on Your own Heads!, it was presented that the watchman presents God to people. Paul testifyied to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah, but they rejected that claim.  After they do so, he is released from being accountable to God for not sharing Christ with another.

Next Man Up is essentially what Paul said to the Jews in  Acts 18:-5-6.

When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. But when they opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent of it. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”

The Gentiles were the Next Man Up if you will. Paul did not want to waste anytime in proclaiming the gospel. He knew this was the fulfillment of what God had already told him through Ananias when He said “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel.” in Acts 9.

While God’s plan for the souls of man is not a game, the principles of perseverance in the face of hardship is a similar parallel seen in sports. Next Man Up meant that, for a time, the Jews doors closed on Jesus as Lord and Savior, but it opened for the Gentiles.  God was continuing to reveal His plan to draw all men unto Himself.

Let’s see what happened when Paul moved to the Next Man Up in Acts 18:7-8.

Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. 8 Crispus, the synagogue leader, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard Paul believed and were baptized.

It is in the hearing that people believed. Paul, just as we are, was called to proclaim Christ and him crucified for the forgiveness of sins. We learn from Paul that people will not always want to hear about Jesus, but we also learn that we must move onto the Next Man Up. God has placed people next in line to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Who is the Next Man Up for you? God will lead you to that person if you are willing and listening.

Delivered from the Power of Darkness

May 28, 2013

Last night, I was reviewing the church’s scripture memory verse for the week. The theme of the verse is we are Delivered from the Power of Darkness. When I think of the term delivered or rescued, the primary thought and emotion that comes to mind is relief. I am not sure if you have ever been trapped in or by something before, but it is a disheartening and defeating feeling.

If you think about emotional, financial or relational traps, I am sure that you can relate. As an African-American, another deliverance that I am constantly reminded of is slavery. The vestiges of institution of slavery still remain in a myriad of ways, but the preeminent slavery connection is man’s slavery to sin.

Ephesians 2:1-3

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.

2 Corinthians 4:4-6

The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

Ephesians 5:8-14

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said:

“Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

If you will remember, God used Moses to deliver or rescue the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. Likewise, God used Jesus to deliver man from the power of darkness. That is satan’s rule over our hearts and minds through sin. We see that deliverance in Colossians 1:13-14 as well.

13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. (NKJV)

13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (NIV)

In Colossians 1:13-14, Paul envisions humanity outside of Christ as being helplessly under the “domain of darkness,” the evil rule of Satan. Those who trust in Christ as Lord and Savior are rescued from satan’s control and brought under the dominion and protection of God’s Son.

It is only through Jesus we can be freed from the control and reign of sin in our lives. The verses above outline that for us. It is only Jesus who has Delivered from the Power of Darkness. If you don’t know Jesus as Lord and Savior, you still controlled by the Power of Darkness.  In the words of Joseph Cinque from the movie Amistad: Give us, us free

A Memorial Offering Before God

May 27, 2013

As I got ready for the day on Memorial Day, I was struck by God. He simply asked what memorial would I recognize for Him. I contemplated the matter for a moment. After that, I searched the Word for the word memorial. In the search, my wife and I read through the verses. At the last reference, she said, “that is it!”

It was Acts 10:3-5 which says,

One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!”  Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked. The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter.”

The text was very familiar as I have been posting from scriptures that are in Acts. What God said specifically to me was that I was flawed in my thinking about trying to find some object that I could dedicate to Him as a memorial.

God told me the greatest memorial was for me to read His Word and to pray to Him daily. In doing so, it I would certainly preserve the memory of who He is and what He has done for mankind and me. The greatest memorial is for me to remember God by showing my desire and pursuit of Him by reading the Word and praying.

A Memorial Offering Before God is our hearts and mind. Give them to Him!

Your Blood be on Your own Heads!

