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Introduction:

Now if your like me you are fascinated with the newest technowledgy and what we can do that we couldnt do just twenty years ago.
Or you can be like my mother-in-law who might be intrigued by all the advancements but still doesn’t know how to set up an alarm on her not-so-smart phone.
Now, all these advances are all possible because someone thought of an idea no one has thought of or dared to try. They say that “the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do”.
There are these speaking conferences called TEDTalks. TED stands for technology, entertainment, and design. There slogan is “ideas worth spreading”. They short powerful lectures on their unique ideas and thoughts.
I think in some way, we all want to change the world and make a difference. We all have some desire to live out our purpose and what we are created to be.
Now in the Apostle Paul addresses the people of Athens which was the Roman “mall” for Philosophy shops. Athenians spent most of their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas and philosophies.
Bence, P. A. (1998). Acts: a Bible commentary in the Wesleyan tradition (p. 173). Indianapolis, IN: Wesleyan Publishing House.
Athens gives us a snapshot of what western society looks like today. Now years ago young people would just reject Christianity. Today, they see Christianity as one of many options because they dont see it as absolute truth. A truth for all people.

Pauls Address to the people of Athens

Acts 17:22–23 NIV
Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People 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. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.
The city of Athens was literally a museum of Gods. One philospher said "In Athens. it's easier to find a picture of a false God than it would be to find a man. As the Apostle wandered in the city it seemed as every piece of architecture or house was dedicated to the worship of some Gods. These alters were dedicated to Gods of fame, energy, and fertility. People would come and worship these statues that symbolized different kinds of Gods. To Zeus, hercules, venus, etc...
Now this must of disgusted Paul. To see all these false Gods and false idols. It must of also brought a Godly sorrow to his heart that they would know all the new trends and possess all this knowledge yet not know the ancient one. The God of israel.
In every way you are very religious
Acts 17:22 NIV
Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious.

Meaning the “hill of Aries.” Aries was the god of war in Greek mythology, who is called Mars in Latin. This was the name of a location and also of the civil and religious council that met there.

Paul walked around and could see that in every way they were very religious. Now this term can be broken down in this passage to mean they were very “superstitious”
Paul walked around and could see that in every way they were very religious. Now this term can be broken down in this passage to mean they were very “superstitious”
Acts 17:23 NIV
23 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. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.
Many objects of worship
Paul walked around and could see that in every way they were very religious. Now this term can be broken down in this passage to mean they were very “superstitious”
The city of Athens was literally a museum of Gods. One philospher said "In Athens. it's easier to find a picture of a false God than it would be to find a man. As the Apostle wandered in the city it seemed as every piece of architecture or house was dedicated to the worship of some Gods. These alters were dedicated to Gods of fame, energy, and fertility. People would come and worship these statues that symbolized different kinds of Gods. To Zeus, hercules, venus, etc...
Now this must of disgusted Paul. To see all these false Gods and false idols. It must of also brought a Godly sorrow to his heart that they would know all the new trends and possess all this knowledge yet not know the ancient one. The God of israel
Altar to an unknown God
The personal God
Acts 17:24–25 NIV
24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.
Acts 17:23 NIV
23 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. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.
They even had an altar titled “To an unknown God” just in case they missed one. They wanted to cover all there bases. I think when Paul seen this one he was like okay “enough is enough”. Because to Paul, his God was knowable. His God he experienced at Damascas road as he seen Jesus Christ in his post resurrection form in all His glory. His God was able to raise the dead, move mountains, heal the unhealable, touch the wounded, cure the sick, and cast out demons.
Acts 17:23 NIV
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. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.
The Creator God
Acts 17:24–25 NIV
24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.
Paul proclaims that His God is the creator of the heaven and the earth and isn’t restricted to temples built by hands. Our God comes and lives inside us as we become living temple with the Holy Spirit. So we arent stuck in something made by man. We are the church, which is meant to be mobile. God gives us life and breath. He put the stars and the sky in place. Every waking moment we exist because he chooses to put breathe in our lungs. He gives us that grace and that can end at any second he chooses.
The Providential God
Acts 17:26–27 NIV
26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.
A lot of times though, we want to have control over our own lives. We live in a fast food culture where we want to have everything right now. We want to have control of what happens and when it happens and how it happens. That desire for control can become an idol in our hearts that stems from our own pride that sits on the throne of our heart.
The Image of God
Acts 17:28–29 NIV
28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ 29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill.
Our text says “in him we live, move and have our being”. God the creator of heaven and earth choose to breathe his very life in us so we can life to the fullest. So we can feel emotion, pain, joy. Now we can choose to not allow His very life through us by seperating ourselves from him through sin. We can choose the bottle instead of the bible, we can choose the painkillers instead of prayer, we can choose to give into sin instead of God’s son.

Joshua, who had been chosen to succeed Moses and who, unlike his predecessor, had been privileged to enter the Promised Land, assembled his people to remind them of the mighty acts of God. He assured them that Yahweh would continue to bless them if they were faithful.

The Israelites, like all people, were confronted by alternatives. Some were interested in materialistic gods. Joshua knew this and challenged them to choose their god. He did not want them to live by half choices, convenient choices, or popular ones. The climax to his valedictory was “Choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites … but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Josh. 24:15).

We are told in the book of Genesis that we are created in the image of God and we are to be a reflection of who God is. Now this is reasonable that our text would say “since we are God’s offspring and we are human that God would come in the flesh as the incarnate Word of life named Jesus Christ. Yet many, instead of accepting they are created in God’s image, try to create a God in there own image. In essence this is what idolatry is. Its putting ourselves above God.
The Judgment of God
Acts 17:30–31 NIV
30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”
Now our God is a Jealous God. He will not allow our hearts to be shared with someone else. He wants all of us. Not just part of us. We might be able to fool our friends and family but we cannot fool God. He see’s all and he knows all. He doesn’t want just a behavorior adaptation but he wants a a life transformation. The difference between that is from the head to the heart. As long as he is just in our head then idolatry will still remain in our heart. God is loving, for of grace and mercy but he is also a God who demands righteousness, truth and judgment. We will be held accountable for all we say and do. There is no such thing as a half Christian. You are either a Christian or your not. Your either all in or all out.
Application: Ask yourself these questions and more then likely you will find an idol and The Gods of War that are winning the battle of your heart.
What really disappoints you? When we feel overwhelmed with disappointment its usually because we placed something above God
What do you sacrafice your time and money for?
What do you sacrafice your time and money for?
Usually our biggest investments are where our most sacred idols are.
What do you worry about, what are you scared of? Maybe its not being succesful or not having people like you. Often time, whatever that is, is where we find our identity, purpose, and meaning in.
Where do you go to for help when you hurt or in pain?
Now when Joshua says “choose whom you may serve. It’s not a one and done type of deal but it a continious moment by moment choice. We all worship something or someone. So who will you choose to serve?
Bence, P. A. (1998). Acts: a Bible commentary in the Wesleyan tradition (p. 173). Indianapolis, IN: Wesleyan Publishing House.
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