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Unknown God

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THE UNKNOWN GOD 

Scripture: Acts 4:12; 17:1–5, 16–34

Memory verse: Acts 4:12
"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved."

 

Lead—In

Today a growing number of people are turning to the worship of false gods and idols. There are many types of gods. Emphasize that while some people may not be bowing before golden calves, they have chosen some close replacements.

Explain that an idol can be anything that has become extremely important to a person. That thing will be more important than other values he may have.

Hearing God’s Word

After Paul and Silas were released from prison in Philippi, they visited the cities of Amphipolis (Am-FIH-puh-lihs), Apollonia, Thessalonica, and Berea. At Berea, Paul once again faced opposition. When he had visited Thessalonica, some people there became envious of Paul because many people listened to his message.

Ask: “What might people do when they are jealous?” (Allow discussion.)

This jealous mob caused so much trouble in Thessalonica that the believers had sent Paul and Silas to Berea at night. Now, an angry crowd from Thessalonica had come to Berea to drive Paul out of there too. It was decided that Paul should leave for Athens. Silas and Timothy remained in Berea for a time.

Paul In Athens

Paul arrived in Athens without any of his friends. He was to stay there until Silas and Timothy came to continue their missionary journey. Even though Paul was alone, he did not stop telling others about Jesus. In Athens Paul became upset by something he saw. (Read Acts 17:16, 17.)

Ask: “What made Paul upset? What did he do about it?” (Allow responses.)

Paul knew there was only one way the people would learn about Jesus. He had to tell them! He began to speak in the synagogue to the Jews and in the marketplace to those who would meet with him.

Paul’s preaching against idol worship changed many lives. (Have a student read Acts 17:18–23.) Paul attracted so much attention he was brought before the city council and given an opportunity to address them. The people of Athens had a favourite pastime—discussing the latest ideas and philosophies. Paul got their attention when he began to tell them about one particular idol.

Paul’s Address

Paul said, “I notice that you Athenians are very religious. I even found an altar on which is written, ‘To the Unknown God.’ The one you worship and do not know, I proclaim to you now. This God made all that is in heaven and earth. He does not live in a man-made temple, and He does not need anything we can give Him. He gives everything to us. From one man He created all the nations, and He decided when and where people would live. He did this so people would look for Him, though He is actually not far from any of us. In fact, we are God’s children and we should not imagine that He is like an image of gold or silver or stone. No, God is a Person!”

Paul continued, “God commands all of us everywhere to turn away from sin. He has fixed a day in which He will judge the whole world by His Son Jesus Christ. He gave proof that Jesus is the chosen One by raising Him from the dead.”

The people listened to Paul until they heard him speak of the resurrection from the dead. Then some of them began to make fun of him, but others said, “We want to hear more about this.”

Paul continued to preach. Some believed the gospel and were saved. Among them were Dionysius (Diy-uh-NISH-ih-uhs), a member of the city council, and a woman named Damaris (DAM-uh-rihs). Paul then continued on in his travels, slowly making his way back to Antioch (in Syria). This ended his second missionary journey.

One Way to Salvation

Ask: “How many ways are there to reach heaven?” (Allow responses. Then read Acts 4:12 together.)

This verse tells us the only way to be saved is through Jesus. This is the only way man can have true peace and happiness and have eternal life in heaven. (Repeat the memory verse a few more times with the class.)

This verse means that salvation cannot be found through any man, whether he is a prophet or a great leader, or through any other person. We can be saved only by believing in Jesus the Son of God. No idol can save a person either. An idol is anything that becomes an object of devotion.

Ask: “Do you think people can have idols that are not made of wood or stone?” (Allow responses.)

Let us think of some of the things that can become idols in our lives. (List on the chalkboard various items as they are mentioned. This might include clothes, friends, good grades, sports, money, computer or TV.)

False Assumptions

We do not actually bow down to these things or give them gifts, but sometimes we let things in our lives become more important than Jesus. We act as if these things will bring us lasting happiness, but Jesus is the only way to happiness. Let us look at some things that people think can get them to heaven. These things can become idols.

  1. Good works. Many people feel that as long as their good works outweigh their bad ones, they will get to heaven. Why are they wrong? The Bible tells us that every person is a sinner and that sin will keep us from heaven. Good works ever make up for sins we commit. If anyone could get to heaven by his good works, Jesus would not have died for us.
  2. Sincerity. Some feel as long as they are sincere in what they believe, God will understand and let them be with Him in heaven. However, a person can be sincerely wrong. If someone drank poison sincerely believing that it was orange juice, would his belief save him? No. He must know the facts. In the same way one must believe the facts that are given to us in God’s Word.
  3. Sacrifice. Some people believe if they deny themselves pleasures in this life, God will surely give them a place in heaven. The Bible says God wants obedience rather than sacrifice.

Although people try many things to earn their way to heaven, there is only one way to get there.

Ask: “What is the way? (Allow responses.)

Only by letting Jesus be Saviour and Lord of our lives can we receive salvation from eternal death and have eternal life.

Doing God’s Word

Discuss with the students how people today value being open-minded, thereby accepting all religions as valid worship of God. Even cults appear to agree with the principles of righteous living, but really go astray from the truth with their leaders’ adding rules and ideas. Because of all the false religion around us, it is extremely important to have a personal relationship with Jesus—the only one who is the way to heaven—and study His Word.

Accepting God’s Word

Ask if there are any who have not yet received Jesus as Saviour and Lord who want to do so. Pray individually with each who responds. Remind the students that they can keep Jesus first in their lives by praying, reading the Bible, and obeying Him daily. Church attendance is also important to learn more about Him. Encourage the students to share about their decision for Jesus with someone this week and invite an unsaved friend to church.

Bengali Prayer

Lord, the Bengali people are a large tribe with only a few who know Jesus as their Saviour. Your Word teaches us that You are not pleased with the spiritual condition of the Bengali. You want them to hear the gospel and have the opportunity accept Your loving gift of salvation.

Some have moved to the continent of Africa and now have Christians—Your representatives—living near them. May they become friends with a believer and through the believer's life see the love of God for them. Open their eyes to see, their ears to hear and their hearts to feel the presence of God.

Psalm 103:8 and 11, says "The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love...For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him.

Lord, may the Bengali meet a true believer in Christ Jesus and through them encounter the living Christ. Amen.

REMEMBER TO PRAY! 
Pray for Indians to Turn to the True God

1. Speak the truth to them from the Bible,
2. Show them that Jesus is the way rather than idols,
3. Our study group demonstrate to them what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus.

Prayer Promise

"I pray the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know...his incomparably great power for us who believe" (Ephesians 1:18, 19).

Remember: THE UNKNOWN GOD

Memory verse: Acts 4:12
"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved."

1. God has put in the heart of every human being a desire to worship.
2. Apart from biblical truth, they will worship an idol, a spirit or a false god.
3. I am grateful to know the one true God. I will openly share my knowledge of Him with everyone.

Pray for Indians to turn to the true God.
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Study 10 | Eternity— Apostle Paul | africaatts.org/go-teach

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