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September 7, 2020 8:00 am
When we supposed to do about the position we face in the world listen to Adrian Rogers what we did it all we do wring our hands are up in despair or are we to give a credible response to these challenges across of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in this message. I will tell you what we are to do is to raise the flag of our notice dissolute others to believe in the Lord. Welcome to London worth finding true profound truth.
Simply stated by pastor and author Adrian Rogers. The opposition you and I face in this pagan world.
As believers in Jesus is really nothing new. In acts 17 Paul finds himself surrounded by the pagan society of Athens Greece.
Yet, the ones who oppose the gospel in this passage are much like those who opposed the gospel today.
Paul's response to this opposition is a picture of standing firm in a pagan world. If you have your Bible turn to ask chapter 17 will begin in verse 16. Once again, here's Adrian Rogers five in the book of acts chapter 17 and when you found it.
I want to say a word to you about something that's very meaningful to me and really very disturbing to me. And here's the fall we are moving away from a Christian consensus in America. That is true that there are many who love the Lord Jesus Christ is true that there are many who believe the Bible to be the word of God and Jesus Christ, the only Savior but those who do surveys like the Barna Institute and others have told us something that is very alarming. The Barna research report said that nearly 2/3 adult in America contend that the choice of one religious faith over another lesson. The choice of one religious faith over another is irrelevant and why do they say this because they say all religions teach the same basic lessons about life and increasingly, Americans are believing that Jesus Christ is fine and wonderful in the but he is only one option among many options and what were calling that today is pluralism and that we are called upon to accept all religions as equal and somehow were un-American. If we don't put our arms around others and other faiths and say your religion is just as good as mine. As a matter fact.
They tell us that tolerance is wrong. We're not supposed to tolerate them, for that assumes that we don't agree with them but that's okay. Now they want to go beyond tolerance and acceptance and approval and it is an insinuation that we think something is wrong with their faith.
If we even tolerate. Now, ladies and gentlemen, what awaited all we do wring our hands are give up in despair, or are we to give a credible response to these challenges to the cross of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in this message.
I would tell you that what we are to do is to raise the flag of our faith and expect others to salute others to believe in the Lord that we believe in. Now the episode that I'm going to talk to you about today is taken here from the 17th chapter of the book of acts the apostle Paul is in the great city of Athens, the intellectual and cultural center of the ancient world is waiting for his comrades to join him so Timothy and Silas are on their way.
And Paul is alone in this big city had never been alone in a big city back to this the test of your character is what you do when you're alone in a big city. Paul is alone in this big city he's waiting) and so while he's in the city of Athens. He's walking the streets of Athens's spirit is stirred within him. He find something moving because he sees the depth of depravity and the wickedness of that city. Paul saw false teachers who were paddling soul narcotic for the sole. He saw pagan temples that were filled with empty people now a reminder that ancient Athens was the cultural center of that ancient world the glory of Athens was overwhelming. I visited modern Athens many times and I always want to go to see the ruins of the Acropolis to see there the Parthenon and all of the other things that were left over there from the city that was there in Paul's time, and even before Paul's time, Paul had come to the city at what was called the Golden age of Pericles in this city was absolutely overwhelming to see.
Paul looked up in a mountain called the Acropolis and there sitting on the Acropolis was a most architecturally perfect building wrap that man is ever created. The Parthenon dedicated to the sex goddess Athena and Paul saw the Parthenon that was there and then. Not only was it the cultural center of the world, but Athens was the intellectual center of the ancient world. It was the intellectual capital of mankind are literature, philosophy. This was the stuff that ancient Athens was made it was the native home of Socrates and Plato names that are spoken with reverence in the realm of philosophy. Not only was it the native home of Socrates and Plato, but it became the adopted home of Aristotle and Epicurus and Zeno and these full loss occurs were there.
As a result of this cultural superiority as a result of this intellectualism, it was a city that was filled with cynicism. It was a city that was filled with snobbery.
It was a city that was filled with debate and Paul is there and Paul is going to share Jesus Christ and is going to meet strong resistance and were gonna learn some lessons because what happened so long ago. Brand is happening today in our society. This Scripture that we go to studying is not just what has happened is what is happened is not just what God has said the other so long ago, is what God is saying to our society today because history is like a broken phonograph record, it just keeps repeating itself.
