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May 18, 2022 8:00 am
Listen carefully and I is a God. I doesn't matter what it is I believe the pursuit of wealth for wealth sake and I don't convene uncontrollable appetite for sex for drugs for alcohol and I can view religion and idol can be even a Christian service. Anything that takes God's place is an idol, and welcome to leading the way with Dr. Michael. You, the apostle Paul took a trip to Athens as he walked through the city. He saw images and statues of gods of every shape and size. He saw the everywhere and started setting up the boycott or telling people he was offended. Paul publicly declared the truth about his knowledge of the one true God, and honestly that's not unlike today, people are searching to fill spiritual voids with material or physical, even emotional substitutes. A timeless message from Dr. Yousef on leading the way. I do remember to that leading the way is listener supported.
So stand with Dr. Michael Yousef in prayer and financial support. When you visit LTW.org, but may first summarize to you. Chapter 17 verses 1 to 15 first 15 verses of chapter 17 of the book of acts.
Paul goes to Berea first persecuted him, opposed by the Jews, the justice of the Thessalonica under do the same thing to him believes Timothy and Silas in Luke the right of the author love the one who's writing the book of acts by this branch of the Holy Spirit who lives in Thessalonica, and then he goes all to Athens to go along what was known as the cultural capital of the Roman Empire would tell you a few things about Athens Athens, like so many of our cities today boasted about its rich philosophical heritage boasted about the universities that have schools of higher education that they have a nursery.
Athens, like so many of our cities today bolstering always boasted about the art and the music on the literature, the Athenians lived actually on their past history they haven't done anything for the present and the future talk about the time of Paul, but they lived on their past reputation of being the Empire's intellectual capital. The intellectual center of the Roman Empire. Paul lands in Athens as a tourist. Because really what they were doing. They just smuggle them out of Thessalonica because it was going to kill him.
So they smuggled him out the ghost Athens all along is a tourist, but he ends up being the evangelists.
How did he do that. I have three things I want to share with you and I pray that the Holy Spirit of God don't imprint those on your heart run imprinted on my heart. Paul's model of reacting to the idolatrous condition of his day that will be your model and my model and reacting to the idolatrous condition of our day.
First of all, Paul became distressed over their idolatry.
Secondly, Paul was become determined to introduce them to Jesus. And thirdly, Paul had a definitive message to the empty hearts.
Paul's distress over their idolatry.
Why was he distressed, blog friend, I want to tell you something if you know Jesus Christ and if you are in deep appreciation of the grace of God and the favor of God and the mercy of God that snatched out of the jaws of maternal death and damnation. You should be. And if you're not there something wrong with you. You should be distressed over the condition of the unsaved. Paul's reaction should be our reaction when we come face-to-face with ignorance of the truth.
Paul's reaction should be our reaction when we see our societies smothered with idolatry book of verse 16 of chapter 17 of the book of acts. The Bible said that Paul was greatly distressed. In fact, probably some other translation said hole was provoked by grief and nation. Paul was distressed at the fact the men and women who are created in God's own image that men and women who were created to glorify God. Men and women who are created God and bring honor to his name.
Instead, they were honoring statues and idols that I made idol.
I wanted to listen carefully because I want to explain to you some more things about that an idol is a God substitute.
That's an idol. It doesn't matter what it is. What is primitive or sophisticated any God substitute in the life of an individual is an idol that has to go and I will is any person or anything that occupies the place that belongs to God alone and I can be.
The pursuit of wealth for wealth sake and I don't convene political ideology and idol can be uncontrollable appetite for sex, drugs for alcohol and idol can be a person of husband or wife or child of the father, mother, and I can be that endless recreation and endless desire for pleasure seeking and idol can be work for work's sake and work for achievements sake and I can be at church and I know can be religion and idol can be even a Christian service and idol can be television and idol can be sport and idol can be a leisure.
