Ancient Gods

Ancient Gods

Despite mankind creating gods in our image since ancient times, there’s only ever been ONE God with ONE plan and One Design.

We are going to do a dive into the New Testament and into the book of Acts where we find that the apostle Paul makes it to Athens. Now you history buffs may know some things about Athens, Greece during the days of the early church. This visit can be found in Acts 17:13.

This section of scripture talks about how Paul immediately becomes aware that these people are inundated by a ton of gods. They had gods for everything! Some of the more well known ones are Aphrodite, the goddess of love and desire, Athena, the goddess of wisdom and Zeus, the king of all the gods.

During this time there was an author from the very first century who lived the same time that Paul was living and and his name was Petronius. He was a Roman historian, author and satirist. He said this, “Athens is so full of deities that you may more frequently meet with a god than with a man.” That gives you an idea of how many gods they had.

Greece at this time was infatuated with advances in art, architecture and intellectual brilliance and worship. The people of Athens, the city of Athens was devoted to this idea of worshiping anything that they could possibly think of.

Paul speaks to the people of Athens and you may be surprised to know that he didn’t kick the speech off with a harsh rebuke about how flakey it is to have multiple gods. In fact, he starts by telling them that he acknowledges how serious they take worship. He also acknowledges that in order to cover all the bases they even have an alter to an unknown god. He tells them that there is a reason why they have a longing for more gods. He explains that we are each created with a God sized whole in our hearts that can only be filled by accepting Jesus Christ.The people of Athens were more than happy to add another god to their worship, the had so many what was one more?

The Athenians had animal sacrifices and cult prostitution. They had food sacrifices, festivals and sporting events. All these things were offered to the gods. People had some crazy ways to worship the gods and you may think, wow, that’s interesting, some of that doesn’t sound like it would quite fly in our culture. I assure you it does.

I want you to take out of this message that Paul preaches a couple of things. First of all, the appropriate response to the unknown God, the one true living God that he was telling them about is not to build a temple. It’s not to put up a statue, it’s not to make a nice plaque and put it on the city gate, or even to make a sacrifice of some kind of animal. No, He doesn’t want any of that. What he wants is repentance. He wants you to think differently about Him. He wants your life, He doesn’t want to kill you, He wants your life so He can put life in it. He wants to make you live.

Now, the way these folks lived should sound quite familiar to you. The worshipping of ever kind of idol there is. The sexuality that is so pervasive and the lust for power and the love of money etc is just as prevalent today as then.

Now the people of Athens created gods that would pander to what they wanted. They practiced a manipulation of the gods, and that is if they needed money they would sacrifice to a god that would give it to them. These days our culture has not improved on that much at all. There is the mindset that having God in our life is worthwhile for the things He can do for us. Everything’s hunky-dory as long as we don’t have to change and we can live our lives in the way that it pleases us. Basically the sentiment is if it makes me feel good surely God must be okay with it. Well, let me just go ahead and state very clearly for you that if your idea of God only reflects what makes you happy and what makes you feel good and doesn’t conflict with anything in your life, you’ve got a false God.

Paul was sent to share an unknown God to these people so that they could worship a living God not a manufactured one. He wanted them to know the same thing we need to know. Our thoughts, intentions and actions should be based off of what brings our Father joy! That should be our focus…not the other way around.

We are so blessed that our Heavenly Father wants to be know by us! Let’s tear down the false idols in our hearts and place God on the throne in our lives and watch how we grow spiritually.