May 26, 2013

In the post Many Leaves, One Tree, I focused on partnerships and roles in proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ demonstrated by Paul, Silas and Timothy. The text for that post was  Acts 18:-5-6. It will serve again for our text today. There is a very important principle presented in that text that expresses accountability for one’s soul – Your Blood be on Your own Heads!

When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. But when they opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent of it. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”

The principle, Your Blood be on Your own Heads!, stems from the Watchman responsibility presented originally in Ezekiel. For Ezekiel, being a watchman meant he was responsible for those he ministered to and had to warn them of any impending threat both physical and more importantly spiritual. Failure to issue the warning would make him accountable for any misfortune that resulted. People in a city would not ignore the cry of an ordinary watchman, yet they would not listen to Ezekiel (vv. 67; cf. Is. 22:1–14). In Ezekiel, the responsibility of man’s soul is presented. Accountability first lies with the watchman who is charged to share the truth of God or the call of God with people. If people fail to respond to the call of God, the responsibility or blood lies with them.  This is originally stated in Ezekiel 3 and 33. Like Ezekiel and Paul, we who claim Christ are watchmen.

Ezekiel 3:17-19

17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18 When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.

Both Ezekiel and Paul were faithful in fulfilling their duty as watchmen. They proclaimed God and Christ to those whom they had been given; therefore, they could exclaim Your Blood be on Your own Heads! What about us? Have we been faithful in proclaiming Jesus to those God put us around to have access to share the gospel of Jesus Christ? Have we provided them with the call of God, so that they would not have to die for their sins? If not, their blood will be on our heads. This is serious. We really need to consider the gravity of this responsibility. If we don’t proclaim Christ, we are, in some sense, responsible for their sins. If we do, they are totally responsible for their own sins.

Consider this wisely.

Many Leaves, One Tree

May 25, 2013

Last night, I took my kids and one of my daughter’s best friends to the movie. We went to see EPIC. It has a pretty good storyline. The film is based on William Joyce’s children’s book The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs. “Epic” tells the story of an ongoing battle deep in the forest between the forces of good and the forces of evil. When a teen age girl finds herself magically transported into this secret universe, she must band together with a rag-tag team of fun and whimsical characters in order to save their world… and ours.

The antagonist, Mandrake, of the story attempts to destroy the forest by killing various plants and trees. He and his minions are in pursuit of the pod which Tara, the queen who died, passed on her queenship to a plant pod. If the pod is exposed to the moonlight, the life of the forest will continue. If Mandrake is successful, the forest will die. General Ronin and Nod, his reluctant and rebellious understudy, work again Mandrake in order to save the pod and thus the forest.

During the movie, Nod walks away and quits from working with the Leaf Men who are charged of caring for the queen and the pod. The sole impetus for the title of this post is a phrase stated by General Ronin, Many Leaves, One Tree. The basic meaning of the statement that there are many leaves on a tree. They are all different, but they are all connected and make one tree. I took that there are different roles that we all play in life, but our roles are connected leading to one purpose. That statement is reflective of a spiritual principle set forth in Romans 12:3-5.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

We see this same principle fleshed out in Acts 18:-5-6.

When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. But when they opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent of it. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”

Remember Paul had left Berea and gone on to Athens where he had met Aquila and Priscilla. Then Paul’s fellow servants, Silas and Timothy, in the gospel joined him. At that point, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching and testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah and the Gentiles. Paul had a keen understanding of order and roles. We know that he almost assuredly learned of that from the model set forth in Acts 6 where the basis for deacons was established.

The entire point is that we all have roles, but our roles are coordinated and must work cohesively in order for the purpose to be achieved. We are Many Leaves, One Tree.  Where do you fit in? Do you consistently complain about your role? Are you not satisfied with the lot that God has given you for this time in your life? Do not come unglued for the sake of your personal desire to be or have more. We all will be rewarded by the Father for serving in our role.

