Like many in our time, the people of Athens, Greece in Paul’s day were aware of the teachings of human philosophers, but they did not know the true nature of God as revealed in his teachings about himself. In fact, except for the Jews of Athens, they worshipped an idol to an “unknown God" (Acts 17:23). But Paul took the opportunity of his visit to proclaim to them the “Lord of heaven and earth.” In this sermon, recorded in Acts 17, he described God to them as:
1. The creator of the universe (v. 24).
“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man ....”
What a stupendous claim, that God “made the world and everything in it.” Since he is sovereign, separate and apart from creation, he “does not live in temples made by man.” This must have stunned his hearers!
2. The sustainer of life (v. 25).
“Nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.”
Instead of being dependent on men, God had shown that he needs nothing from them; rather we are totally dependent on him. Men who see themselves as self-sufficient refuse to believe this truth.
3. The ruler of All the nations (vs. 26-27).
“And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him.”
Adam, of course, was that “one man” (See the early chapters of Genesis). He created all nations and determines their rise and fall. All creation is designed to encourage us to seek God, who is not far from any of us.
4. The father of mankind (vs. 28-29).
“In him we live and move and have our being; as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are indeed his offspring.’ 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.”
We come from God, and are formed in His image. Therefore, we should not think of God as dependent on man for his creation.
5. God is the judge of the world (vs 30-31).
“The times of ignorance God overlooked, but know he commands all people everywhere to repent, 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.”
God will judge the world with justice by a man he has appointed. His proof to everyone for this is his raising Jesus from the dead.
What a marvelous view of God Paul, through inspiration, presents to us. Do you know this God and his son, Jesus? Will you accept them?