Monday, July 6, 2009

Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men's
hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far
from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now
commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee
again of this matter So Paul departed from among them. (Acts 17:22-33)

In the above thirteen lines, I have reprinted Paul’s entire message on Mars Hill. It is short, and to the point, yet one of the most comprehensive messages ever delivered by any man, on any subject. This Athenian problem, of nearly two thousand years ago, is America’s problem today. Many Americans ignorantly identify, and ignorantly worship, or refuse to worship, God. Even today’s widespread, open insistence on atheism, is quite often, really nothing but brazen hypocrisy.

Their weak attempt to deny God’s existence, is their easiest way to justify their open rebellion against Him. Their reasoning is that if He is not real they are not responsible to submit to Him, or His instructions. They conclude, that if He does not own us, He has no right to govern us. Their understanding of this matter is equal to that of the little child, who closes his eyes, believing that if he refuses to see, no one can see him. Paul accurately describes their situation in 2Th 2:10-12 "And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."

Two hundred thirty-three years ago, the people who pioneered what was to become the United States of America, declared independence from the British King. These people were not rebels, but people who genuinely believed that this was the only way they could walk in the fear of God and live in peace. Those men who signed the Declaration Of Independence, and those who followed them, dedicated all they had for the cause, and most of them eventually gave their
lives for it. It is sad to say, but today most of the children up and down our streets, and many of their parents, pop firecrackers, and have backyard barbecues, and cannot even tell you what the USA is celebrating on the fourth of July. To them it is just a holiday, The Forth Of July.

There is much fear that this country, which has become the most powerful and compassionate nation ever known to occupy a portion of the earth, has seen its best days, and that a gloomy future lies before us. We live in a dark time right now, with high unemployment, terrible inflation with worse to come, a national debt great enough to destroy the entire world’s economy, and people, rich and poor, lined up to get more government aid, which can only make it worse. Abraham Lincoln questioned whether a nation dedicated to the principles of our Constitution could long endure. The great argument today seems to be what political philosophy, which political policies, or which political party, can lead us out of this mess. Are we so foolish as to seek the solution to a problem that we will not even identify?

I think the answer must start with identifying the problem! This nation, at large, has declared independence from God. Human rights has become the great issue for consideration, and the more it is considered, the farther we get from those rights, or the answer. If we, by God’s grace, could seek what is right, instead of our rights, we would soon find that the answer was right before our eyes all the time. If we could see that we have not built this great nation by our wit and labor, though those are certainly elements, but elements granted by the God who created us. "And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him,"

If we could find in our hearts the determination to seek The Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, human rights would take care of themselves more quickly than we could ever imagine. Oh how great it would be if we could rise up each morning blessing, and thanking, God for all he has given us up until this time, and praying that He would lead us uprightly today, and give us grace to follow. I pray that we can learn to vote and live for issues of righteousness, according to God’s Holy Word, and not for the hope of personal economic advantage. We desperately need independence, but that need to be independent from government and covetousness, not from God.

Dr. Forrest L. Keener served as pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Lawton, Oklahoma for over forty years. He is currently a Missionary/Evangelist preaching under the authority of Sherwood Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. You can reach him by email at

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