Strange Things

Acts 17:16-20, “Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him. Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection. And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean.”

Can any of you think back to the first time you heard the gospel and what you thought?

Our generation was the last generation that most of us on a Sunday attended service with any regularity. The Gen X kids seem to have very little knowledge of Gods word which seems to be fulfillment of Amos 8:11, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:”

Have any of you ever seen when Jay Leno would go on the streets and ask questions of people and some of the bazaar answers he would get?

This was a series of questions asked of group of 12 college bible students with the first question of “What was the occupation of Matthew before he followed Jesus?” ½ gave the wrong answer as some said he was a fisherman. Another question was, “What is the shortest book in the NT?” many answered Jude but it is 3John, another question was, “What was the Apostle Paul’s occupation?” one said he was a killer of Christians, and still another was is they could name just 7 of the 12 original disciples? With only one being able to name 7.

When many of us in here were growing up we didn’t have any issues with such as Moses crossing the Red Sea, David in the giant Goliath, The Virgin birth or  The Resurrection.

To many of those out in the world today they would tell you that these are “Strange Things”

I didn’t have any issues with any of these things but If I was to be honest there were many times when I first heard of something that was in the word of God, that I to said those are “Strange Things”.

I never heard of the rapture until I read a book by Hal Lindsey called “The Late Great Planet Earth” to me it was a “Strange Thing”. With that I fist heard of “The Mark of the Beast”, that there would be a “New Heaven and a New Earth” someday. “Strange Things” indeed.

Rom 10:14-15, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?  And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”       

I had read the bible several times but still found and heard “Strange Things”, I remember the first time I had overheard someone talking about “Speaking in tongues”. Well, I was just like those in Acts 2:12-13, “And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.” 

Many speakers of that time claimed tongues was only for the first believers and I even heard one say it was of the devil not God. There is some bad teaching out in our world today and we have to be not fearful in calling it out. We need to be faithful in what we tell others to be true the infallible word of God and be careful to not put our fallible opinions in. We also as hearers need to verify what we are being told with the word of God.

Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

When I heard tongues explained to me in the context of the book of Acts and Acts 2:38

The Jewish people had everything they needed to become Born Again but had one issue. Romans 9:30-33, “What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” The law was a stumbling block to truth for faith was a “Strange Thing” to the learned Jew of the day.

Romans 10:16-17, “But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” We have an obligation to tell others of the love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ but don’t be shocked by the response of what you are saying is a “Strange Things”. You may need to explain things slower than how you had received the salvation message because you had some faith in the word of God already.          

As Paul continued ministering to them with “Strange Things” look what happens Act 17:29-34, “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. Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.” Never be fearful to use your testimony as a step to share the gospel, it may sound as “Strange Things” but it may what strikes a cord in the heart of the hearer!

Picture care of; clipground.com

Too Much Jesus?

knowing-jesus-too-much

By Pastor Jeff,

So, can you have too much Jesus? Of course the answer is NO! I will state that I wake up thinking about Jesus, I go throughout my day thinking about Jesus, and I go to bed thinking of Jesus. Would I want more of Jesus in my life? Absolutely! The Apostle Paul said it this way in 1 Corinthians 2:1-2, “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” 

So, with saying that, have you ever encountered someone who seemed so overbearing in his speech about what he or she knows about Christ that after a while you either cut his conversation off or avoided this person? I have, and I’m not debating someones relationship or dedication to serve and share the gospel. But when I look at the disciples and Apostles they were also able to have a conversation that befriended others rather ostracizing them. Most of the disciples were fisherman and I think that they were very at ease talking about fishing, giving advice, and maybe even joining others out on the boat here and there. Paul by Luke’s account in the Bible was a tentmaker Acts 18:1-3, After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them. And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.” He also could discuss the law and had knowledge of how government was run.

I love Jesus Christ and love telling others of His greatness and love for them, but I also can carry a conversation on other things, such as sports, politics, recent news, and other things that may help me to build a relationship with someone which will allow me to share the “Good News” with them. If I just brow beat them with what God says it may and I’ve seen it happen close the door to any future conversations with them. Apostle Paul gave us this insight in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, “For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.”

Jesus is my Lord and my Savior and I will shout His name to the nations but I will be open to conversations that show that I care about what others care about and when the opportunity comes will switch the conversation about Jesus Christ. Too much Jesus is I believe impossible but like Paul I will to whatever I can to win others to the gospel!

picture care of: wordcenteredliving.com