The Unknown God - Acts 17

The Unknown God

Acts 17:1-34

The Areopagus, more commonly known as Mars Hill, was the intellectual center of ancient Greece.   In Athens it was surrounded by pagan temples and the whole city was full of idols.  While Jews requested a sign, Greeks sought wisdom.  Mars Hill was the gathering place of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers, and others who were constantly itching to hear some new doctrine.

When the philosophers first met Paul, he was preaching "Jesus and the resurrection."  Some thought that he was "a proclaimer of foreign gods."  Others looked on him as a "babbler," or "seed picker," somebody who made a living picking up scraps.  They wanted to know more, so they invited him to speak at Mars Hill.

"Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, 'Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.  Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you."  Acts 17:22, 23.  The apostle was going to make known the unknown God.

First, God is Creator.  He made the material world and everything in it.  He doesn't dwell in temples made by men, as He is Lord of heaven and earth.  Life and breath come from Him.  The NIV says, "From one man He made every nation of men."  Acts 17:26.  We could not exist apart from Him.  "For in Him we live and move and have our being."  Acts 17:28.

Second, God is Commander-in-chief.  He has overlooked the ignorance of men, who have made their idols of gold or silver or stone, "but now commands all men everywhere to repent."  Believing that we are part of His creation, we realize that we are responsible to Him.  The command to all men everywhere is repent!

Third, God is Judge.  He has not only determined the time and place where men would dwell on the earth.  "He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man (Christ Jesus) whom He has ordained."  We know that this will be the case, because "He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead."  Acts 17:31.

Resurrection of the dead?  Jesus rose again from the dead?  "Some mocked, while others said, 'We will hear you again on this matter.'"  That never happened.  As far as we know, when Paul left Mars Hill he never returned.  "However, some men joined him and believed, among them Dionysius the Areopagite, a woman named Damaris, and others with them."  The unknown God has been made known by Jesus Christ.

 

O God, we bow before You as our Creator and Commander-in-chief.  Thank You for revealing Yourself to us.  Help us as share the message of Jesus and the resurrection.  In His name.  Amen!

 

Crispus and Sosthenes - Acts 18 

 
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