So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’ Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” (Act 17:22-31)
In this passage, Paul is visiting Athens. He is alone. As he walsk the streets of Athens his heart is grieved because of the idolatry of the city. Eventually he passes an altar for worshipping the ‘Unknown God’. Obviously there is something ‘known’ about this god, otherwise they would not sacrifice to it. But in this Paul sees an opening and a parallel concerning the true God. While many may know somethings about God, He remains ‘unknown’ in the sense of a specific revelation to them.
So Paul endeavors to make God known to them. The one they were worshipping in ignorance, Paul proclaimed to them. How many times have we also worshipped God, forgetting who He is? And what of the lost world who know that there is a God, give lip-service to Him, yet do not know Him because we have not proclaimed Him. In this message I will try to remind you who God is and that we must proclaim Him to the masses. We must let the world know that the Sovereign God Creator deserves and demands their submission. He has commanded all men everywhere to repent.
Look at how Paul describes our God.
Creator verse 24, Transcendent verse 24, Self-Sufficient verse 25, Sovereign verse 26, Immanent verses 27-28, and Holy Judge verses 30-31. All of these things point to the rights of God to rule over us. And He does rule over everyone who has ever been born. As ruler over all He has commanded this, REPENT!
The times of lipservice to the god of our own inaginations is over. Many say, “My god wouldn’t do this or that.” But your god is not the God who reveals Himself through His creation or the Scriptures. Because the God of Scripture, the true God is a God who reigns on high, and who is now, not suggesting, but commanding all peoples everywhere to repent.
He commands His church to repent for replacing Him with a gentler, kinder, more palatable god. He commands the world to repent of the idolatry of a god who does not punish sin. He commands all men everywhere to repent of not following Him and, in turning from false gods and sin, to follow after Him.
Yes, He is waiting for those who would feel after Him, as blind men feel about for what they are looking for. But the sad truth of the matter is, “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” (Rom 3:10-12) There is no one who is seeking God. We are all turning are backs on God and running with our ears plugged in the opposite direction as creation screams out, “Behold, your God!”
God calls out to us through the things He has created and through His messengers. The preacher pleads for repentance and tells you that God demands repentance, and He has proved that He will judge the world in righteousness by raising Jesus Christ from the dead. The appointed man, the perfect man, the Godman, will judge on a day that no one can escape, except by repentance.
Lay down your idols and turn to worship the true and living God.