"The God Who Made the World"
What does Paul's sermon in Athens tellus about God? What did Paul want them, and us, to know that is so very important?
The God Who Made the World
A. I have had the privilege of walking around some historic cities throughout Europe. In England, Belgium, and Austria you can see some the most ornate and beautiful church buildings. These are places of worship to God. Sometimes we can make more out of a building than what it is. The building is not holy, but God is. Sometimes I looked at those buildings filled with ornate carvings and gold statues I’ve wondered, how did this become worship?
B. Paul was waiting in Athens, and like many of us, he played the part of a tourist. He started walking around this great city of his day an age. The more he walked the more he was disturbed inside. He saw many idols to gods of all kinds. The city of Athens had long been a religious and educational center. They looked for new ideas to discuss and debate. They saw religion as a great way to explore philosophical ideas. The idols around Athens celebrate most gods of that day and age. So Paul walked among the idols and began to reason with Jews and God-fearing Greeks as well as others in the marketplace. Getting into a debate Paul was invited to a meeting at the Areopagus.
I. The Life of A. W. Dicus
A. Most song writers become interested in music at a very early age. That wasn’t the case with Aaron Wesly Dicus. Born in 1888 and growing up in Indiana, life was simple. Aaron was baptized in 1908 and loved the churches of Christ. When he was baptized he made a commitment that “If the Lord will allow me to get an education, I will us it in service to Him.” It was a vow he kept.
B. Brother Dicus obtained a Ph.D. in Physical Science and was recognized as a specialist in sound and light. He conceived the idea for a power hand saw prior to 1920. He invented a folding toilet seat for small children and an electrical pencil sharpener. In 1918, Mr. Dicus gave up teaching to develop one of his inventions, the first automatic turn signal for automobiles. In the recession of 1922 his business failed and he turned over his rights to his partner.
C. Brother Dicus, with all his work as an inventor and teacher, began to preach in the churches of Christ. In 1950 he became the Dean of Florida College and stayed there until his retirement.
D. In the 1960 a movement called “God is Dead” began at Emory University. Brother Dicus abhorred this teaching. He wrote 35 songs, but only one has really captivated our fellowship. In 1966 he wrote the words and music to what has become a Church of Christ anthem, “Our God, He Is Alive.” While it was not writing in contrast to the God is Dead teaching, it speaks the truth that we hold dear.
II. To The Unknown God
A. We live in a society where religion and politics sometime join hands and sometimes clash. Christians struggle with politics and what they should do. When Paul gave his defense of God he did so in a political arena, but not wanting to become a political debate. It was mostly a place to hear new teachings – religious, philosophical, or political. He was invited after spending time with the people to come to this public place and speak.
B. He did not insult them, but chose that moment to compliment them. “I see you are very religious.” (vs 22-23). If we are going to change the society we live in, it is will be far more effective when we start with positive evangelism. I don’t have to introduce myself to you and begin by telling you why you are wrong in how you worship, where you worship, or even what you worship. Paul saw the idols earlier and was very moved concerning them. I don’t really know what emotions went through him – anger, grief, a desire to share the good news, but when he saw the altar to the “unknown” God, Paul knew he had the open door he needed to tell the story of Jehovah and how God became flesh and dwelt among us, was crucified not for crimes but for our sin and then how in the power of Spirit was raised from the dead never to die. This is the one true God, the only God. Paul wanted them to know that God was not about buildings or in need of man, but was about loving his creation and bringing us back into relationship with him by our faith and repentance.
C. It was from his grass roots message taken to the Jews and God-fearing Gentiles that brought about the invitation to tell more in this public arena.
D. The book of Genesis begins, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” There are many religions in the world today. There are many who claim no religion. The truth is that “there is beyond the azure blue, a God concealed from human sight. He tinted the skies with heavenly hue and framed the world with his great might.” Brethren, let us not be ashamed of our God. In the face of political correctness the world wants to silence the voice of Christians. Now is the time to stand up and shout, “Our God is alive!” The religions of the world may have some good teachings, but none of them will give eternal life.
E. Our God did something that no false idol could do – He sacrificed for us. Think about the religions of the world. How many of them teach about their god sacrificing for them. Instead it about appeasing some god to change the weather or sacrificing to some god for a blessing of life. Our God sacrificed himself for us. “Our God, whose Son upon a tree, a life was willing there to give, that he from sin might set men free and evermore with Him could live.”
F. Like Paul it is time that we shout from the mountaintops that we are children of God. That Christ is the Son of God and in him we live, move and have our being.
A. Dear Editor—I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus? Virginia
B. Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the scepticism of a sceptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.
C. Let me close by changing that sentiment. Yes, Virginia, there is a God. Many times our friends are wrong. They are sceptical because so many don’t believe in what they cannot see. Seeing isn’t believing, believing is seeing. Yes, Virginia, there is a God, He is alive, in Him we live and we survive. From dust our God created man. He is our God, the great I AM.
D. Are you in need of the grace and forgiveness of the living God? Do you need to rededicate your life to the living God? Are you in need of our love and prayers of support? If you are ready to accept our God, then I ask you to come as we stand and sing.