February 29, 2004 am Is God For Today? Acts 14:8-18
Ronald E. George Jr. at the Fayetteville
“Our Mission is to live our lives every day so that others can see Christ living in us.”
Is God for today, or has the 21st century humanity grown past the need for God?
Scripture Text: Acts 14:8 In Lystra there sat a man crippled in his feet, who was lame from birth and had never walked. 9 He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed 10 and called out, "Stand up on your feet!" At that, the man jumped up and began to walk. 11 When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, "The gods have come down to us in human form!" 12 Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker. 13 The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them. 14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting: 15 "Men, why are you doing this? We too are only men, human like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them. 16 In the past, he let all nations go their own way. 17 Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy." 18 Even with these words, they had difficulty keeping the crowd from sacrificing to them.
Is God for today, or has the 21st century humanity outgrown the need for God?
Today’s modern scientific discoveries and the expanse of human knowledge seem to have made God and faith as obsolete as the horse and buggy. In the old days and I am talking the days of the disciples, people believed in many different gods. When Paul and Barnabas went out to preach the people of Lystra they thought Paul to be Jupiter or Zeus and Barnabas to be Mercury. People were very superstitious and had many misconceptions, but we know differently today. Was their belief in the gods wrong? Are we still looking for a God? What about you?
· Is God obsolete? Advances in modern science, medicine, and sociological skills have made us much better than we were 10 years ago or have they? You don’t agree with that? Are we not healthier? Don’t we get along better? Aren’t we morally achieving excellence in all levels of our society? Are we all better through our own efforts to improve our lot upon the earth? Do you think we could still use some HELP? Or have we got it all under control?
· Can we have only one God in this age of tolerance? Is God only one true God? Why can’t there be others? Why not Jupiter and Mercury? Shouldn’t we tolerate other religions? Yes and No. We must be willing to accept the fact that everyone must decide for himself or herself, and we must give them that right. God does. But, we have to tell and show the truth in love, so that others may have the opportunity to at least hear the gospel, as we believe it. Paul and Barnabas took a great chance to tell and show whom Jesus is. Will we? What about one God? Is there only one true living God? Yes, according to Jesus in John 14:6 and Acts 4:12. Many deceptions, which lead people astray, demand tolerance and acceptance of all. But Jesus demands the truth in love. He demands acceptance of Him.
· Is God relative today? Is everything relative? People today want an answer. With the proliferation of knowledge through our advancing technological society we must be ready with the Spirit to answer these modern questions. Are you ready to give yourself to make Him relative today? Paul and Barnabas were ready to go to the world and to answer the tough questions. They tired to make sure the people understood the real Jesus. As we have seen the controversary over the latest Jesus film, the world doesn’t want to hear it.
· Do we Need God to find meaning and significance? The people of Lystra were searching for some significance to their lives. Is there anything here that makes life worth living? Without God what future do people have? Paul and Barnabas went to show the truth of hope in a hopeless situation. They gave what they had received. We can do the same. We must be willing to show the relevance of the only true living God in a dark world. He gives us a future and a hope of eternal life. Paul and Barnabas preached eternal life to the people of Lystra. You can live forever.
· Do we Need God to heal our diseases? Although we have advanced our knowledge, skill, and ability the truth of the matter is easy to discern. We still have terminal diseases, serial killers, abortions, suicides, wars, terrorists, computer viruses, hackers, thieves, sexually transmitted diseases, divorce, drunkenness, men marrying men, drug abuse, pornography, and etc. The list goes on. Humanity is not getting better it is obviously getting worse. Why? Water runs down hill. Gravity will take you down. The nature of the world and of people will always be to sin, and sin, and sin some more. We need someone to intervene and stop the decay before it all crumbles. God has intervened. He is needed more today than ever before.
The real question is: Do we want God today? Our Mission is… “To live our lives every day so that others can see Christ living in us.” Will we give God this day?