Anything that takes God's place is an idol missing. Going to tell you the city of Jerusalem, city of Jerusalem did not have the idols that the city of Athens had the Lord Jesus Christ comes up on the Mount of olives and he looks down upon the city and he was equally distressed and he begins to weep over Jerusalem. So what I minute, but Jerusalem had no I've always yes the idols were worse than those in Athens because the idols of Jerusalem were false religion. The idols of Jerusalem were false rituals. The idols of Jerusalem were people going to charge I'm speaking to God with their lips, but the thought away from him. That's why Jesus wept. And that is why Paul was distressed to tell you something, beloved friends until you and I become distressed over sin in our society. God will not move until you and I become provoked by electronic forms until you are not a broken over the I trick with all its forms until you and I are able to wait. I trick in all its forms until you are not inwardly be indignant in all its forms until you and I become grief stricken in Jesus Christ who denies that salvation is through Jesus alone until you are not become a poured by those who claim to be Christians, and yet they deny the very heart of the gospel until you are inwardly wounded by the apathy of the Christian community until you are na´ve come to the point in our lives doing that we will not understand acts 1716 that Paul was greatly distressed, but one of the great things about the apostle Paul.
He did not allow the stress to lead him into discouragement did not allow being distressed was sin and idolatry to lead him into the spare he did not allow his distress over idolatry to lead him into depression.
He did not allow it to lead him into a sense of hopelessness. No. Which brings me to the second point, Paul distress made him determined to introduce them to Jesus would tell you something if you ever have a sense of distress over the condition in which we live is going to lead you either to hopelessness or is going to motivate you to do something about the situation, our sense of distress must motivate us to lovingly confront people with the gospel. Or we will become indifferent and would become apathetic. Our sense of inward provocation Muslim leaders to lovingly invite men and women to have an encounter with the living God, or else we will be discouraged and become unfruitful and effective for God, our sense of indignation must bring us under the conviction that these men and women are so desperate for what you know what I know Paul understood. Paul understood that in a culture where conflicting philosophies and conflicting thoughts that are fighting that are at war for our minds and the minds of our children for our hearts and the hearts of our children that these conflicting philosophies that are fighting is no time for the Christian to retreat is no time to say well I don't have anything to offer. I don't know how to get into that war. I can't do anything about it. No no no no in Athens Greece in the time of Paul.
There were many conflicting philosophical schools. The two dominant ones where the Epicureans and the storks the Epicurean philosophy was established by Epicureans 342 and 270 BC and he lived at the same time as the founder of the storks on when it comes about in a minute. What is the Epicurean start well. The Epicurean start that indulgence is the key to life. They taught that pleasure is the highest good. The Epicurean profess to believe in the gods but then they immediately gonna say that because I'm not really interested in men, the Epicureans taught that pleasure and the pleasure that is most worthy of pursuing was a lie of tranquility alive that is free from passion and pain and above all free from the fear of death and then they going to teach that there is no life after death. When you die, it's all over the storks on the other hand almost had an opposite kind of philosophical approach to life.
The storks were opposite to the Epicureans, this philosophical school established by a man named Zina who came from Cyprus and lived in Greece he lived in 342, 260 BC, give or take. In fact, Epicureans and Zina both were contemporaries the storks with fatalistic there were pantheistic, the storks taught that God was the world's soul in the world was God's body at its best, stoicism was marked with moral earnestness, but all it was marred was spiritual pride to the storks virtue was the supreme good man they said should live above passion. People should be moved by greed or joy or pain or pleasure.
I do not make a good stork.
Some of you do. I don't that pass me by any friends was a key to life. They said apathy was the storks locked in life.
No wonder they call Paul about no wonder both the Epicureans and the storks there were aghast at the thought that the dog who created the world became a man and then he hung on the cross and died to pay for the sins of people who believe in him and then he rose from the dead, in order that he comes back one day to judge all of humanity that were aghast that this preaching, but Paul was determined to introduce them to Jesus and therefore he preached a definitive message to their empty hearts. Please listen to me carefully. The reason men and women anywhere do not believe worship and obey the true God is because they do not want to know believe and worship the true God's choice. God made himself known in so many ways, but people abruptly and consciously reject him and they don't want to believe in him is the true God.
