What Do You Know About God?

Bible Book: Acts  17 : 22-34
Subject: God, Knowledge of; God, Nature of; Knowing God; Greatness of God

Acts 17:22-34

A Sunday school teacher had a new boy in his class one Sunday. The boy seemed a bit confused by what he heard. After the session ended the teacher asked the young fellow a few questions about himself. He learned that the boy had not been in church or Sunday school before. He knew nothing about God or the Christian faith.

If you had ten minutes to write on a sheet of paper what you know about God, what would you write? In reality, many people don’t know much about God.

The book of Acts states that Paul came to the city of Athens in Greece. He saw an entire city given over to idolatry. In the line of idols to many Greek gods, Paul saw one statute with the inscription, "To the Unknown God." Paul began to speak to the people about the God that they didn’t know.

The background of this story interests us. In the previous chapter Paul had been in the city of Philippi where he had experienced a revival in a jailhouse. The Philippian jailer and his entire house, as well as others earlier, had been won to faith in Christ. From there Paul traveled a few miles to Thessalonia, or the modern city of Salonica. The Jews expelled Paul from their city, and he moved on to Berea. After a few days the ones who had driven Paul from Thessalonia came to Berea and opposed Paul. He soon found himself in the Capitol City of Athens.

After a time in the Jewish synagogue, the philosophers of Athens heard about Paul. He appeared before that group of intelligent men who represented the Epicureans and Stoics who dated back to about 300 B.C. with their philosophies. They were the "intelligencia" of Greece. They were the Oxford, Yale, Harvard men of the day. Paul preached to that group of people and had good results.

Interestingly, Paul made only one trip to Athens, the political capitol of Greece. Two reasons may be given for that one preaching mission. One, Athens was a town of less than 10,000 people at the time. Other cities like Corinth with 200,000 and Ephesus with 300,000 appealed more to Paul. Of course, Rome with one million was the "center of the world" and the world capitol. Antioch in Syria had about 200,000 or more. Jerusalem had her thousands. And Paul made preaching journeys to the large areas. A second reason for only one journey of Paul to Athens is that the Holy Spirit didn’t lead him back to that small city. He stayed sensitive to God’s will for his life and went where God wanted him to be. But Paul did give to the people of Athens the truth of God and the redemption that  is in Christ. We also may give a clear message of God wherever we may be. Look at the truths which we may declare about God.

I. God Is The Creator

In Acts 17:24 Paul declared, "God made the world and all things therein." The word "world" that Paul uses is the word "cosmos." That speaks of all the created order, the universe.

The various gods of the Greeks had their own little "corner." The "unknown God" that Paul declared to the people on Mars Hill is the God of the universe. He has made all things.

The "cosmos" or world is bigger than we can imagine. The text states "world," which is the entire "cosmological order" - the universe. The created world is BIG!!! Try walking through some mountains or try crossing a desert or go through a forest on foot and soon you’ll be convinced that even the planet earth is a big place. This part of God’s creation where we live is 25,000 miles in circumference. Look beyond us and we see a star that we call the sun. The sun is 92 million miles away from us. That part of God’s creation is about 800 thousand miles in diameter or nearly three million miles in circumference.

The nearest star to us other than our sun is four light years in the distance. That’s a long way from us as you consider that light travels at about 186,000 miles per second. We live on the Milky Way galaxy that has about 250 billion stars or suns. The nearest galaxy to us is one half million light years in the distance. The galaxy that is farther away than any other known group of stars according to scientists  is eight billion light years in the distance. Again, the scientific world says that something like 250 billion galaxies are out in space. Now let’s remember the text which states that God "made or created the cosmos."

Years ago Dr. Johannes Kepler taught math and astronomy in a German university. In his study he made a small world with the earth and its planets encircling the sun. An atheist friend came to see Dr. Kepler one day. As he looked at the "toy" in the small laboratory, he asked, "Who made that?" The University professor answered, "No one. It made itself." The fellow said, "Nonsense! Who made that beautiful thing?"

Dr. Kepler said, "My friend, you say that a toy can not make itself. Do you think a universe with all its complexities can come about by its own power?"

The people of Mars Hill represented the highest civilization of the world in their day. They needed to know about God who is the Creator. People need to hear this truth again in our time.

The world has never come about by an accident or by evolution or by a certain movement of atoms. The designed has a designer, the created a creator. The Bible tells this fact from Genesis to Revelation. Moses declared that truth. And so did Nehemiah and the prophets and David. The New Testament writers declare that God has made the world. The last verse of chapter four in the book of Revelation declares that God made the universe "for his own pleasure." The Lord takes pleasure in what he has made because he and he only has brought the universe or "one verse" into existence from nothing. God is the creator. That’s the first truth that Paul proclaimed.

II. God Is Sovereign

A. He is the ruler over all things.

In verse 24 Paul declared, "God is the Lord of heaven and earth." The Caesars in the time of the N.T. had given themselves that name which means, "lord." But they never were nor could be the Lord of the universe. In more modern times the "Czars" of Russia had that name which means, "lord." The "Kaizers" had the word that meant, "lord." Kings give us the idea of one who is ruling. And yet, we know that only God is the Sovereign Lord. All other leaders are "time servers." They come and go. God remains eternally as the Lord and Ruler.

