FROM THE GENERAL OVERSEER,
Pastor (Dr) E. O. Abina
TO AN UNKNOWN GOD
Sunday 13th December, 2015.
“22 Paul stood up in front of the city council and said, “I see that in every way you Athenians are very religious. 23 For as I walked through your city and looked at the places where you worship, I found an altar on which is written, ‘To an Unknown God.’ That which you worship, then, even though you do not know it, is what I now proclaim to you. 24 God, who made the world and everything in it, is Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples made by human hands. 25 Nor does he need anything that we can supply by working for him, since it is he himself who gives life and breath and everything else to everyone. 26 From one human being he created all races on earth and made them live throughout the whole earth. He himself fixed beforehand the exact times and the limits of the places where they would live. 27 He did this so that they would look for him, and perhaps find him as they felt about for him. Yet God is actually not far from any one of us; 28 as someone has said, ‘In him we live and move and exist.’ It is as some of your poets have said, ‘We too are his children.29 Since we are God’s children, we should not suppose that his nature is anything like an image of gold or silver or stone, shaped by human art and skill” (Acts 17:22-29GNB)
In one of Paul’s missionary journey, he came to Athens, a city in Greece, waiting for Silas and Timothy. While waiting there, he saw certain things that upset him as a preacher of the only one True and Living God. Paul observed that the citizens of the city and foreigners were interested in spending all their time telling and hearing the latest new thing (verse 23). Paul could not shut up his mouth in spite of the mocking and jesting of the so called Stoic and Epicurean philosophers. Paul opened his mouth and preached. He took one of the inscriptions in which they wrote “To an Unknown God as his theme and preached God and Jesus the Savior, the life and resurrection to them. He told them that God who was unknown to them was the God he was preaching to them. He made known to them that the true nature of that God does not look like the idol gods made by human hands which they worship. In as much as some of their poets had even said they are children of God. If they are actually children of God as they claimed then none of them looked like the idol of stone, gold or silver (the work of man’s hand) which they worship. He however concluded his message to them by asking them to repent from serving gods that are man-made and turn to the living God through faith in Christ.
Concluding, he said, “God has overlooked the times when people did not know him, but now he commands all of them everywhere to turn away from their evil ways. For he has fixed a day in which he will judge the whole world with justice by means of a man he has chosen. He has given proof of this to everyone raising that man Jesus from the dead” (verse 30,31)
From our scripture passage, it is obvious that God’s consciousness is in every human being on earth. The ancient Athenians who were the principal characters of this passage were too religious – serving and worshipping various idols and images made by man but were conscious that there was a God they did not know but made a place for Him. Paul’s message was an eye-opener for them. Idol worship is as a result of spiritual blindness and those who continue to worship them if they die in that condition will go to hell fire- where there is only an entrance but never an exit.
There are some Christian hypocrites who come to church but still serve idols. Such should know that Jesus will reject them when he comes back. So you either be a Christian who sincerely worship the only True and Living God or you are not. There are priceless and precious benefits both here and hereafter in serving the Only True and Living God. The only way to do this is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ the only way to God and repent from your sinful lifestyle including idol worship. Like the apostle Paul, we should not hesitate to warn sinners and idol worshippers to repent now that they are still alive before it is too late- judgment is coming and is sure.
1. Thank God for His love for mankind.
2. Ask the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of idol worshippers to know their end and to repent.
3. Check yourself and separate yourself from anything that has taken the place of God in your life. See (2Cor.6:16-18).