The title of this page comes from a passage of scripture from the Bible. My desire is that you read this and take time to consider the message.
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, NKJV).
Paul traveled the world of his day sharing the message of hope in Jesus Christ the Lord. During his travels he passed through the city of Athens. There he discovered that many people where religious but they did not have knowledge of the true God and salvation through Jesus.
Paul began to reason with people about Jesus and the resurrection. He was then asked to speak to an assembly of people at the Areopagus (also called Mars Hill). Basically, it served as an ancient conference center.
Americans have a lot in common with the Athenians. We both like doing things our own way and we like to hear new things. Just think at how many conferences are held each year. Also like the Athenians most Americans claim to be religious but few, in fact, know the one true God. They know of Him but they do not know Him personally. It is the difference between knowing who the President of the United States is and having actually met him.
Paul begins with the basics.
God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. (Acts17:24, NKJV).
There is one God and He is the Creator. That is what God explained in Genesis. This entitles God to sole ownership of all that you see. That is why He is the Lord. Therefore we can not build Him a dwelling place for He has built our dwelling place as well as created us. God is greater than everything.
Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. (Acts 17:25, NKJV).
God the creator did not create us because He needed us. God was not lonely. In fact, we need Him. It is God at this moment that gives you the life that enables you to read this pamphlet. If God was to take his hands off of this world it would fall into chaos and destruction.
And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, (Acts 17:26, NKJV).
Paul goes on to stress that we are the descendants of one man. God has maintained control over His creation. He has created every nation that exists and all that has ever existed from that one man, Adam. He has determined when nations rise and when they fall and their borders.
Even now where you live is part of God’s plan. All your abilities, knowledge and possessions are part of God’s plan.
You might ask “If God did not create us because he needed us and He has that much control over our lives, then why did he make us?”
so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; (Acts 17:27, NKJV).
The purpose of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever. God, being the greatest being to exist, desires for others to experience His greatness. We achieve this by having a personal relationship with Him.
God created and guided our world so you might seek Him. You are here now reading this because the Creator desires that you be able to find Him. He wants you to know Him.
It is not difficult either for He is always near, as Paul explained.
for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ (Acts 17:28, NKJV).
God is all around us. He is not some distant being that is detached from us. He did not just create the world, set it motion and leave it alone. He is present and constantly working within His creation to draw people unto Himself.
Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising. (Acts 17:29, NKJV).
The word ‘therefore’ is often a sign post in the Bible that some vital information is coming. Here Paul states that we need to be careful about the god that we believe in because it may not be the real God. The Athenians put a physical form to their gods. Typically we don’t do that today but we still create our own gods in our minds. Interestingly the gods that we create always approve of our behavior but often criticizes other peoples behavior.
As stated earlier many people believe in God. But do they believe correctly in God? When you question peoples’ beliefs they often come back to their feelings, not to what God has said about Himself.
To believe in a lie when truth is available is not smart. Or as Paul says.
Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, (Acts 17:30, NKJV).
Having stated that God the Creator desires for His creation to find Him, Paul gets to the how of the matter. We need to repent. We are guilty of creating our own God. For instance have you ever heard someone say “Well my God is a God of love and would never send any one to Hell.” This person has created their own version of God.
God’s own words as recorded in His Bible say that He is a God of love to those who love Him and a God of wrath to those who deny Him. He will in fact cast every one who rejects Him into an ever lasting lake of fire.(Revelation 20:15) That is Hell.
God’s desire is for all to repent. That is for you to turn away from false beliefs in Him. For you to stop doing things that displease Him. Christians call these things sins. There are many kinds of sins but the most common are lying, stealing, and sex with someone other than your spouse. God also wants you to have remorse for your sins, and seek His forgiveness.
Paul says the necessity to repent is.
because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:31, NKJV).
God has appointed a day when every person will be judged. Jesus is that judge. Jesus said in Matthew 25:32-41 that He would divide all the people. On His right He would place all that had committed their lives to Him. On His left He would placeeveryone else. The people on the right hand will enter into eternal reward and the people on the left hand would enter into eternal torment.
You ask what entitles Jesus to be the Judge. It is because He is the Son of God (Luke 1:32). He is also God in the flesh (Matthew 1:23). And He paid the price so that everyone who believes in Him could be forgiven (Mark 10:45, John 3:16).
The proof that all this is true is that Jesus was raised from the dead. In Acts 17:18 Paul made it known that Jesus was resurrected.
And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, “We will hear you again on this matter.” So Paul departed from among them. However, some men joined him and believed, among them Dionysius the Areopagite, a woman named Damaris, and others with them. (Acts 17:32-34, NKJV).
As you can see the people responded in one of three ways. Some mocked. They laughed at what Paul said.
The second way, some wanted to hear more about what Paul had to say. Unfortunately Paul left the next day. They never had the chance to hear more from him.
The third way, some of them joined and believed Paul. That does not mean they physically followed Paul on his travels but rather they joined Paul as fellow believers in the one true God that has provided salvation in Jesus Christ.
Likewise you now face the same decision that the Athenians faced on that day. You can mock what this little pamphlet has to say. Ball it up and throw it in the trash because you have confidence in yourself. Just remember this is your eternal soul that is on the line. What if you are wrong? I ask, is not your soul worth further investigation of this message?
Better, you could desire to hear more. But that has it’s own danger. You don’t know what tomorrow holds in store for you. Even now you could die while reading this. I pray that you have a long life but in America on average 4 people die every minute.
Best, you could commit your life now to God through Jesus Christ and grow in knowledge and wisdom of Him. This is salvation.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10, NKJV).
We are saved by Grace alone through faith alone in Jesus alone. Grace is that God grants salvation to whom He desires. If you commit your life to follow Jesus by faith then you can be sure that you have obtained grace from God. I say commit because it is not just a belief but a way of life.
A lot of Christians begin their spiritual walk with a prayer similar to this:
God forgive me of my sins. Thank you for salvation through Jesus. Help me to love you with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. Amen.
This is just the basics in getting to know God. There is much more that you should learn and it can all be found in His book that we call the Bible. I will be glad to help to grow in Christ. You need to get yourself a Bible that you find easy to understand. There are many English versions of the Bible. Each has it’s strengths. I suggest the New King James Version.
The italic text is quoted from the New King James Version of the Bible. In case you are not familiar with the Bible. It is 66 books bound together. Quotes from the the Bible are usually referenced like Acts 17:22. Acts is the name of one of the books, 17 refers to the chapter number, and22 refers to a subdivision of the chapter.
For help with your spiritual walk contact me.