Rivergate Church of Christ
The churches of Christ salute you.Romans 16:16
And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.Acts 2:47
His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.Ephesians 3:10-11
|How Does God Answer Prayer?||Psalm 34:15-17||James W. Farris|
|The Greatest Reward: Heaven||Revelation 21:1-6||James W. Farris|
KNOWING THE GOD THAT STILL REIGNS
James W. Farris
Time continues to march ahead. It has been nearly two thousand years since Jesus walked the earth. For humanity it has given time to become more confused through secular, godless philosophies. In Acts 17: 16-34, Luke records one of the greatest confrontations of the New Testament. We find Paul, the philosopher-persecutor in conflict against the intellectual elite of his day as he entered into the city of Athens. Athens was an energized city of 250,000 people, a pagan environment where they worshipped a multiplicity of gods. (Some studies suggest as many as 30,000 gods/goddesses.) It would be a good thing to stop at this point and read the passage under discussion. Did you notice Paul’s final statement after defining the eternal God of the Resurrection? Look once again at 17:30, “And the times of this ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent.” Today, the God Paul preached is still the same as He has always been. (James 1:17) However, it is the perception and view of God that has changed in society. G. C. Lichtenburg once said, “God created man in His own image...Philosophers reverse the process: They create God in theirs.”
It is ever interesting to me how the world tries to maintain a sense of religious faith but "their faith" becomes something other than what the Bible teaches. For example, there was a time when in America, the predominant view of God was the definition found in the Bible. In today’s society, God is defined and based on personal views or individual preferences. For some, God is like a box of blocks which can be constructed any way the individual sees fit. When we fail to see God in His holiness or His love then we have created a god of our own imagination. Once we make that conclusion, it won't necessarily be a stretch before we no longer see ourselves as sinful or guilty.
In the same way, this is the audience Paul faced in Athens. The cornucopia of views that existed in Athens allowed most people to perceive of God like a salad bar where people were free to pick and choose what they liked the best. Those prominent philosophers were always debating what God’s essence might have been. Beyond this however, there was very little desire to really follow God. So then you have Paul, the preacher with courage, who stood and preached the resurrection of the dead to these skeptical Athenians.
On top of sharing a doctrinal philosophy, which most considered impossible or improbable, Paul also added a personal requirement to each one listening. They must “repent of their sins.” (17:30) Today people say, “We all serve the same God just under different names” or “There is no guilt or sin” or “God is just a matter of the mind and heart.” And we are lead to believe by our society that we cannot preach the God of the Bible but instead, permit each person to have their own personal beliefs. This may sound like the best way to "keep the peace" but it is not biblically realistic. There is only one God in the universe and God calls all men to Himself through the Son. He continues to call men to repent of their sins and follow Him as His servants. Just as Paul stood before a numerous audience and preached the resurrection and the one true God of Heaven, so we also should declare to the world that the “ONE TRUE GOD OF THE BIBLE STILL REIGNS!”
See you Sunday and bring a friend!