I want to illustrate what I mean here. Look at American society. More than 90% of the population claim to believe in God but if you go up to one of those people and you say to them, God will judge you and you will stand before his judgment seat one day, probably 60% of all no not this God, not this good.
If you would go to them and say that anyone who rejected the Lord Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven as the only Savior and Lord. And if you reject them you gonna spend a tentative and tall man got to spend eternity in pain. Spend a ton at the end will grant you to spend eternity and damnation all know that God we don't want to judge mental God. We want to God that they design is so that he is design the way they wanted. They wanted God that they can fashion the way they one infection. I mean, you know, just like you have a designer jeans and get a designer God says that is the world you have ever such a God or you have a Calvin Klein God. That's our culture today and Paul's message was in effect though you rejected the God revealed himself in his creation and chosen instead to worship the creatures and worship other gods hearts are empty and you are discontented with your gods, though, you refused to worship the creator. And yet you continue to worship his creatures and his creation though you try to fill your minds on your heart, with all philosophical thought about God and yet you have a God shaped vacuum in your life that only the creator God can fill that is why Paul goes on to say, that's the reason why there will be no excuse in the day of judgment. Nobody can ever stand in the day of judgment say God you give me a raw deal.
No one no one listen carefully. Please, the sun worshiper will be asked on the day of judgment.
Why did you reject the creator of the sun, the pleasure seeker will be asked on the day of judgment. Why did you not worship the one who created all pleasures for us, those who worship at the shrine of science and technology will be asked on the day of judgment. Why did you do not worship the God placed all knowledge on earth for our enjoyment at our convenience and for our blessing. There is no excuse for anyone on the day of judgment, says the apostle Paul and Paul's message begins with the creator God and ends with calling them to repent of the sin of rejecting God. Paul's message begins with the creator of life, the sustainer of life, the rule of life, and he ends up with the rightful demand by that creator to be worshiped alone. Paul's message begins with the owner of all creation and ends up with the owners rightful demands a response from those whom he made those whom he created and those will be sustaining this message is this that all idolatry, whether it is primitive or sophisticated all idolatry. Whether it is mental or mental all idolatry, whether material or imaginary all forms of idolatry inexcusable by God. There one of the biggest idolatry of our day is the trying of to minimize the goals between the creator and his creation, minimizing the golf between the creator and the creatures so that we can bring you under our control.
But the truth is this beloved friends, listen carefully, modern-day idolatry that says that we are gods with a small G will be severely judged by God.
Modern-day idolatry that says that God is in us all and we all in God will be severely judged on the day of judgment. The Abyssinians have acknowledged that in having that inscription in the altar that says to the unknown God never acknowledge their ignorance of the true God and here the apostle Paul had just provided them with the evidence of ignorance. Look at verse 30 of acts 17 verse 30 is what Paul said. Ignorance is no excuse that's abusive translation, that's exactly what it means. Ignorance is no excuse for God will never, never left himself without a witness but it is in his mercy, God is giving them a second chance.
It is in his mercy that is giving them another opportunity to repent and ask for his forgiveness is in his mercy that is going to withhold judgment little longer in order to give them one more time.
Repent and seek his forgiveness. I am so glad he gave me a chance. But not only that, Paul said God provided proof that the day of judgment is coming and that the judge is going to be no other than Jesus Christ, and the greatest proof was to raise him from the dead after three days in the tomb saying the resurrection is God's ultimate proof.
The judgment is coming up on the living and the dead.
Everyone of us going to face the judgment of God may be someone here today said I thought all religions are the same. I thought all roads lead to heaven. I thought all things are just equal and today I heard is only one way to go to be confused by all the idolatry in our culture and all the philosophical mumbo-jumbo in our culture you been ignoring the Lord of life is calling you today to surrender to repent of your sins and receive his forgiveness. You are listening to leading the way with Dr. Michael Gisela. Perhaps you were brought up to think and believe that all religions are the same but today you feel the Lord of life calling your name.
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