More than a Chance Encounter

May 23, 2013

Throughout our lives, we meet people that we never knew almost daily. In some instances, we may have seen the person many times at the office, riding the bus, in the building or at any other venue where you normally visited. There are other times where you may have never been to that place or never seen that person, but you meet. Why? As God gave to me, I am giving to you. When you do meet someone whether easily recognized or you have never seen them at all, it is More than a Chance Encounter.

As I sat and read Acts 18, I was immediately struck by the first few verses. The Word seemed to be screaming at me that every word, every detail was important. That is true, but as I transitioned to another room in the house, God gave me the title for today’s post and reminded me of an incident at school yesterday that was More than a Chance Encounter. There was a young man whom I know, but we had never really had a conversation beyond an investigation I conducted months ago. For the past couple of  weeks, this young man just started speaking to me. I admit, my spidy senses had not gone off. Kids speak to me everyday, so it did not seem out of the ordinary, but it was. Maybe, I have just been missing out on what God is doing through More than a Chance Encounter.

Well, yesterday as we approached the last hours of the day, he walked up to me and said, “Mr. Franklin, what’s the 411?” Much to my delight, the first thing I said was Jesus. He looked at me strangely. I told him this might be the last time that I see him, that I might die tonight, so I wanted to tell him what really mattered. I went on to tell him that Jesus died for our sins, and as such, He could forgive us for the wrong we have done freeing us from the consequences of our sins. Then I exclaimed to him, “I am free!” are you? There were two other kids there that heard it and another adult. There is no happy ending to the story such as he desired to know more and gave his life to Jesus. That’s more about me than about Jesus. I just know that God will use that encounter for His glory.

That was More than a Chance Encounter, and I will tell him that if I make it to work and he to school. It was clear that it was the Spirit of God who reacted with the words “Jesus” when I was asked the 411. The inspiration for this reflection was the first four verses of Acts 18. In Acts 18, someone was looking to Paul for the 411. Note: For those of you reading this outside of the U.S., 411 is the number we dial to get information about a topic of interest. In the vernacular, it is another way to ask what’s going on. Here are those first few verses.

After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them.Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.

Acts 18 chronicles additional examples of how the gospel of Jesus Christ began to be spread especially as it relates to how God used Paul. God is fulfilling His promise Jesus made in Acts 1:8 which says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Look at all the seemingly circumstantial things that happened in those first few verses:

1. Paul leave Athens and travels to Corinth
2. He met a Jew named Aquila
3. A native of Pontus
4. Aquila and his wife, Priscilla, had recently moved from Italy
5. Their move was necessitated only by Claudius ordering all Jews to leave Rome
6. Both Paul, Aquila and Priscilla were tentmakers
7. Paul lived and worked with them
8. Paul reasoned, preached Christ, in the synagogue every Sabbath trying to persuade Jews and Greeks

Providentially, God coordinated their lives through all those events. We are not told why Paul, Aquila and Priscilla chose to go to Corinth at the same time, but they are there are the same time. They meet in More than a Chance Encounter. Lord willing, tomorrow, we will see how God uses Aquila and Priscilla as a result of being acquainted with Paul.

Today, I want you to realize that God will allow you to meet someone in More than a Chance Encounter. Use it for the glory of God by thinking like Jesus, acting like Jesus and talking like Jesus. Life will be so fulfilling if we do.

May 20, 2013

I am going to be brief today, but that does not mean that topic de jour is of little consequence. After reflecting over the end of Acts 17, I wanted to present peoples’ reaction to the Resurrection. Some sneered, others wanted to hear again while others became followers of Paul and believed. In Christendom, Resurrection receives a great deal of attention around Easter each year. I don’t hear a lot of sermons, talks or even conversations about Resurrection over the course of the calendar year. Despite that, it is truly essential to the Christian faith. While the desire for resurrection is not unique to the Christian faith, Resurrection to live with God for all eternity is exclusive.

