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  • Writer's pictureOlufunmilayo Adekusibe

THE GOD WHOM YOU WORSHIP WITHOUT KNOWING IS THE BASIS OF OUR GOSPEL


 

Today’s Reading:

Acts 17:16-33 (22-31); Psalm 16 (5-6)

“So Paul, standing before the council, addressed them as follows: “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, for as I was walking along, I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: “To an Unknown God, ‘This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about. He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he does not live-in man-made temples, and human hands can’t serve his needs – for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need. From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries. His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him – though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, “We are his offspring, And since this is true, we shouldn’t think of God as an idol designed by craftsmen from gold or silver or stone. God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him. For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:22-31 NLT)

 

5 “Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessings. You guard all that is mine. 6 The land you have given me is a pleasant land. What a wonderful inheritance! (Psalm 16:5-6 NLT)

 


Paul started his discussion with a commendation of the Athenians that they were religious because of the several shrines for worship that he saw, which included one dedicated to ‘an unknown god.’ (v. 23). By this he was able to win the people’s attention, and trust God for whatever he was going to discuss with them. He identified the unknown god as the Creator of the earth, the heavens and everything in them. As the Lord of the heavens and the earth, He is much bigger and greater than any man-made temple of the Athenians. Because He is bigger and greater, he does not need any human gifts or human services, since He has made the people and everything in the world and what they could offer him (v. 25).


Having their idols does not make God exist, they are the works of man’s hand, and God existed before them all and before the world he created (Gen. 1:1-27; John 1:1-3). In order to sustain the interest of the people in what he was about to discuss with the Athenians, Paul had to meet them on their terms. This is how he can bring up the radically different idea of the gospel to the people. By quoting from their literature, He recognised a common ground to make a reasonable point of departure. Even when majority of the people there do not believe in the idea of the resurrection of the dead; some of them who believed responded and listened to him (v. 32), It is the same case today, if we do not meet the people where they are, we may not receive any audience at all. “ ” For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, for we are also his offspring. For as much as then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device” (vv. 28, 29). This is the core of Paul’s message to the Athenians.


Once we have received Jesus Christ into our lives as our Lord and Saviour, we are considered to be in him. what he earned and deserves is ours by inheritance. If we are the offspring of God, then it is unwise to think that God could be nothing short of a man-made idol. Such reasoning points out the absurdity of idolatry (Isa. 44:9-20).

OLUFUNMILAYO TITILOLA ADEKUSIBE


 

Prayer:

  1. Father, thank You for Your greatness, power, glory, majesty, splendour and righteousness, in Jesus’ name.

  2. Thank You for the wonder working power in Your Word and in the Blood of the Lamb, in Jesus’ name.

  3. Forgive every form of the sin of idolatry in my life and inherited sin, in Jesus’ name.

  4. We break the power and the grip of the world upon the souls of men, in Jesus’ name

  5. We release the spirit of salvation upon areas that have not been reached by the gospel, in Jesus’ name.

  6. Father, let your healing power begin to operate upon our land, in Jesus’ name.

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