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Making the unknown God known!

trinity

trinity

A very warm welcome to Church today as we consider the Apostle Paul’s entrance into Athens!

messy church

messy church

Athens was the foremost Greek city-state since the 5th Century BC. Even after its incorporation into the Roman Empire, it retained its proud intellectual independence. It boasted of its rich philosophical tradition inherited from Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, of its literature and art. In Paul’s day it ‘lived’ on its great past and still had a reputation as an intellectual city.

Paul had become a follower of the true God at great personal cost. And when he entered the city, he was so distressed by the number of idols to false gods that he had to act. The Athenians had an altar set up to an “unknown god”, and Paul set about making this unknown god known!

Paul declared the good news about Jesus and the resurrection, and about the God who made the world and everything in it. He also informed them about God’s demand for repentance, and of the coming Judgment for all who don’t repent. On hearing Paul speak, some people scoffed, and others said ‘we will hear you again about this’. They made a choice with what to do with the knowledge he had given them. We all have the same choice. To scoff or hear more! My prayer for all of us is that we would be willing to hear more about the wonderful God who came to offer usresurrection from the dead!

unknown god

unknown god

 

 

NRSActs 1716 – 34   16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was deeply distressed to see that the city was full of idols. 17 So he argued in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and also in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. 18 Also some Epicurean and Stoic philosophers debated with him. Some said, “What does this babbler want to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign divinities.” (This was because he was telling the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.) 19 So they took him and brought him to the Areopagus and asked him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 It sounds rather strange to us, so we would like to know what it means.” 21 Now all the Athenians and the foreigners living there would spend their time in nothing but telling or hearing something new. 22 Then Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, “Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. 23 For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, ‘To an unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. 26 From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, 27 so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him– though indeed he is not far from each one of us. 28 For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we too are his offspring.’ 29 Since we are God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals. 30 While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” 32 When they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some scoffed; but others said, “We will hear you again about this.” 33 At that point Paul left them. 34 But some of them joined him and became believers, including Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris, and others with them. _______________________________________________________________