B. As Lord and Sovereign we read that God is self-sufficient.

Paul declared in Acts 17:25 that "God needs nothing." That is, he is sufficient. He can get along without any of us. He is the eternal one. There never has been a time when God was non-existent. He made it well even before creation. Even before God put man upon this earth and even before God through Christ made the angels, our Triune God has lived eternally.

C. As Lord and Sovereign we know that God is gracious.

He is good to us. Acts 17:25 states that "He gives to all life and breath and all things." God supplies all that we need. God made the world. He made us. He gives us our breath. We don’t create the air. We have not created the ground or water.

God has supplied all that we need for our well being and for life. He makes the rain to fall upon the just and the unjust. God gives us capacities to make "things" and do our work. He is gracious to us. We need to know this wonderful truth.

D. God is the Sovereign Lord who has control over the nations.

Paul stated in Acts 17:26 that he ‘sets up the bounds of our habitation." God knew where the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Persians, Greeks, Romans, and all other nations would be. The Lord is the one who has eventual control of the destinies of all nations.

E. God is the Lord who has made man from "one blood."

Verse 26 tells about the unity of the human race. We all have our roots in Adam. God created man in his own image and breathed into him the breath of life and man became a living soul. We have descended not from some creature or one cell animal, but from the gracious hand of God. Thus, God is gracious to us.

One pastor grew up in a rural community. He had a friend who grew up in the same community. That friend went to England and received his Ph.D. from Oxford. He came back to the U.S.A. and served   as a professor in a university. He discarded his Christian faith. One day the doctors told that professor that he had terminal cancer. That man soon realized that he faced eternity. He returned to the roots of his childhood faith and embraced the faith that he thought he never needed. He discovered, although late in life, that God is gracious. Yes, God is gracious and all of us need him!

III. God Is The Redeemer

He is the Savior. He wants us to trust him, to believe in him, to have personal faith in him. We may wonder how God can be our redeemer. Paul gives the answer to that significant question.

A. God is able to redeem us because he is near us.

Acts 17:27 states a profound truth. Paul states that people "might feel after God, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us." We can "search for God" because he puts that desire within the heart of all who will be honest with themselves and with God.

We can "find God" because he has already "found us." Adam and Eve learned that God was near them and that he found them. We might say that we find the Lord, but in reality, God shows himself to us.

Sometimes we say that God is "out there." The letter "t" can be removed from the word "there." Then we discover that God is "here," not "there." He is near all of us. Psalms 139 states that if we take the wings of the dove and go to the ends of the earth, that God is "there." And when we get "there," God is already there or here. Thus God is omnipresent. He is in all places and he knows all things. He is omniscient. He is the God who is omnipotent. He is able to do all things. He can redeem us because he has sent Jesus Christ for that purpose.

Paul quoted one of the ancient poets of Greece when he said, "In God, we live and move and have our being." That is, we live because of God’s love for us. No one lives to himself and no one dies to himself. We are dependent upon God for our physical as well as spiritual life. Only in God can we live eternally.

B. Our Redeemer wants us to repent.

That is, he wants us to have a new attitude, a new mind set, a new direction in life. God invites all people again and again the in the Scriptures to "turn around," to come to him for live.

Acts 17:30 declares that God commands people to repent. This is no option for us if we want to live eternally. God gave Sodom and Gomorrah an opportunity to repent. They rejected that offer. Fire and brimstone fell upon those cities and soon their ruins lay at the bottom of the Dead Sea. Noah preached to a God-forgetting world for 120 years. The people then refused to repent, to turn around, and to return to God. God sent a flood upon that unbelieving world and they all died, except Noah and his family.

After the words of warning go out, the book of Proverbs says that those who refuse God’s Word and "harden their neck will suddenly be destroyed and that without remedy" (Proverbs 29:1). The Bible declares that "it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Hebrews 10:31).

We know about Moses and the Hebrews. They had been in captivity for more than 400 years. God called Moses to lead them out of bondage. The Pharaoh of that time refused to hear God’s word through Moses. Eventually, judgment came upon the Egyptians because they did not change, they did not repent.

Jesus himself said that if people did not repent that they, too, would perish like the ones who died in a particular tragedy of that day (Luke 13:3).

We need to return to God because of the soon-to-be judgment. Acts 17:31 states that "God has appointed a day in which he will judge the world by Jesus." That time may be "close at hand." The verdict will be life or death. What will it be for you, dear friend?

When Paul preached in Athens on Mars Hill some of the people laughed. That kind of reaction takes place today. In every crusade some people may laugh and "poke fun" at what goes on. Just as with the Apostle Paul, some "mocked" (17:32).

On Mars Hill some said they didn’t want to make a commitment or decision at that time. They said, "We will hear you again of this matter about Jesus and the resurrection" (v. 32). Most likely, those who said that they would "put off" their decision never saw Paul nor heard Paul again. It’s dangerous      to delay about one’s eternal destiny.

On that momentous occasion when Paul stood and preached on Mars Hill, some made life- changing commitments to God’s message. Certain men along with a lady responded to Paul’s preaching about God and what Christ has done for mankind.


We don’t have to be ignorant of God. We see God "in the face of Jesus Christ." Everyone may have a personal relationship with God. We can believe in the Christ who died for our sins and who came to life again. No one has to be shut out from life when God makes himself known and available for everyone. We can know God and have a personal relationship with him through Jesus Christ.