Follow Us On:

Pastor’s Desk: What is it you Worship?

Posted on Monday, June 17, 2024 at 4:53 pm

Pastor Tyler TeBrink, Cornerstone Baptist Church

Sermon from AnchorFest

Acts 17:16-34 contains a very interesting passage where the Apostle Paul is in Athens and while he is in the city, he makes key observations about the city and the things they worship. In verses 22 and 23, he points out that he can clearly see that the people of the city are very religious and they go as far as having an altar made for, “the unknown god.” The city was full of idols, carved images and these altars that were to be worshiped. It can seem quite odd for us today to think about worshiping such things. Most people within our context do not worship carved images or altars. But that does not mean that we are free from worshiping anything. It is within our nature to worship something. The objects of our worship today may not be carved images but they nonetheless have captured our hearts and our minds.

A common object of worship for many today is that of material possessions. The desire for the higher paying job, to have more things to fill our houses, a better car, a larger house, or simply more and more money. We worship popularity and people pleasing. The advent of social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok control our minds as we chase some kind of recognition that we think brings fulfillment. Another object of worship is sports. Playing sports, watching sports, and having our children participate in sports. Investing immense amounts of time and resources into sporting events so that we or our children might get that much better at their preferred game. Now don’t get me wrong. These things are not bad in themselves. Instead, they become a problem when these things begin to replace God. One of the glaring realities that sports have taken the place of God in our lives is when we skip church or youth group because of practice, competitions, and games. The reality is, we should miss games, practices, and competitions because of church, not the other way around. What’s worse is when parents can’t control themselves at games and yell at umpires, refs or the other team. We disgrace God with our actions when we speak so poorly to others, especially when we are expected to be setting an example for our children.

What will you sacrifice to obtain the next dollar? What will you sacrifice so your child can play at the highest level of competition? What will you sacrifice so that others will know your name? If it’s not one of these, what is it that you will worship? What has so captured your heart that you’re willing to sacrifice anything in order to obtain it?

Paul calls out these idols and the Athenians “religiousness” and yet comes to them proclaiming the true God. Acts 17:23 says this, “For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.” Paul then proceeds to address who God is so that they might see and believe. In verses 24, 25, and 26 he describes God as the Creator, Ordainer, and Sustainer.

In Acts 17:24, Paul begins by explaining God as the Creator, God created all that we see. From the furthest star to the smallest component of an atom. The entirety of the universe was brought into existence by the mere words of His mouth. Consider this for a moment. As a species, we are able to observe up to 46.5 billion light years away from our planet in any given direction. 46 billion. Now in one light year, light travels 5.88 trillion miles. Take that 5.88 trillion and multiply it by 46 billion and that’s how many miles we can observe of our universe in any given direction. And this is just what we can see. There is very likely more beyond that. Yet even with how vast our universe is, we haven’t even completely explored the planet that we live on. Not only has God made all things but He is Lord of all things. He is the sovereign ruler, Lord, King, and Owner of all creation. This is His world, not ours. And yet, there are some who would try to contain God in a carved image, something made by man. They would try to replace God with material possessions or sports. How unbelievably insulting to the the God of the universe? He cannot be contained by mere created things.

For the complete column, see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard