The Berean Expositor
Volume 44 - Page 149 of 247
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The Plan of God.
(Being a series of studies in the Scriptures, made for broadcasting in America.
They have the beginner and even the unbeliever in mind,
and are an attempt to present the Truth of the Scriptures in the simplest possible way.)
pp. 15 - 18
We have considered the wise practice of the believers at Berea in checking with the
O.T. all they heard put forward as truth. We can scarcely over-estimate the importance of
this. Truth then becomes first-hand, not second-hand, and the possibility of error is
greatly reduced.
Now we are going to take bigger steps, otherwise we shall not reach our goal. You
will find that in chapter 17: the Apostle, in his travels, comes to Athens. Now Athens
was the centre of the world's wisdom; there resided the great minds, the philosophers,
the deep thinkers. We can read their writings today, and we see what great intellects
these men had! Yet, strange to say, as he came to the centre of the world's learning, we
are told that "his spirit was stirred within him" (verse 16). Why? "When he saw the city
wholly given to idolatry". What a commentary on the human mind! You see what sin
has done? It has so spoiled man's thinking, that when he comes to the things of God, he
is just floundering helplessly in a deep ocean. This cleverness of intellect did not save
these men from being idolators, worshipping images of stone and wood. How it stirred
up this man who had the Spirit of Christ!
You will notice that, as his habit was, he goes straight to the Jew first (verse 17). We
have seen why, because in the great plan of God for world blessing and enlightenment,
they are to be the Divine Channel as stated in Gen. 12: One thing we should note is that
the Apostle does not quote the O.T. Scriptures, as he usually does. Why? He was
dealing with people who had no special regard for them. So he finds his point of contact
in something one of their own poets wrote (verse 28), "for certain of your own poets have
said, We also are his off-spring", and he made this statement the centre of his address.
He said, in effect, "if that is true, surely we should not be so foolish as to make images of
the Godhead and worship them!" Then he is able to bring in the great message of the
Gospel. He commands all men (verse 30) everywhere to repent.
After this he moves on to Corinth. Corinth was a well-known port and centre of much
business and it had a very bad reputation. It was a sink of iniquity. Even the ordinary
pagan writers at this time spoke of the sin of Corinth. To "act the Corinthian" was to sink
low indeed. One would hardly think that the grace of God could make any headway in a
place like Corinth, but it did, showing that God's grace can save even the very worst of
sinners! Paul comes to this place, and in just the same way, goes to the Jew first (vs. 4):
"He reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks
(end of verse 5) that Jesus was the Christ". The word "Christ" is simply the Greek
equivalent of the Hebrew "Messiah". He is seeking to convince these Jews that the Lord