Summary: This sermon deals with the Apostle Paul coming to the city of Athens and finding the city full of idols, and temples to pagan gods. In the midst of that, he directs them from what they Had labelled as "The Unknown God" and points them to the true


Acts 17:16-34

Dorn Ridge Church Of Christ

March 22, 2015

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1.) This morning as we look to the Word of God we are going to see the gospel of Christ come to a city with many gods.

2.) In the midst of their false worship the Apostle Paul would introduce these people to the true and living God.

A) So let us prepare to look at the religious scene in the city of Athens.


1.) Paul stated they were very religious.

A.) Acts 17:22

B.) It is both easy and natural for people to be religious.

C.) I believe that God has placed within the heart of every person an innate desire for worship.

ca.) The fact that God has put that in the heart of every person, means that in one way or another every person will worship someone or something.

caa.) Sadly, Satan deceives individuals to worship false gods even without the realization they are doing it.

cb.) Yet anything or anyone that is worshipped other than the Living God will not completely satisfy the need for worship within us.

cba.) Any other than God Almighty will disappoint us, fail us, and give us a false satisfaction.

.01) Ultimately that false satisfaction will give a person at least a degree of fulfillment, even while cheating us out of the far greater blessings that the true God would like to give us.

2.) They worshipped many gods and goddesses.

A.) This is perhaps not unlike our own land.

aa.) We do not have temples to images of wood and stone, but there are none the less many gods that are worshipped in our country.

ab.) Sit down some evening after supper and watch three or four hours of TV programs, as well as the commercials.

aba.) I say this, because those shows as well as the advertisements will reveal many of the gods our society bows down to today.

.01) There are the gods of pleasure, of physical beauty, there are the lusts of the eyes, and of the flesh, there are gods of prominence, power, wealth, sex, the god of self-worship, and perhaps other things as well.

.02) Perhaps the only difference between our society today and that of ancient Athens, is that we do not need to have an image of stone or wood to bow down to.

.021) We can bow down to an image that has been electronically placed into our minds appealing to our desires.


1.) The History of the unknown god.

A.) Really, in the city of Athens there were many altars to unknown gods.

B.) William Barclay gives us the background as to why there were “unknown gods” in Athens:

ba.) “Six hundred years before this a terrible pestilence had fallen on the city which nothing could halt.

bb.) A Cretan poet, Epimenides, had come forward with a plan.

bba.) A flock of black and white sheep were let loose throughout the city from the Areopagus. Wherever each lay down it was

sacrificed to the nearest god;

bbb.) and if a sheep lay down near the shrine of no known god it was sacrificed to "The Unknown God."


1.) Paul determined to introduce them to the unknown God.

A.) It was from superstition these people had made a temple to an “Unknown god.”

B.) Paul took their ignorance and superstitions, to introduce them to the true and Living God.

C.) Here in the midst of dozens of pagan temples, gods and goddesses, Paul shows them that in this world there is only one that is the true God, worthy of our worship.

ca.) Let us look at some of the arguments that Paul gave to show that Jehovah, is God, and that before him there is no other who is worthy of that title, honour, or worship.

D.) When Paul went to Athens, they were willing to listen to him and his preaching because he was bringing some new teaching to them.

da.) Many of the Athenians would spend the whole day just listening to new ideas, and so they were willing to listen to Paul with his

new ideas.

db.) Acts 17:19-21

E.) Paul certainly gave them some new ideas about God.

2.) He is the God who made the world and everything in it.

A.) Acts 17:24

B.) This twenty-fourth verse is a powerful passage of Scripture.

ba.) In this one little verse of Scripture the Apostle Paul has completely shown the greatness of the true living God.

bb.) Those in Athens were bowing down to pieces of wood and stone, as well as to images made of metals.

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