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22 So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28 for  “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said,” ‘For we are indeed his offspring.’ 29 Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. 30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

 

Paul passionately opposed Jesus until the Lord confronted him on the road to Damascus. The zeal from his 180 degree turn around energized other followers to take the gospel to all corners of the known world. Israel was first surrounded by Baal worshippers, and Syrian statues but when Jesus came the Greeks and the Romans added their manmade gods to the mix.  Paul addressed eager listeners about them on the Areopagus. Acts 17 mentions many who followed Jesus, including Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris. These new followers were not just joining a church, they were following the teacher and becoming his disciples.

From the Old Testaments series in 1 Samuel 14, Jonathan followed God into battle.  Jonathan didn’t just believe in the one true God of heaven, he made a commitment and chose to live for him. He embraced a way of life contrary to the idol worshipping peoples and nations around him. Jonathan took the risk, followed the leading of his God in his heart and made a difference in the lives of his countrymen.  He even risked following God instead of the King, his father.  Many more examples of dedication and determination of Christ’s followers could be cited – even in spite of danger and risk. Nothing could stop Jesus’ committed followers from boldly proclaiming the good news.

How are you at becoming a disciple?  It doesn’t mean just signing a dotted line or coming to a building once a week.  It doesn’t mean just believing in God and becoming a convert.  It means accepting the forgiveness he offers for dying for your sins, leaving your guilt and shame, and becoming a new creature with a new heart to follow him.  It means living a life imitating the teacher, committing yourself to his teaching, and following him wherever he leads.  Many followers, groups, and churches have written prayers, statements of faith, songs and pledges boldly proclaiming their devotion to God.  Today write your own personal pledge of following Jesus in faith, love and obedience.

 

Lift up your heads, O gates!
    And be lifted up, O ancient doors,
    that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
    The Lord, strong and mighty,
    the Lord, mighty in battle!
Lift up your heads, O gates!
    And lift them up, O ancient doors,
    that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
    The Lord of hosts,
    he is the King of glory! 
-Psalm 24:7-10    

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By Donna Burns  

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