As tragic as the current monetary crisis is in the country of Greece, it pales in comparison to the tragic state of affairs the Apostle Paul found in Athens in Acts 17. Instead of finding a country on the brink of anarchy and bankruptcy, Paul found a group of people who spent all their time hearing and speaking of something new. They built an altar for every new god they invented, including one to “The Unknown God”.
The Apostle Paul seized upon the opportunity to share the truth regarding this “unknown god” , and I believe it would be wise for us to understand what Paul taught, for it was the first time his words were directed at a group made up of Gentiles only. Please look at Paul’s short “sermon” as recorded in Acts 17:24-31:
“God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands ;
Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things ;
And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation ;
That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us :
For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring .
Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device .
And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent :
Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead .”
What are the key things to take note of here?
1. God does NOT dwell in temples made with hands
2. God is NOT worshipped with men’s hands
3. God does NOT need anything because He gave life and breath to all things
4. All men on earth are of ONE BLOOD
5. God has determined the times before appointed and the bounds of their habitation
6. God did all this so they would seek the Lord, feel after Him, and find Him
7. In God we LIVE and MOVE and HAVE OUR BEING
8. We are God’s offspring
9. The Godhead is not like unto gold, silver, or stone graven by art etc
10. The times of this ignorance God winked out but now commands all men to REPENT
11. God has appointed a day when He will judge the world in righteousness
12. God has raised Jesus from the dead
After Paul spoke, the response was threefold:
1. Some mocked at what Paul said
2. Some said they would hear Paul again on this matter
3. Certain ones believed and clave unto Paul
Our Christian message will be mocked by many, received with indifference and apathy by most and believed by a certain few who will literally cleave unto the very words we speak. We must never be deterred or discouraged by those unwilling to hear or unable to make a decision. We should rejoice in the “certain ones” who are electrified by the Gospel and latch onto our words and never let go.