The Unknown God!

Scripture reading for November 12th: Acts 16-18

At Berea, Paul had found a group of believers who eagerly received the message of Jesus Christ and searched the Scriptures to check out what he was preaching.  Both Jews and Greeks, men and women believed.  (Acts 17:10-15)  Jealous Jews came from Thessalonica and stirred up the crowds against the missionaries, and the brothers in the church there sent Paul to Athens.  Silas and Timothy stayed behind to minister.

Any good missionary begins to evaluate new territory, and Paul was no different in Athens, Greece.  It was a city full of idols and Paul found a synagogue of Jews and God-fearing Greeks and began to preach Christ and the resurrection.   He also preached in the marketplace to all who would listen.  A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers heard him and invited him to the Areopagus for a meeting.  The Areopagus was a gathering place for intellectuals who loved to discuss new ideas and philosophy. They asked this missionary to share his new ideas with the crowd gathered there–a preacher’s dream!

“Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious.  For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.  Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.” (Acts 17:22b-23)   Paul observed that this people were very religious.  As they were trying to cover all bases so as to be somehow right, the Holy Spirit gave Paul a clever way to help them.  He proclaimed that this “unknown God” was really the creator of the heavens and earth.  He told them that this God had created all of mankind from one man and determined where they should live and how long they would be there.  This God wanted men to seek and find Him and He, in fact, was near to them.  They were His “offspring”!  (Acts 17:24-28)

God was not an idol made of gold, silver or stone.  He commanded all men to repent of such ignorance or stand judgment.  This God had set a day when He would judge all men by the one He raised from the dead, Jesus!  The mention of “resurrection” caused some to sneer, others to ponder, but some believed!  The Gospel had the power to save these intellectuals!  Praise the Living God!

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