Thursday, April 7, 2016

Religion without Christ

Read Acts 17.

Athens may have been the debate capital of the world at that time.  The city was full of religious beliefs.  Each, of course, was man-made and presented as one more philosophy.  Idols were crafted to represent each of them.  They worshipped gods, but they did not know God.  When Paul began teaching about Jesus, it sounded so strange and different that they gave him an audience.  The content of Paul's message provides the core elements of true Christianity; the essence of the Bible's teaching from Genesis to Revelation.  What did the Apostle say to these religious philosophers of his day?

1. The true God is the Creator of all things. (v.24a)
Creation is not merely an issue concerning the opening chapters of Genesis.  Creator is who God is.  He did this, according to the Scriptures, out of nothing by His word of command.  Any other view then is a belief in a man-made, unproven, philosophical theory and is incompatible with Christ.  Indeed, in his letter to the Colossians, Paul identifies Jesus as the Creator (Colossians 1:16).  Any other belief then is not Christianity.

2. The true God is spirit. (vv.24b, 29)
Jesus said, "God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth." (John 4:24)  Paul mentioned this fact in contrast to the multiplicity of temples and idols that had been erected for all the false gods and objects of their prayers.  The God of the Bible does not live in buildings and objects.  Worshiping and praying to anyone or anything else is not Christianity.

3. The true God is self-sufficient. (v.25a)
He does not need humans to provide anything for Him.  Until we deal with our sin problem, there is no amount of good works that we can do to earn His favor.  Isaiah 64:6, "...all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.  We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away."  So, all the sacrifices and offerings made to appease a false god is not Christianity.

4. The true God is the giver of life. (v.25b)
As Creator, either God is the First Cause of life and breath of all things or He is not.  It is clear that the statements in the Bible stand in contradiction to man-made theories regarding a "big bang" or "primeval ooze."  Explosions do not create, they destroy.  Attributing life and breath to any other original source is not Christianity.

5. The true God is sovereign. (v.26)
He is in control and Lord of all.  He set the species to reproduce after their kind.  There may be, and are, variations but still within their kind.  He established the places for life and living.  The Greeks were not in charge of their own destiny.   Man-made philosophies of evolution and humanism are in opposition to Christianity.

6. The true God is judge of all things. (v.31a)
There is an appointed time when every human who has ever lived will stand in judgment before this Almighty God.  Those who have given their lives to Jesus will have been previously reward for their service to Christ and will not face this judgment.  Jesus said, "The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son." (John 5:22).  Revelation 20:11-15 describes the horror of those who trusted in false beliefs being cast into a place of eternal punishment.  Omitting this ultimate consequence of sin is not Christianity.

What is the point of the message?  "That they should seek God..." (v.27) and " he commands all people everywhere to repent" (v.30).

No comments:

Post a Comment