The End of the Journey Series:
(Acts 17:22-32, Page 1735)
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I met people at the park this week seeking God. People often know deep inside that they need to find God, but they are not sure how to get in touch in with God. Paul, a disciple of Jesus Christ, traveled to Athens, Greece one day. As he walked around the city, he observed how religion played a large role in the life of people. But, the people of Athens worshiped many idols. In this study, we will see how Jesus Christ used Paul to shine the light of salvation upon the people at Athens.
The Unkown God
As Paul walked around Athens, he noticed all the idols all over the city. When Paul went into the synagogue, then he began reasoning with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles about Jesus and His free gift of salvation. As Paul proclaimed Jesus, some Epicurean and Stoic philosophers heard him, and invited him to speak more at the Areopagus, a place where people proclaimed their teachings of all kinds.
“So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, ‘Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects.'”
In Acts 17:22, Paul noticed that the people of Athens had a spiritual hunger, and worshiped many idols. Just like Jesus in the Gospels, Paul started his preaching with something already at hand. In this case, Paul noticed the idols all over town. Many people in Athens loved to spend time talking about new things, and they loved to hear new people proclaim new things. So, when Paul began to proclaim Jesus and His resurrection, the people of Athens became curious.
“For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.”
In Acts 17:23, Paul focused everyone’s attention upon an altar bearing the inscription: “TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.” The people of Athens wanted to be sure they worshiped every proper God, and so they had created an altar to an unknown god, sort of a catchall for any god they may have missed. Today, I meet people who follow this same kind of thinking. They pray and worship many gods, but they have never found the one true God, Jesus Christ. So Paul exposed the ignorance of the people in worshiping a god they do not know. Paul gained their attention and now directed it towards Jesus Christ. Notice how Paul forged a link to their own altar, and used their altar to proclaim Jesus.
“The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands;”
Acts 17:24he God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands;
In Acts 17:24, Paul made several important points. First, Paul declared that God made all things. Second, God is Lord of heaven and earth. Third, because He is Lord of all, God does not dwell in temples made with hands. In one clear declaration, Paul had just told the people that God was supreme and absolute, and the only God of heaven and earth. All others were imposters. Furthermore, the temples around town to various gods were a complete waste of resources, because the Lord of heaven and earth did not need men to build Him a house. He inhabited all of earth and heaven, and they could not contain Him. So, all the people who thought they had found a wonderful god in some idol, and worshiped some idol in a temple made with human hands, were actually worshiping false gods. While they may have thought they had ended their spiritual journey, they had not.
“nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things;”
Acts 17:25 is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things;”
In Acts 17:25, Paul exposed the false priests serving idols all over Athens. Notice please that Paul focused upon everyone who used human hands to serve gods. If they were truly gods, then they would not need anything, because the true God, Jesus Christ, gives to all people life and breath and all things. Paul proclaimed that Jesus Christ gives life to all people, and He does not need any human hands to provide for Him. In essence, Paul told the Athenians that they were created by Jesus Christ, whether or not they knew it.
“and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation.”
In Acts 17:26, page 1735, Paul discussed the origin of man. Paul stated that God made all men, starting with just one man. We know that the one man was Adam, whom God created in the Garden of Eden, as described in the first chapters of the Book of Genesis. God also determined the appointed times and boundaries of the nations. We know that some nations have arisen, while others have fallen. Everyone must learn that God raises up nations at His appointed times, and then God removes nations. Likewise, God also fixes the boundaries of the nations. Paul clearly established that Jesus Christ controlled the nation of Greece and the fate of every other nation on earth. Paul proclaimed the greatness of God, far beyond all the work of men’s hands and the idols they made and served. Jesus was totally unlike their gods.
“that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;”
In Acts 17:27, we learn that God created every human being to seek Him. God created you to seek Him. If you are on a spiritual journey today seeking God, then realize that God created you to seek Him. As you grope about trying to find God, Paul lets you know that God created you to seek Him and He is not far from each one of us. Therefore, be sure that as you journey on, if you are truly seeking God, then you are only doing what God designed you to do: find Him.
“for in Him we live and move and exit, as even some of your pown poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.'”
In Acts 17:28, Paul continued his sermon about Jesus. In this verse, Paul showed that we all live and move and exist in God. We cannot leave the presence of God, even if we do not know God. In fact, Paul said that some of the Greek poets had even written that we are all children of God. Paul does not exclude anyone from being a child of God, in the sense that they were all created by God in heaven above.
“Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man.”
In Acts 17:29, Paul made a very impressive argument. Because all of us are children of God, we must not think that the Divine Nature is like silver or gold or stone. When humans make idols of silver or gold or stone, they are ignoring their own lineage as children of God. Furthermore, they are also wrong to think they can make an image of God formed by the art and thought of man. You see, whenever a man uses his thought and his arts to create an image of God, they only make an idol. The real God can never be reproduced by human thought or human arts.
“Therefore, having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent,”
In Acts 17:30, Paul called upon every person on earth to repent. Because the people of Athens had not heard about Jesus Christ, but had been worshiping the Unknown God in ignorance, God had been overlooking their times of ignorance. But now that Paul has proclaimed Jesus to them, they must repent of their wicked deeds and turn to Jesus for salvation.
“because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”
In Acts 17:31, Paul concluded his sermon about Christ. In fact, Paul finished his legal argument by showing that God has provided complete proof that Jesus was God and must be the only Savior of mankind. God provided absolute and indisputable proof by raising Jesus Christ from the dead. That resurrection God furnished as proof positive that Jesus was God in the flesh, and men should abandon their idols, turn to Jesus, repent of their sins, and believe the message of salvation in Christ alone.
So, we learn that God has furnished proof to all men and Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, and men everywhere should repent of their sins, and trust Jesus alone for salvation. For everyone still worshiping idols or the unknown God, Paul proved that God has created all of us, and we should realize that all god’s man by human hands according to human thoughts and with human arts are false gods, and nothing more than idols created by men. Only Jesus can end your spiritual journey, and He created you to seek Him and find Him, because in Him you live and move and exist.
Leaving Idols and Finding Jesus
1. The Unknown God. Paul preached to the people of Athens about the Unknown God. He explained to them that God was not far from them, and they lived and moved and existed in God. Even so, they never knew God. Paul came to proclaim Jesus to them, the God they never knew.
2. Ignorance. God overlooked the ignorance of the Athenians, but sent Paul to them to declare that all men everywhere should repent. God makes the same loving call to all men today to repent, and end their spiritual journey.
3. The Resurrection of Jesus. God furnished proof to all men that Jesus is God by raising Him from the dead. Without the resurrection, Christianity cannot exist. Jesus warned that judgment will come upon all men, and Jesus will judge each person. That means that you will face Jesus one day when He sits in judgment upon you. Jesus invites you make peace with Him today, end your spiritual journey, and rest in Jesus Christ.
Application for Today
As you walk through life today, will you consider the evidence that God raised Jesus from the dead, and now calls upon you to end your spiritual journey? If you do not receive the free gift of salvation from Jesus, and repent of your sins, then you will face Jesus as He sits in judgment upon you. Will you believe today that your a sinner, repent of your sins, and accept the free gift of salvation from Jesus today? He really is the end of your spiritual journey if you will seek Him today. Why not today?
March 15, 2015 │ The End of the Journey Today │Acts 17:22-30