There are three things that Paul met in ancient Athens. Those are the three things that you will meet whether you live in Chicago, New York, Cincinnati, Dallas, Miami, a Memphis what three things did Paul meet there in Athens so long ago. First of all, he met superstitious idolatry. Secondly, he met sterile orthodoxy. Thirdly, he met sophisticated philosophy and God gave him an answer for these not, let me tell you what you're going to experience today. You stand for your faith in a pagan society and get rent and get your children right because friends all around. Here's what will happen as you go out to live for Christ. Point number one, you will experience challenges to your faith, you will experience challenges to your faith.
Don't get the idea that you're just going to sally forth and not be challenged today. If you are a Bible believing Christian, you will experience challenges your faith. What did Paul experience is a challenge of our toad number one superstitious idolatry now look, if you will, and accept the 17 and verse 16. Now while Paul waited for them at Athens that Silas and Timothy's waiting now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him when he saw the city fully given over to idolatry and then go down looking verse 22 then Paul stood in the midst of Mars Hill and said you meant Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are to superstitious. There were idols everywhere pagan images everywhere. Someone said it was easier to find a false God in Athens that was to find a human being that some 13,000 different gods that they worship in ancient Athens we say past.
I thought you said that they would be like our day. We don't have 30,000 different gods know we have more wearable this city in every major city in America is still with idolatry. The difference is we give our idols different names. What is an idol give down big plane and strike an idol is anything that you love more fear, more certain, more our trust more than Almighty God. An idol is what ever is in first place in your life that is an island.
Whatever your heart clings to what ever your heart trust in that is your idol by matching this that idolatry is the greatest sin that a man a woman a boy or girl can commit. Why because it transgresses the greatest commandment.
What is the greatest commandment, thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart all my soul I strangle my mind.
That's the first and great commandment.
Idolatry therefore has to be the greatest sin because it breaks the greatest commandment that I said that we have perhaps more gods than they did in that day and will face those got to face them. We just change the names and names of been changed to protect the guilty. Let me give you some of the modern dogs that have old names. For example, the God of materialism that a God of materialism. They didn't call it materialism. They called this God Mammon Mammon.
Another million, the city who worship the God of Mammon. Their lives are devoted to wealth. Their lives are devoted to business. Their lives are devoted to success and achievement. If you would be absolutely honest if I would ask you what is the major thing in your life. It would be your possession you make to you, happy God, begotten can take 2nd Pl., God is not some sort of moonlighting God with a duplex were thrown many of you worship the God of Mammon is only one God is another God, the God of alcohol.
We say that a God just ancient people gave this God to name his name was Bacchus, the God of liquor, the God of alcohol, the God of drunkenness, drugs and debauchery we worship in America, the God of sex they gave us God amazing. Her name was Beavis. Aphrodite I think this was the sex goddess, the God of sexual lust and promiscuity in America is not sexy God. We live in a sex saturated society and now it seems like the sluice gates of hell of been broken on us today and around we are immersed in the swamp of adultery and fornication and pornography was they call a victimless crime is no such thing as a victimless crime.
What about the God of violence. We worship the God of violence. Look at some of the video games your kids are playing they worship the God of violence. They just gave him the name Mars, which was the God of power and strength, and revenge.
When you say I'm more intellectual than that, but perhaps you worship the God of wisdom and knowledge. They named this God Sophie, the goddess of wisdom, and they worshiped it and today we worship at the shrine of our computers and our universities idolatry. Paul faced idolatry American space idolatry. Anything you love more fear, more trust, more certain, more than God is an idol Jesus said seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, we have no right to worship anything other than Almighty God. What is an idol and I was just a magnified sin a man takes his worst vices and lust and he worshiped him, and nothing is too good for a man's God. The apostle Paul tells us about it in Romans chapter 1 verse 24 wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lust of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves who changed in that word limit means exchange the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature more than the create for who is blessed forever. I would ask a question which would be easier for a person to do own television, radio, and the newspaper today say something disparaging about somebody's race and ethnicity are to blaspheme God.
Now, don't misunderstand illustration. I'm not saying that we ought to say something derogatory about somebody's race or ethnicity. I'm not talking in favor racism but I will ask a question which would be easier it would be far easier to blaspheme God and the say something derogatory about some human being is that not right.
Why because we worship the create tour less than we worship the creature. Now Paul, first of all, he faced sophisticated idolatry.
And when you leave this building. Friend, you get to face it head on.
The second thing Paul thinks this date in Athens was self-righteous orthodoxy. Looking verse 17 therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews and with the_. This did about persons and in the market daily with them that met him.
Now Paul is not facing idolatry.
He's facing those who believe in the one true God but they are self-satisfied, they do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord. These are the respectable sentence. The apostle Paul had been the same kind of a self-righteous big deal. He met the Lord Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus and had his life transformed which are going to meet many who may not be open about idolaters, but they going to be self-righteous and then I can see the need of the Savior is the third category that the apostle Paul met this day in Athens and this was sophisticated philosophy. These are not the superstitious idolaters.
