For this week, the Jesus Chick has been the Ridgeview Publisher for a greater portion, spending 3 of the 5 days of the work week, (although I technically work seven); but these days I spent in the Circuit Court of Calhoun. Listening as the justice system worked as best it could in a broken world. Judge Anita Harold Ashley rules over the Court of Calhoun and I do not envy her job. Nor that of anyone else in that courtroom. I do love to watch the cases and trials play out. I love reporting on them and allowing the community to know the facts. I love the same about the Word of God. Not the facts as Shari sees them, but the facts of the Word, in black and white, allowing them to speak for themselves. But to study the Word requires a little more in-depth reading, finding trustworthy resources and listening to the Spirit for guidance.

My thoughts this morning began on scripture referring to a group of disciples from Acts 17:6 KJVS – …have turned the world upside down are come hither also;

Should that not be the goal of every Christian “to turn the world upside down” for the cause of Christ. And so they did. But as I read on in Chapter 17, I came to Paul’s Preaching on Mars Hill; immediately my mind went to the fall of the Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington. A church no doubt named from this event in scripture. I’m not familiar enough with the church to stand in judgement, I only know that great was the fall of it. I don’t know the facts as would have been presented in the cases in court last week, but I know this; the bigger the church, the bigger the influence, but not necessarily for the cause of Christ.

Mars Hill began as a home church, by Pastor Mark Driscoll. I don’t know their doctrine, but I have no doubt the original group began with a good heart and without thought of what would transpire down the road. At some point the power within the body of that church must have stopped allowing the Spirit to guide and began guiding and judging for themselves.

There is but One Judge

Paul addresses the men of Athens and calls them not only superstitious but ignorant. Prior to salvation Paul had been in a position of judging men as one of the highest Jewish leaders. But now Paul did not stand in judgment as a Jewish leader but as a new creature in Christ. Having received the truth of God on the road to Damascus in Chapter 9 of this book. His wisdom came from both his knowledge of the Word of God and the revealing of wisdom through the Spirit of God. And now he stood before men who were clueless to either.

Acts 17:22-34

[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. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. [24] 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 life, and breath, and all things;

Paul was speaking to the men of Athens in Areopagus, in the midst of that court of judicature, amidst the Areopagites, the judges of that court, and the wise and learned philosophers of the different sects that were assembled together. They considered themselves more religious because they worshipped more gods. Even touting one that was unknown and building an idol to it. But Paul tells them who this God is and allows them to judge the facts for themselves. He is unwavering on the fact that there is only One capitol “G” God.

This is the problem with America (one of many) is that we have allowed too many religious people to influence the church, rather than the church influencing the religious. The Church has not stood its ground but rather allowed the world to infiltrate the church to the point that God is unrecognizable as Who He actually is. The nature of God does not debate. God speaks in facts. That’s one of the things I love about Judge Ashley, is her confidence. Have I always agreed with her. No. But that’s because we live in a broken world. And it’s not my call it’s hers that matters. In my life I’ve had virtually no confidence to speak of. Except when it comes to Christ. Because the word of God has not ever been up for debate. Men may lie, but there is none that can truthfully dispute anything in it. I still have no confidence in me, but I have the utmost in the Highest!

There are but Two Types of Men

The saved and the unsaved.

[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 before appointed, 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 move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, 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, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. [30] And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

From the beginning of time there has been one plan, for all men to belong to God. But He gave them free choice as to whether or not they were His. At first salvation came through Israel, and then the law of Israel. But Israel’s continual rebellion allowed for Gentile grace and there was a new way and a new opportunity, but no change in God. It all revolved around the fact that He is Holy and He cannot be approached without the blood. While the Jewish law allowed for blood sacrifice in the temple, those days are long gone. The temple sacrifice was replaced once and for all, for both Jew and Gentile, with the blood of Jesus. So there is now one nation of men in God’s eyes who have all been given the choice of salvation.

There will come a day when God’s attention turns back to the Jews and the Gentiles will be called out of this earth in the Rapture.

Judgment will Come

[31] Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness 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, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter. [33] So Paul departed from among them. [34] Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

Just as it was in the days that Paul stood in Mars Hill there are still those who mock and those who cleave. But what I found fascinating about those that cleaved were the two that Paul mentioned by name. Dionysius and Damaris. The only place you’ll find their names mentioned in scripture. But through the study of others much wiser than me, I discovered that the first, Dionysius the Areopagite was a judge in the court of Areopagus. The business of this court was not only to try causes of murder, which seems to have been the original business of it; but by these judges the rights of the city were preserved and defended, war was proclaimed, and all law suits adjusted and decided; and they made it their business to look after idle and slothful persons, and inquire how they lived: they always heard and judged causes in the night, in the dark, because they would only know facts, and not persons, lest they should be influenced by their afflictions, and be led wrong; they were very famous in other nations for their wisdom and skill, and for their gravity and strict justice.

The words of Julian the emperor said, “let an Areopagite be judge, and we will not be afraid of the judgment.’

That is confidence! This was from their confidence in the truth of that court. Would to God there were more Christians of such trustworthiness. But the point of this is, Dionysius trusted ONLY in the truth. And it was he that cleaved to the ministry of Paul, because Paul too was a man of truth, and most of all the Word of God is nothing but truth.

And then there was Damaris. A woman that must have been of notable and noble character to have been mentioned in the Word of God. It says nothing of her life, only her name. While there was speculation about who she was it was only speculation and no fact. So I rendered no truth from it. But what I do render as truth is God knows her name. And that I’ll meet her one day in eternity and I can ask her then perhaps, what her role in this story was. But for now I am satisfied with the knowledge that whether or not the world sees her as someone, God does. And that’s all that matters is His judgment.

So the question is, where do you stand this morning? Are you confident in your salvation? If not, let’s chat.

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