Keep building bridges
Acts 17:25 “And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.”
Having got the Epicureans on his side by commencing his presentation with God the creator, Paul now reaches out to the Stoics. They believed that each of us are our own gods and we are connected to one another by a shared divine life.
Paul says God is the creator but also the sustainer of life. He does not need sustaining. He does not need some supply from us. It is us who depend on God. He does not depend on us. He gives all men life and breath … The Stoics are nodding their heads because it is akin to their belief.
Paul addressing these 2 groups of people is saying, “the God I worship is what your doctrines speak of.” Now he could only do this if he knew their faiths. He will point out the difference but first he builds the bridge that is needed.
So let me summarise Paul’s approach:
1. I know what you believe.
2. I am not going to start with what you do not know or what you do not believe in. I will find common ground. Whether that be in the God of creation or a God who sustains man by being in man.
This is still good advice for our gospel approach today.