Jesus, The One and Only

Posts tagged ‘Gentile’

“Righteous Renegades”

Read Acts 11:19-26  “But there were some of them, Cypriot and Cyrenaic men, who came to Antioch and began speaking to the Hellenists, proclaiming the good news about the Lord Jesus.” (vs. 20)

“Persecution scattered the early Christians as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch.  But some gutsy believers who had traveled to Antioch broke the mold.  They began to share with Gentiles also.  As a result of their testimony in Antioch, ‘a large number who believed returned to the Lord.’ (vs. 21)”

“When God desires to do ‘a new thing’ (Isa. 43:19), He purposely seeks out a few righteous renegades who don’t have a problem breaking the mold!  Mold-breakers are usually people who don’t care much about popularity or tradition.”

“The report about them reached the ears of the church in Jerusalem.” (vs. 22).  Antioch was about 300 miles north of Jerusalem, but juicy news travels faster than a speeding bullet!  Barnabas was dispensed to Antioch immediately.  When he arrived, he ‘saw the evidence of the grace of God.’ (vs. 23)

“According to Vs. 23, Barnabas ‘encouraged all of them to remain true to the Lord with a firm resolve of the heart,’ to plan in advance to remain faithful to Him!  I cannot overemphasize the importance of this exhortation.’  ‘The most effective time to resolve to obey Christ is in advance of difficulty.  Planning to stay faithful can greatly enhance victory.” 

Eventually Barnabas and Saul connected and met with the church and taught large numbers of people.   “What a team, Saul the teacher and Barnabas the encourager.  One taught the principles of a godly life and the other assured them they could do it with God’s help.” 

“The disciples were first called Christians in Antioch (vs. 26)   The Greek word the believers were called was Christianos.  Not normally used by Christians themselves in the New Testament.  Christian was a label coined by unbelievers as a form of ridicule.  Once again, how beautifully God stole the victory from Satan.  The very word used as a mockery became the greatest privilege a man could boast.’  ‘If anyone suffers as a Christian, he should not be ashamed, but should glorify God with that name.’ (1 Peter 4:16)

  • “Those who took God’s Word to the streets remind us that adversity gives our faith a place to shine.  What can you do to keep your faith sharp in advance of its greatest challenges?
  • How can you ensure that struggles will not lead you to doubt but to daring deeds?”

Vicky

Paul, 90 Days of His Journey of Faith/Beth Moore/B & H Publishing

“Windows and Walls”

Read Acts 21:37-22:3
“I am a Jewish man, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and educated according to the strict view of our patriarchal law.” vs. 3 HCSB

“In the search for the best continuing Jewish education, Saul set his sights on Jerusalem, the homeland-the fountain of Jewish learning.”(1) At the age of 13 he was considered a man and escorted by boat to be taught and brought up under one of the most honored rabbi’s, Gamaliel, of the 1st century.  “All his life he heard about Jerusalem.  Three annual feasts beckoned Jewish men from near and far to the city of Zion.  A proper Pharisee traveled to Jerusalem for the annual Passover Feast. Thirty-five miles later he caught the first glimpse of the city set on a hill – Jerusalem, the City of David.”(2)

“Saul probably ran up the main street of Jerusalem to the house of the Lord.  Then he walked to the wall, one that held tremendous significance for the Jew, but one that would hold far more significance for a Jew who would ultimately become the world’s most renowned missionary to the Gentiles.’  ‘This literal middle wall of partition in the temple forbade access of the defiling heathen into the inner sanctuaries of the house of God.”(3)

Western wall in Jerusalem at night

Image via Wikipedia

Years later… “When, from a prison cell in Ephesus, Paul wrote that Christ had broken down the wall that separates Jew and Gentle, the apostle was not simply referring to a figurative wall of partition. He was referring to an imposing structure he had faced on the temple grounds as an adolescent many years before.”(4)

“For He is our peace, who hath made both [Jew and Gentile] one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us.”  Eph. 2:14 KJV

Are there any walls that separate you in your faith?  Do you still appeal to God based on your good works or do you have a clear understanding of grace? Pastor Rob Koke of Shoreline Church says grace in its simplest form is not “Do good, get good! Do bad, get bad!’ It’s more that ‘He did good, we did bad, and we get good!”

Vicky

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ,

he is a new creation;

old things have passed away;

behold, all things have become new.”  

2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV

(1-4) Paul, 90 Days on His Journey of Faith/Beth Moore/B&H Publishing

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