Focal passage: Acts 17:22-34
Primitive people bowing down to statues is usually what comes to mind when the word idol or idolatry is used. When we read passages like Acts 17 where Paul addresses the “Men of Athens” we think to ourselves, “That was so long ago. I’m glad we have moved past those ancient practices.”
What we fail to realize is there are sophisticated idols as well.
Idolatry wasn’t reserved for those living 2,000 years ago. It is endemic to the human race since Adam and Eve sinned in Genesis 3.
John Stott said, “An idol is a god-substitute. Any person or thing that occupies the place which God should occupy is an idol.” This means children, spouses, technology, entertainment, food, shopping, money, fame and sex can all be idols.
When Paul gives his sermon on the Areopagus he goes right after the idol worship of the Grecians.
What method does Paul employ? First, he emphasized and elevated the character of God; pointing out that God is the creator, sustainer and ruler of the universe (verses 24-28).
Secondly, He calls on the people to repent because one day God will judge the world (verse 31).
We live in a society littered with idols as people search for meaning and happiness in their lives.
The first thing we need to do as followers of Jesus is admit that idolatry is something we struggle with as well. This means stepping back and asking ourselves, “What is competing with Jesus in my life?” Once we are honest with ourselves, we can begin taking steps to remove those.
Secondly, we need to tell others that everything they are looking for in life can be found in the person of Jesus Christ. Turn from making your life about something that will leave you empty and enslaved and turn to the one who can set you free.