God is near
Acts 17:26 “From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.”
Paul’s sermon is carefully crafted to the Epicurean and Stoic listeners. He knew their beliefs and he knew how to present the gospel.
God is the creator and God is the sustainer of what He has created. Both groups were in line with that and would agree. This was good bridge building. Having focused on what they know, Paul ventures into what they do not know.
God is the ruler of all nations. He is not responsible for the terrorism and aggression of certain nations, yet both the history and geography of that nation is under His control. Paul is saying: God created and God sustains and more than this, God is involved.
The Epicureans held to an impersonal view of the gods and the Stoics were known for their fatalism. Now they are hearing that from the creation of the world through Adam, God is indeed personal. The worshippers of Athens gathered at the feet of a plethora of gods and goddesses, but they could never know or be known by them. Paul says, “Your Unknown God can be known!”
Let us not underestimate the impact of this.
The Epicureans and the Stoics are not dead today. You will possibly talk with them in your everyday life. The people who may believe in a God but if He is there is far away from their everyday life and people who feel powerless to do anything about life and they cannot alter anything even if they had the power to do so. The gospel is that God is near. He is involved. Paul will continue with this message. So must we.