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Summary: Do you know God? If Jesus Christ is your Savior and Lord, the answer is “yes!” We know Him! And God wants us to help other people know Him.

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Help them Know the One True God

Acts 17:22-31

Sermon by Rick Crandall

McClendon Baptist Church - Aug. 29, 2007

BACKGROUND

*Paul is on his 2nd mission trip, and now is in Athens alone, sent there to keep him safe from a Christ-rejecting mob at Berea. While Paul was at Athens, he did what he always did -- Everything he possibly could do to spread the Good News about Jesus Christ. So vs. 17 tells us that Paul “reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there.” Then in vs. 18, we see that “he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection.” For this reason, the philosophers brought Paul to the Areopagus or Hill of Mars to explain himself.

*In vs. 22&23, Paul began in an interesting way, when he said, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious or too superstitious or as superstitious as possible” (either translation is possible). “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.”

*William Barclay tells us that “There were many altars to unknown gods in Athens. Six hundred years before this, a terrible pestilence had fallen on the city which nothing could halt. A Cretan poet, Epimenides, had come forward with a plan: A flock of black and white sheep were let loose throughout the city from the Areopagus. Wherever each sheep lay down it was sacrificed to the god of the nearest shrine. And if a sheep lay down nowhere near the shrine of a known god it was sacrificed to "The Unknown God." (1)

*I know that sounds ridiculous, and it was, but that just reminds us how desperately these people needed Jesus. Let’s think about that as we read vs. 22-31.

22. Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, "Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious;

23. 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:

24. 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.

25. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things.

26. 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 habitation,

27. 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;

28. 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.’

29. 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.

30. Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,

31. 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.’’

INTRODUCTION

*The other day I was thinking back to the time when I was in high school. I was just as lost as these people in Athens. I thought Jesus was just a myth like Zeus and Hercules. I thought about this guy in my fraternity: Robbie -- great guy, good athlete -- straight arrow. But my friends and I always called him “Crazy Robbie,” because he had this crazy idea that he knew God in a personal way. He even thought that God was living in his heart.

*Then I found out that Crazy Robbie wasn’t crazy after all. He really did know God. Do you know God? If Jesus Christ is your Savior and Lord, the answer is “yes!” We know Him! And God wants us to help other people know Him.

1. So help other people know that He is glorious.

*Our God is glorious! In vs. 24, we see that He is the Supreme Creator, as Paul said; “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.” God Himself put it this way in Isaiah 66 and Acts 7:49-50, “Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool. What house will you build for Me? says the Lord, or what is the place of My rest? Has My hand not made all these things?”

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