Monday, January 24, 2011


In Acts 17:15-34, the Apostle Paul, having been run out of Thessalonica and then out of Berea, was escorted by the brethren to Athens. While he was waiting for Silas and Timothy to join him, he observed the wide-spread idolatry of the Athenians (v. 15-16). Apparently even the Jews had been guilty of such blasphemy, because Paul disputed with them in the Synagogue (v. 16-17). His greatest opposition came from the Epicurean Philosophers and the Stoics in the marketplace (v. 18). Their response to Paul's preaching of Jesus and His resurrection, babbling to some and a curiosity to others, caused them to take Paul to the Areopagus, or Mars' Hill, which in classical times functioned as the high Court of Appeal for criminal and civil cases (v. 19).

Noting that the Athenians were "superstitious" and so desirous to "cover all their bases," even worshipping "an extra god" just in case they missed one in their pantheon of deities, Paul told them he would reveal the identity of their "unknown god" (v. 22-23). He said that God, the God Who created the world, is the Lord over heaven and the earth and did not dwell in temples, but was the One Who gives life and breath to all things (v. 24-25). He told them that God, while fully in control of all nations, made only one race: the human race (v. 26). He said that God did not have to remain unknown to them; they simply needed to seek Him, because "He be not far from everyone of us" (v. 27).

Paul then explains that God is not made out of gold, silver, stone, or any other material thing, but that He is like His offspring (v. 28-29). They needed to repent (turn from idol-worship and to God), because they are going to be judged by Jesus, Whom God raised from the dead as proof (v. 30-31). I find it very strange that Paul didn't specifically say that there is only one God, and all of their gods were nothing more than idols made by human hands, but it is definitely implied (v. 29). It is also strange that they objected more to his preaching the resurrection, than they did his calling all their gods idols.

Today, man has many idols. We even have a program on television called "American Idol." We make idols out of sports stars, movie stars, politicians, scientists, great preachers, etc., but the most worshiped idol of all is ourselves. We want our "fifteen minutes of fame." We want to be appreciated, We want to be liked and included. It is all about us. We are not the Unknown God, but we want all the things that rightly belong to Him: praise, admiration, power, authority. We want to be the center of our universe.

If you do not know God, it isn't His fault. He gave His Son for you. He had his followers write down all that He wanted us to know about Him in the Bible. The Spirit has tugged at your heart over and over again. Christians have preached, testified, and demonstrated Christ-likeness so that you would glorify Him (Matt. 5:16). There has never been a time in history when mankind has had more access to God's revelation of Himself than in this day of computers, television, and radio. And yet to most of the world, He is still the Unknown God. What an awful shame!

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