These are not the self-righteous Orthodox, but these are they who see themselves as intellectual giants were going to face those looking to accept the 70 verse 18 then certain philosophers of the Epicureans and of the Stoics encountered him some said, what will this babbler say others some he seems to be a setter forth of strange God's because he preached under them. Jesus and the resurrection not already told you that happens was not only the cultural but the intellectual center of the world at that time and philosophers clustered to the city philosophy abounded. What is philosophy.
The word limit means a level knowledge. Somebody said philosophy is that system that tells us what we already know and words. We can understand has philosophy met the need of a man's heart. Let me redo what some noted philosopher said about philosophy scope in our world-famous philosopher got to the bottom line and he said this life is a curse of endless cravings and endless unhappiness Wilbraham philosophy with a bed and room sleep brilliant man Julius Huxley wrote this. It seems to me he's looking at at the human race is as it seems to me that we are a cancer on the globe. That's philosophy Bertram Russell arrogant, conceited but honest enough to say philosophy proved a washout to me. H. G. Wells, the noted historian and philosopher said this and I quote, unless there is a more abundant scheme before mankind. This game of space and time is a bad joke and laugh raising across the mysteries our own Dr. Robert G.
Lee, former pastor this church said philosophy is a chunk of cloud bank butted with the night when he knew that philosophy the level knowledge can never satisfy the deepest longing of the human heart. And here's the apostle Paul denigrates it Athens and he sees this idolatry. He sees this orthodoxy. He sees this philosophy. What kind of philosophy wasn't well. There was, first of all, the philosophy of pleasure. Looking accepting 18 then certain philosophers of the Epicurean who were the Epicureans, Epicurus lived about 300 years before Christ, and he had a philosophy that said this simply that you really can't make sense out of life. The search for pure truth by reason is is impossible. You never going to find absolute proof. And so what Epicurus said is this enjoy yourself.
This is all you have. This is all you can be sure and so he says the wisest thing is pleasure based on your own personal experience and we talked a bit about Epicureans, lovers of pleasure. We see this all around. What is there philosophy is just a philosophy of pleasure is not a fact once it eat drink and be merry for more you die.
That's the Epicurean alcoves. This stuff is not new to us. If you want them only as dusty as things around. There was the philosophy of pleasure taught by the Epicureans, go back to verse 18. Again there was also the philosophy of prime and certain philosophers of the Epicureans and of the Stoics encountered. Now, who were the Stoics. They were led by philosopher name Zina what sort of a form of fatalism that everything is just happening to us that we really don't have any real choice.
They were really pantheists, that is believing that everything is God and God is everything in, and therefore we are just called up and swept up in and live has no real vital meaning just sit back and endure.
It was really a form of intellectual pride and they just work for both about that. They had some answer. It was self-sufficiency built on nihilism. Stoicism just sitting around the Stoics and the Epicureans are with us today. The twin philosophies of pleasure and pride with his ancient gods with us today.
These philosophies are with us today. This sterile I cannot see that there is no need of God is with us today. How did Paul deal with this opposition, and knowing that these philosophies are with us today.
How can we stand against them. Will your answers tomorrow. In particular, standing firm in the pagan world. In the meantime if you have questions about who Jesus is what he means to you. How to begin a relationship with God through him, go to our Discover Jesus email@example.com/radio you find resources and materials that can answer questions you may have LWF.org/radio and click Discover Jesus now if you like to order a copy of today's message. Call us at 1877 love God and mentioned the title of the message standing firm in the pagan world. This lesson is also part of the powerful series challenges to the cross for the complete collection, all six insightful messages: number 1877 love God, go to LWF.org/radio or you can write us at love worth finding box 38, 600 Memphis, TN 38183 thanks for joining us in our study of God's word today. Here's a quote from Pastor Rogers to think about the test of your character is what you would do if you were alone in a great city wickedness and vice, does that mean to your heart which you stand firm as Paul did. Be sure to tune in tomorrow for the profound conclusion of this lesson right here love worth you have to hear what a listener in Maine wrote to us. Not long ago I love to lift weights while listening to pastor Adrian Rogers. It's like I'm building my spiritual muscles to love that we appreciate your using these messages to equip yourself with spiritual strength in the pagan world. And when you donate to the ministry this month. We want to send you our current issues. Click collection. I think the really help. This bundle includes powerful messages from Adrian Rogers such as this character count and tolerance.
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