Summary: Exposition of Acts 17:24-25 about Paul’s first five characteristics of the Unknown God
Text: Acts 17:24-25, Title: Musings of a Seed-Picker 2, Date/Place: NRBC, 10/19/08, PM
A. Opening illustration: August 12th, 2000, I was getting my tux all ready to go, like 14 hours before the wedding for some unexplained reason, so I could hurry up and wait. Then the wedding director came in our little room and took me by the arm and led me to see Erika…then we said I do, under the impression that we knew this individual well that we were pledging our lives to…then that third month…then the five-year agreement to hold off on kids went out the window in six months…this should have been an indication that maybe we didn’t know each other as well as we thought. And I am sure those moments will keep coming…
B. Background to passage: Missionary journey #2. Spitefully treated in Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea, however planting churches in each of those places. Paul finds himself in Athens alone waiting on Silas and Timothy to come from Berea by boat. All that he sees reminds him of the One that has called him to bear the gospel to kings and princes, Jews and Gentiles. So, after going witnessing in the streets, the philosophers get ahold of him, and take him to the Areopagus to hear more from this seed-picker about Jesus and the resurrection. And after his introduction, the bulk of his message is describing the God that they do not know. It is a very theological message, but powerful none the less. In fact how we thin about God is really important. And constantly we need to be refreshed about what He says about Himself.
C. Main thought: In this text, we see the One True God as He is
A. He is Creator (v. 24)
1. Paul begins with the work of creation. And he clearly states that this unknown God made everything that was made in heaven and earth. The Epicureans said that there were no gods. The Stoics said that everything was god. And the Greeks believed that there were many gods, and many would have been involved in creation of certain things. Paul said, nope, there is One God who made it all. He is the author and finisher of all creation and life itself. In fact, creation itself testifies of the majesty of the Godhead who created her.
2. Isa 40:28, 45:18, Gen 1:1, Jer 32:17, Heb 1:1-3, John 1:3, Col 1:16, Heb 11:3, Ps 33:6, 9,
3. Illustration: William Provine of Cornell University said, “Darwinism is not just about mutations and fossils, it is a comprehensive philosophy stating that all of life can be explained by natural causes acting randomly—which implies that there is no need for the Creator. And if God did not create the world,” he notes, “then the entire body of Christian belief collapses.” All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen. — Emerson, our Baptist forefathers felt the need to revise the BF&M b/c of the threat of evolutionistic theory,
4. In our day the challenge of evolution hits at the very heart of this truth, seeking to undermine the Christian faith. Evolution is now the standard rather than the exception. Watching Billy Graham preach—what would he think now? The reason that this is so important is that people need to feel that there is a higher power who spoke them into existence and by implication can take them out (and God does still take people out). There is a major link from Creator to authority over. And the evidence for God in creation is mind-blowing. And you don’t have to be saved to see it; it is evident to all. In fact, the bible says that his eternal power and Godhead is revealed leaving everyone without an excuse if they are honest with the evidence and their own minds/hearts. Remind those you are sharing with that God created them
B. He is Lord (v. 24)
1. First Paul said that He made it, and now because He made it, He owns it. Not only does He own it, He runs it. Paul calls him Lord, Gr. kurios, which means the owner, master, or almighty, sovereign ruler. No Greek god held this kind of sway and power. They were only like men, only immortal, and slightly more powerful. And they were subject to other authorities. And most rulers were subject to other authorities. So to have one God who was absolute master was different.
2. Rev 19:16, 1 Tim 6:15, Philip 2:9-11,
3. Illustration: “He is Lord of heaven, Lord of earth, He is Lord all who live, He is Lord above the universe, all praise to Him we give,” Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ… Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble, it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him.” –Bonheoffer,