Acts 17:23 - For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: To an unknown god. Now what you worship as unknown I am going to proclaim to you.
As Paul entered Athens he could see how full of sin the city was. People worshiped anything and everything, with a temple to every possible God they could make up. There was drinking, partying, prostitution; you name it, if it was sin it was there.
Many of us ‘Christians’ today would think it was a sin just to have been in such a place, but Paul had a mission. It was Paul who said, “I become all things to all men, that I might win a few.” He had a heart for the lost and he wanted to bring Jesus to them.
This is where I think many of us miss it. We think that we have to give a ‘traditional’ message of salvation to those that don’t know the bible. Often we forget how to relate to people.
That is what Paul did here. The Athenians worshiped so many gods that they even had an altar to ‘an unknown god,’ just in case they missed one. While many of us would have walked right by and not seen this Paul took noticed and used it. When he began speaking he told them that they already worshiped the real God, they just didn’t know Him yet.
Paul paid attention to their culture and their interests and used it to relate the kingdom of God to them. We need to adopt this practice as well. If we want to minister to someone we must find a way to relate to them. Don’t immediately come down on them for what they are doing wrong. Find what they are doing right and bring the message of Christ to them through that.