Assaulting False Gods

Acts 17:16-34

By Stewart McCarter, August 04, 2019

Making a god in our own image creates worship of a false god.

  1. OBSERVING THE OBVIOUS (Acts 17:16-17)

    1. Paul Saw Idols

      1. Idols around us
        1. “an image or representation fo a god used as an object of worship”
        2. “a religious image or representation of a god used as an oject of worship”
        3. “More statues of gods in Athens than in all the rest of Greece put together”
    2. Paul Was “Provoked”

      1. “paroxuno” to sharpen alongside (to exasperate, easily provoke, stir)
    3. Paul Studied the People

      1. Church people

        1. No riot in the synagogue
        2. Was able to speak several times
      2. Marketplace people

        1. Epicureans (1) Everything happens by chance (2) Death is the end of all (3) Gods are remote from the world and do not care (4) Pleasure is the chief end of man (highest pleasure brings no pain in its wake)
        2. Stoics (1) Everything was God. God is a fiery spirit. Matter dulls the spark. At death the spark returns to God. (2) Everything that happens is the will of God and must be accepted without resentment. (3) Cycle of creation, development, conflagration and starts over.

        Psalm 10:4 In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”

      3. Modern idols a)pleasure b)job c)hobby d)family

  2. STUDIED THE COMMUNITY (Acts 17:18-21)

    1. People's Pastimes
      1. Desire for news and new things

“This is a striking feature of the city of London in the present day. The itch for news, which generally argues a worldly, shallow, or unsettled mind, is wonderfully prevalent: even ministers of the Gospel, negligent of their sacred function, are become in this sense Athenians; so that the book of God is neither read nor studied with half the avidity and spirit as a newspaper...It is no wonder...their sermons be no better than husks for swine. To such the hungry sheep look up, and are not fed.” Adam Clarke, early nineteenth century

(AD 100-300) Gnosticism eventually arose from this kind of arrogance

  1. All matter is evil, and the non-material, spirit-realm is good.
  2. There is an unknowable God (Aeons, lesser gods)
  3. Creator of material world universe is not supreme god, but inferior spirit (Demiurge)
  4. Gnosticism does not deal with sin, only ignorance
  5. One needs GNOSIS (knowledge) for salvation
  1. REFINED HIS MESSAGE (Acts 17:22-34)
  1. Religion without knowledge or relationship
  2. The true God proclaimed
  3. The Who is the Way
  4. Repentance is necessary “Repentance always brings a man to this point: I have sinned. The surest sign that God is at work is when a man says that and means it. Anything less than this is remorse for having made blunders, the reflex action of disgust at himself.” Oswald Chambers

Five churches told to repent (Revelation 2-3)

  1. Ephesus - lost first love
  2. Pergamos - Balaam, idols, immorality
  3. Thyatira - Jezebel, immorality
  4. Sardis - dying congregation
  5. Laodicea - lukewarm

What about you?

  1. Evaluate the false idols in your life. Tear down their altars.
  2. Know the society you live in and reject what is not of God.
  3. Repent of known sin and ask God to show you hidden sin.