29 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. 30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 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.”
I just started to listen to a teaching series on evangelism. It is really good and the main push of the teaching is that we need to allow God to do the work. We need to recognize that we are just messengers. One way we let God do the work is by presenting the scriptures to the lost. I have been challenged to study verses that speak about the human condition and to be ready to point the seeker to the places in the Bible that describes it. Today’s verses would be a good one to study.
These verses are from a presentation the Apostle Paul made to the intellectuals in Athens, Greece. Scripture tells us that while in Athens Paul’s “spirit was provoked within him” because of the idolatry in the city. It is this provocation that Paul used to share the Good News with the Athenians. His message centered around the idea that in their ignorance of the true God they had fashioned for themselves other gods to worship. His proclamation was that God was willing to overlook their past ignorance but a time in history had come where God commanded that everyone leave their false gods and worship Him alone. It’s a strong encapsulation of the condition of man.
So the question is how is Paul’s proclamation relevant to todays disciples? Is the condition of humanity still one of people worshiping gods other than the true God? Is there worship of beauty in our culture? Is there worship of sports teams? Is there worship of gadgets? Is there worship of work? Is there worship of children? Is there worship of pets? Is there worship of celebrity? How about money? Is our condition the same as the Athenians?
The big take away is that the today’s culture is not much different than those of ancient times. Our appearances are different and we have benefitted from the advancement of technology, but we still live in a culture where God is in a competition for worship. Even in our Christian communities we often offer other things worship before God. We must all heed the exhortation of Paul and realize that God “commands all people everywhere to repent”. We must turn away from our idols, we must strive to worship God alone, we must recognize the human condition, and as good messengers we must point it out to the audience God gives us.
Heavenly Father, we offer you praise this morning. God you have created all things for your glory. Father, forgive us your created beings for creating our own gods to worship. Father, forgive us our affection for the visible and help us connect with the invisible. Strengthen our faith and accept our love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.