Acts chapter 17 — “So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, ‘Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, “TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.” Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.
America worships an unknown God
As I was thinking about this passage, it struck me that we live in a nation that could equally be defined in this way…full of notions about God but the true God is unknown.
We have popular theologies in America, in the western world. We have popular gods who are sadly to say quite different from the true God. Though people in our nation talk about God and though as a nation we affirm the existence of God, we’re supposed to trust in Him, we place ourselves under Him in the flag salute and on our coins, we affirm His existence. But He is largely unknown to us. We worship an unknown God.
In fact, like the Greeks, we have placed an idol in the place of the true God and we ignorantly worship him.
I suppose the question can be asked, “Has God created man and revealed Himself, or has man created God and revealed himself?”
I think the latter would be pretty much true of the popular God of our country and even of the so-called church. God has become a kind of projection of our own minds, of our own will, of our own tolerances. We have designed a God that is comfortable for us. We have violated Psalm 50:21 which says, “You thought that I was all together like you?” Well indeed that’s the case.
Some couple of years ago there was a book written by Rhonda Byrne called “The Secret.”…It sold in the millions. At one point it was selling at 150 thousand copies a week. It is a pagan book based on a pantheistic view of the universe, that all things are one with God, all things are God, we are God, everything is God. In fact, in the book it says we are light, we are the “I am,” we are truth, we are God. God is in us. We possess part of God in us, divine power.
A rebuttal of Pantheism
But in the light of Isaiah 42:8 which says, “I am the Lord, that is My name. I am the Lord, that is My name. I will not give my glory to another.” God does not share His person with anyone. We are human. We are not divine. We do not possess divine attributes. Even when God takes up residence in our hearts as believers, it is the living God within us, it is not us. We have no divine power. We do not share by being human beings in the divine nature.
This is Satanic
What is the source of this? Where does this come from? Answer: Satan, this is satanic. This is satanic. This is not just off-centered, this is satanic.
Why do I say that? Because health, wealth, prosperity, the fulfillment of all your dreams and your desires, that’s what Satan always offers. That’s called temptation, based on the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.
…Do you remember in Exodus when they made the Golden Calf? Did you know that when the Israelites made the Golden Calf, that was their representation of Jehovah? That was their representation of Jehovah.
This is eternal life
In John 17, we love to go back to the marvellous High Priestly prayer of our Savior and kind of camp on the fact that He prayed that we would be one, pray for unity which He did pray but that was a spiritual unity, not a superficial unity. But what is the first thing that comes out of the lips of Jesus? The first request? John 17, as He speaks to the Father, it’s in verse 3, “This is eternal life, this is eternal life,” this is what He prays, You want eternal life? Here’s how.
- That they may know You the only true God and Jesus Christ whom You’ve sent.”
The testimony of the Lord
What is the prayer of Christ? For a true knowledge of the true God. Do you know that God? Do you understand the fullness of His nature? That’s why we’re going to do this series? That’s our Lord’s prayer, that they may know You. And isn’t it wonderful that He has revealed Himself on the pages of Scripture? That’s why the Bible is called in Psalm 19, “The testimony of the Lord.” It is the Lord’s personal self-disclosure.
The full sermon can be read at Grace to you here