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  • Mar28Wed

    'Gospel Over Fear' by Jeremy Kneeshaw

    March 28, 2018

    To truly understand the work of the Lord in a person’s life takes being in a place that the person has nothing to rely on other than the Lord for provision, and to step out in faith.

    In my personal devotions today, I read Acts 25 and 26, Paul’s trial with Festus and King Agrippa. Paul was originally a pharisee, and one that spent his time, and actually enjoyed persecuting Christians and followers of The Way. In fact, by his own testimony, he would vote to have saints of Christ in prison or even put to death for their heresy (26:9-11). But as you know with Paul’s conversion to Christianity, Christ Himself came as a bright light and a voice on the road to Damascus and convicted Paul in Aramaic (26:12-14). This story he pleads to the king of the area, as he finally was able to understand the connection between the Judean laws of the Old a Testament and the fulfilled promises of Christ the Messiah.

    For a Jew, any man that claimed to be God is heresy and blasphemy, to be put to death. Understandably, that became somewhat of a conflict of interest for Jesus, as the pharisees’ hearts were hardened to the love of the Lord, and solely focused on the liturgy of the laws. So when Paul is suddenly converted by seeing (and actually being blinded by) the awesome and magnificent power and conviction of Christ, he has no choice but to devote his life entirely to Christ’s teaching. This is where his faith grew stronger than his worldly circumstances.

    As he is on trial, he had spent more than 2 years in prison being accused of blasphemy and causing riots in the towns and protests in the name of the Risen Lord, and he is very near being put to death on several occasions. Knowing this, it is very interesting his response to having been called insane for his learning (26:24), as he sums up his passion for ministry in verse 28:

    Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”

    Paul replied, “Short time or long - I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains”.

    What! That is crazy. That is faith. He understands fully well that those words could put him to death for being heretical in front of a king and court. This is to truly understand the work of the Lord in situations that otherwise seem impossible. This is a faith muscle that rarely gets exercised in our modern world. This is exemplified in our own hearts and minds. Do we have the faith to stand up in confidence for Christ, actively working to share the Gospel even at the expense of our lives? Yikes.

    My prayer for today is that my faith will be stronger than my comfort zone. To have courage to share the gospel with a friend who is struggling the same way Paul shared it with the crowds of those who hated him. Not because we want to be glorified in our bravery and macho-ness, but because we want all God’s children to become what we are, Justified and Sanctified through the Grace of God’s love and the faith in His promises. That is exciting, and something we can all grow towards.

     

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