The Unknown God

There is a very interesting account found in Acts 17:22–23 in which the Apostle Paul was waiting for Silas and Timothy in Athens. While he waited, he was provoked within his spirit when he found the city was given over to idols. Paul addressed the men of Athens by saying,

In all things you are very religious, for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you.

It is startling to know that the men of Athens were religious, they had objects of worship, and they had an altar; yet they didn't even know the God of their worship! We know altars to be a place of sacrifice, prayer, and religion; but the question arises, How do you worship whom you don't even know? Even Jesus gives us a glimpse into the importance of knowing Him intimately in Matthew 7:22–23:

Many will say to Me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew [my emphasis] you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (NKJV)

Note that Jesus's emphasis was not on rituals but, rather, on relationship. We must ask ourselves today, are we any different from the men of Athens? I'm afraid that week after week, we fill edifices with people who don't even know God. Sure, we have objects of worship. We have buildings, instruments, podiums, microphones, lighting, etc., but do we know the God of our worship? With the help of the Holy Spirit, I will declare as the great apostle did to the men of Athens, The Unknown God.

--Steven Carter



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