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It’s an old phrase still used by many today: We need “To Know God and Make Him Known.” This is certainly a biblical concept that all who are called by Christ should take to heart. Now, in order to know God, you must know Jesus Christ. We are called to know Christ, to understand God, and to make Him known to others; to wisely make disciples, as is set forth in the Great Commission.
The Apostle Paul was great at doing this. Before becoming a Christian, Paul was an educated Jew, who knew what we now call the “Old Testament.” He knew Scriptures well. Before he became known as Paul, he was known as Saul. He had a zeal for God, but he was (to say the least) misguided. He sought to kill Christians, most notably, Stephen. The book of Acts records the life of Paul, his experience on the Road to Damascus, his conversion and his missionary journeys.
On the road to Damascus, Jesus appeared to him, asking him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” Saul learned that in order to know God, you have to know His Son Jesus. Paul becomes an Apostle and takes his knowledge of God on the road; he then makes it his mission in life to make God known to others.
One of my favorite events in the Bible illustrates how Paul did this. It is found in Acts 17. Paul arrives in Athens, where he sees a city full of idols.
Idolatry in the Marketplace
The Greeks in Athens, like the Romans, were polytheistic, meaning that they believed in and worshipped many different gods. The text says that Paul’s spirit “was being provoked within him as he was observing the city full of idols.”
So, Paul began reasoning with many different people. He reasoned with the Jews in the synagogue. He reasoned with Epicureans and he reasoned with the Stoics, two very different philosophies.
When Paul saw the many different idols, he came across an inscription that read, “To an unknown god.” The Greeks, because they were polytheistic, wanted to please all the gods; they wanted all the gods to show them favor. They didn’t want to leave out a god, because that god might bring judgment on those who do not pay tribute to that God. It was like they were saying, “Hey, if there is a god up there that we missed, or a God of which we were unaware, we acknowledge you! Please don’t squash us like a bug!”
Later on, the apostle would get the chance to make Christ known to the Greeks. He would talk to them about this “Unknown God.”
Paul saw many different statues and inscriptions of idols throughout the city of Athens. They were made of stone and other materials.But what exactly is an idol? An idol is not just a statue or some material tribute to a god that does not exist. An idol, rather, is anything we put above God.
You may have heard people talk about how money can be an idol. Fame, food, drugs, sex, another person (even a spouse) — any of these can become idols.
Here are a few questions to ponder:
- What are some present-day idols?
- What potential idols are hindering you from conducting business the way God wants you to conduct it?
- Is business, your company, or the success of your business something you put above God?
In the next few posts and podcasts, we will focus on how to “Know God and Make Him Known.” One of the first things we need to do is, though, is identify the idols that may stand in our way. As Christians we believe there is one God, one Creator, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism. Ephesians 4:6 says that there is “one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all” (ASV).
Today’s Takeaway: We need to come to know this “one God and Father” — and make Him known. First, start by identifying the idols — any other “gods” that are put above the one and only God and Father.