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Knowing God

Knowing God

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Knowing God is the ultimate purpose of life, and the key to success for time and eternity.
Knowing God is the ultimate purpose of life, and the key to success for time and eternity.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on May 24, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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 KNOWING GOD Based on Acts 17:22-34By Pastor Glenn PeaseYou and I live in an amazing age of automation where the machine is becomingmaster. A man wrote about his experience of putting money in a coffee machine,and as he watched the coffee begin to flow before the cup dropped down, and thenfrom the other side the cream flowed in, and he watched it all go down the drain, hesaid, "This is the ultimate in automation. The machine not only makes your coffee,it even drinks it for you." That, of course, was not the intention of the machine'smaker.There are some amazing intentional things being done with machines. Themedical world has always tried to raise people from the dead, but today they notonly are able to do that, they also first kill the patient they then raise. Death and lifeare in their hands. The doctor of Bruce Cummins of Bullhead City, Arizona had tokill him to make him better. He came to the hospital with a cherry sized aneurysmnear the base of his brain. This bubble in the artery could break at any time, and itwould mean instant death. They realized they had to kill him before he died, orthey could not save him. They chilled his body down to 62 degrees, and by so doingthey arrested his heart and brain activity. This means that he was legally dead.While he was dead they operated on him. Then they jump started his heart andraised him from the dead.It is indeed an amazing day in which we live. But it has always been an amazingday for Christians because resurrection from the dead is at the very heart of theChristian faith. Both the acceptance and rejection that Paul received in Athensrevolved around the resurrection of Jesus. Verse 18 shows that the resurrection wasthe theme that got the Greek philosophers attention, and then in verse 32 we see itwas at the conclusion of Paul's speech the key idea that divided them. Some of themwere sneering, and others were saying we want to hear more, and still othersbecame believing Christians.There are a lot of amazing things in life, but none more amazing than God, andwhat He has done for us in Christ. This is the ultimate in amazing, and that is whythe Christian must make this the focus of attention, as Paul did. The world needs toknow that the Christian as the most amazing message they will ever hear. It has toarouse the curiosity of even the most skeptical, and, therefore, it has to deal with theresurrection from the dead.This is what we learn from Paul who was a master teacher. Like all goodteachers, Paul starts with a known and leads people to the unknown. When hespoke to Jews he took them to their own Scriptures, which they acknowledged to bethe Word of God, and he lead them to see that God revealed a Messiah who wouldsuffer and rise from the dead. Now we see him dealing with Greeks who had no
Bible as their authority, and so he uses their religion as a starting point. Paul metpeople where they were at. He absurd their idolatry, and then very creatively sawtheir alter to unknown God as the open door to lead them to the God of revelation.The Athenians were the most religious people of the ancient world. It was theirthing. Athens had more images than all the rest of Greece put together. It isestimated that there were 30 thousand gods cramming the streets and publicbuildings. Paul coming through the gate of the city would see Neptune seated onhorseback, and just inside near the sanctuary would be sculptures of Minerva,Jupiter, Apollo, and Mercury. Everywhere he went he would see more gods, butPaul was most fascinated by the alter to the unknown god. This revealed that theAthenians were wise enough to know there was a God they did not know. Most allpagan peoples have this awareness of a supreme God who is superior to all the gods.Man has an instinctive sense that there is a God who is far beyond their puny mindsto grasp.Being very religious they did not want to leave any god out, and so they coveredall the basis by an alter to an unknown god. Their very fanaticism in being religiousmade them include even the one and only real God in their worship. Theyworshipped the God of the Bible, but did so ignorantly, and without knowledge of who He was, and what He willed. Paul used this alter to the unknown god to leadthem to the God of the Bible. He established for all time the wisdom of relating topeople where they are, and taking them from the unknown to the known. This iswhat education is. This is what evangelism is. This is the job of the Christian in theworld-making the unknown God known.The Greeks were admitting that there was a god they did not know, and theyknew they didn't know him. When Paul claimed he could make this unknown godknown, they were open to listen. There are situations in life where it can be anadvantage to be unknown. It happened once in the U. S. Congress. The House of Representatives convened on Dec. 5, 1859, and tried to choose a speaker of thehouse. They spent the entire month of December on this one item of discussion, andthey failed to achieve their goal.All of January they tried again, and nobody could get a majority vote. Thehouse was totally immobilized, and the reason was that every candidate was eitherpro or anti slavery, and so nobody could win. Finally on Feb. 1 William Penningtonof New Jersey was elected. His sole qualification was that he was a freshmancongressman so new and unknown that nobody had any reason to be against him.And so a totally unknown man became the leader of the house.Paul here on Mars Hill is hoping to see the same psychology worked with thesesuper religious leaders. They had plenty of gods, but they also knew too much abouttheir gods. They were made in the image of men, and so they had the weaknesses of men, and they were often just as immoral and unjust as men.
Paul was going to educate them about this unknown God who was all one who wastruly God should be. He was going to share the good news of what this God haddone for them, and all mankind in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.The unknown God he proclaimed did not get all the votes, but lets not be so blindthat we conclude, as some do, that Paul's message was a failure. Verse 34 says thatonly a few men followed Paul and became believers, but note, that one of them was amember of the Areopagus. Then it names one well known woman, and the chapterends with the words, "And a number of others." Most men would celebrate forweeks if they could get that kind of fruit from one message among people who havenever before heard the Gospel. So it was not Pentecost with 3 thousand decisions,but so what! It was still an amazingly successful message that brought both menand women into the kingdom of God.If you call this a failure, you are on a different wave length from the GoodShepherd who left the 99 to find one lost sheep, and rejoiced when he did. You havea different value system than our Lord who said that the angels of heaven rejoiceover one sinner who repents. They don't set mute until there are a hundred ormore, for one is worth all the material value of the world and more.Not only was Paul successful in this great message, but he gave to all the rest of history through this message and awareness that the most important subject in lifeis God.Knowing God is the ultimate use of the mind. In a very real sense, no matter howbrilliant people are, they are not really educated until they know God. On the otherhand, no matter how little people may know, they are truly educated when they doknow God. What is the purpose of life? It is to know God. This is true education,and the kind of education that God delights in. Listen to God tell it like it is in Jer.9:23-24. "This is what the Lord says: Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom orthe strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches. But let himwho boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me. That I am theLord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these Idelight, declares the Lord."If you want a A in the school of life, or if you want to be a success as a humanbeing, nothing will cut it except the transition from an unknown God to the Godwho can be known. Knowing God is the goal of life, and making God known is thegoal of the church. This is what we see Paul doing on Mars Hill. Anything short of making God known, and coming to know God, is ultimate failure.One of the most fascinating biographies I have ever read is The Prodigy. It isabout Boris Sidis who was born in Russia in 1857. He was a genius who fled toAmerica where he spent most of his time in the Boston library. His girlfriend talkedhim into going to Harvard. He shocked everyone by graduating in one year with allA's, and he was only 16 years old. Keep in mind, he had a head start, for he knewEnglish, Russian, French, and German at the age of 5, and was already using the

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