Doing Church: An Unknown God

I really enjoyed Sunday’s service. Sometimes it seems as though a service can drag on at times but I felt that this Sunday’s service was well done. The passage was in Acts 17 (half way through the book now).

In this part of the story, Paul debates with a bunch of intellectuals. Think Ben Stein and Leo Tolstoy and you have an idea of what I am talking about. These were the men of the day – the thinkers – they made living in this part of town exciting and unique. The Scriptures say that they were up on the latest trends and loved to talk about a variety of issues regarding religion. Paul gets an opportunity to talk to them and talks about their own beliefs. They were learned men. There was no denying that matter. In fact, if you were to ask them, they would probably take a few moments and figure out a way to blow you away with what we would consider the most basic of questions. Still, Paul had a message they needed to hear.

After telling them that they are religious in every way (not a bad start Paul), he then tells them that they have this statue to “an unknown god.” I wonder where this statue is and if it is still around. I would love to see how they make a statue of a god they do not know. I guess you have to cover all your bases. No one wants to offend one god over another. Paul’s response to these people is very unique. “This god is the god of creation, not made with human hands and resurrected from the dead” (my paraphrase). Some of the people think Paul is a weird and run off like a bunch of convicted felons. Some listen more and actually believe Paul’s message.

I guess that brings me to a thought that we have to consider sometimes. With each person who hears the message we have to share, some will respond positively and some negatively. No matter what the circumstance though, we can be convinced that Paul’s message tickled their ears a bit.

This unknown god was a god they were getting to know through Paul’s message but would never really understand. We are in the same boat. I think the more we are willing to humble ourselves and realize that despite all that we think we know about God, we really don’t know much. It is like a hermeneutical anonymous class or something.

So what do we get from this message? There is an unknown God who wants to know us and wants us to be known by Him. It isn’t easy and it will take a lot of time, but we can get really close, which isn’t a bad deal if you consider it.

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