How can I say that? Because that’s what Jesus said. He makes an exclusive claim to the Resurrection unto life. We learn more about the Resurrection in John 11 where Jesus was talking to Martha about her brother, Lazarus, who had died. Martha was telling Jesus that if He had been there her brother would not have died. Jesus tells her you will see him again. She says, I know at the Jesus said to her ” “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

In the spiritual sense, the bible teaches that without Christ as one’s Savior and Lord that person is dead in your transgressions and sins. One who sins is spiritually dead. Since all of us sins, all of us are or were at one point dead spiritually. Isaiah 59:2 says, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God;
your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” That is the spiritual death – being separated from God. The bible also teaches that it is only Christ who makes you alive. There will be two resurrections – one of the living and one of the dead. Luke 14:14 talks about a Resurrection of the just or righteous. If there will be a resurrection of the just, there will also be a resurrection of the unjust.

Who are the just/righteous? Jesus gave us the answer in speaking with Martha in John 11. The just/righteous are those who believe in Him. Jesus said those who believe in him will live even though they die and whoever lives by believing in Him will never die. Jesus used the paradox of life and death in terms of the physical and spiritual death. Clearly with Lazarus’ death as well as His own, Jesus knew that people would die, but it was the physical. In terms of the spiritual, that is Jesus’ claim – that those who believes in Him would never die – that is would never be separated from God.

I am celebrating my Resurrection today. No matter what happens to me today, God, by my faith in Jesus as the Son of God and the Savior of the world, has assured me that I will not die even though I die. Hallelujah. I can’t lose.

Ignorance of the Law is No Excuse

May 19, 2013

According to reason.comIgnorance of the Law is No Excuse is the standard line motorists hear when they say they weren’t aware of the speed limit, or gun owners hear when they say didn’t know about the gun laws in the jurisdiction they happened to get arrested in. Yet that ignorance is pretty understandable in an America where just about everything is being criminalized. At the federal level alone there are now more than 4,500 separate crimes, and that’s not counting the massive regulatory code, violations of which also can sometimes be punished with criminal charges. Ignorance of the Law is No Excuse is a legal principle holding that a person who is unaware of a law may not escape liability for violating that law merely because he or she was unaware of its content. While there are a few exceptions in our country, those exceptions do not exist with God any longer.

Let’s listen to what God had to say to the Athenians through Paul in Acts 17. Remember in this portion of the text, Paul is addressing them about idol worship as opposed to the true worship of the triune God.

29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”

32 When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.” 33 At that, Paul left the Council. 34 Some of the people became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others.

In the past when people worshiped graven images, God conveys that He overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands people everywhere to repent. The command or direction according to His authority is for us to repent. What does it mean to repent? Typically in our world, people consider repentance as something for which you feel sorrow. Feeling sorrow has never changed anything. It’s just a feeling which ultimately dissipate. On the other hand, we learn from 2 Corinthians 7 that “10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 11 See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done.” Repentance here is from the word metanoia which means a change of mind, as it appears to one who repents, of a purpose he has formed or of something he has done. In Acts 17:30 the word is metanoeō which means to 1) to change one’s mind, i.e. to repent 2) to change one’s mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins.

The essence of what Paul is telling the Athenians is that the true God, Jehovah, is providing man, through Jesus Christ, the opportunity to repent. Man has the opportunity to have a change of mind and purpose. The change of purpose is from serving self to serving Christ who died for you and was raised again. His resurrection is the authenticating evidence or proof that God is calling man to repent of serving idols whether of graven images or not. Anyone or anything other than the triune God is idol worship from which is there is no escape of justice from the one man whom he will judge the world. That man is Jesus. This is the same Jesus who said in John 3

17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God… 31 The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 33 Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful.34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life,but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

Just as the policeman who pulls you over for breaking the speed limit may say Ignorance of the Law is No Excuse, the one and only judge will tell us the same thing if we fail to repent. Today, you have the choice to change your mind and change your purpose of living. The change can reflect God’s purpose rather than your purposes. The choice is yours just remember Ignorance of the Law is No Excuse.