by Jeff Curtis
When Paul was at the Areopagus, he told the people of Athens, “God made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined… the boundaries of their habitation” (Acts 17:26). His statement is like that of Genesis 10:32: “Out of [the descendants of Noah] the nations were separated on the earth.”
Just as all people have a common ancestry, all have common needs. In speaking of this that we have in common, Paul was not thinking of the basic physical needs of food, clothing and shelter. What most concerned Paul is that everyone needs to “seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:27).
All nations need the gospel. Christ commissioned His followers to “go… and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). Every person needs the opportunity to hear the gospel preached and develop faith in Christ, to confess that faith and to repent of sin and be baptized into Christ for forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; Romans 10:8-14). Why? Because one day “all the nations will be gathered” before God for judgment (Matthew 25:32; Revelation 7:9).
All nations need Christ. All have sinned, so people in nation need to be saved from the wages of sin (Romans 3:23; 6:23). God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1Timothy 2:4), and this can happen only in Christ. He Himself said, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). Acts 4:12 reiterates that “there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” Jesus is “the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world” (1John 2:2).
by Heath Rogers
“Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore, you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matt. 24:42-44).
When Jesus told these First Century disciples to “watch,” they understood the urgency. I can’t help but wonder how many of us in this modern world fail to appreciate the admonition to “watch.”
In the Lord’s day, the people did not have security systems or doorbell cameras that sent alerts to their smartphones. They had to watch and make sure no one broke into their home and stole their property. There wasn’t a nightly weather forecast on the local news. People had to watch the sky to see what the day’s weather would be (Luke 12:54-56). Shepherds didn’t have surveillance cameras or satellite GPS monitors to keep track of their flocks. They had to be in the field to protect the sheep and make sure none of them strayed from safety (Luke 2:8).
We are blessed with technology that relieves us of our need to watch these things with urgency, but I wonder if this hasn’t hindered us spiritually? Man will never develop devices that will guard his soul and protect him from spiritual dangers. There is no substitute for Christians watching and being ready by faithfully reading the Scriptures, attending the assemblies, praying unto God, examining themselves, and sharing their faith with others.