Friday, February 10, 2012
Welcome to Day 41 of our Life Journal!
Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?
S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer
Leviticus 13 and 14, regulations about defiling skin diseases and defiling molds and the proper methods of cleansing. (The NIV is translated using the terms, “defiling skin disease” and “diseased person” vs. using the terms “leprosy” and “leper.”)
Not going to focus on this today… Too much in Acts that jumped out at me.
Acts 17, Paul and his entourage pass through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they stopped in Thessalonica… until the crowds were stirred up. They moved on to Berea, but some of the Thessalonians heard they were there and traveled to listen to them. Paul then sailed on to Athens…
Love the story of Paul in Athens… How he used their own culture to reach them… “I saw an alter with the inscription, “TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.” This is the God I proclaim to you! He even quoted their own philosophers and poets!
“For in him we live and move and have our being.” (Cretan philosopher Epimenides)
“As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.” (Cilician Stoic philosopher Aratus)
v 32-34, “When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.” 33 At that, Paul left the Council. 34 Some of the people became followers of Paul and believed.”
How will people respond to the Gospel?
A. Some will sneer.
B. Some will want to hear more.
C. Some will believe.
Why should we be surprised at people’s reaction? I know people sneer at me. I know some are curious, and some will believe. That has never changed. No matter how we package the message, no matter how “culturally current” or hip the presentation, the results will always be the same. At least I know what to expect. Paul, Peter, Jesus… all got the same reaction, even when miracles, signs and wonders followed.
Funny that it says, “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica.” Scripture also states in Titus 1, “One of Crete’s own prophets has said it: “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.” Imagine being from Crete! Or being Jewish living in Berea (not Berea, KY!) Having something like that recorded in scripture for all of eternity!
Thinking about all the laws concerning leprosy… Luke 17:11-19, “11 Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” 14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. 15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—a
nd he was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
Our reputation often precedes us…
As Paul said in Colossians 4:5-6, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with
salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Paul demonstrated this strategy in Athens. (Greece, not Ohio or Georgia!)
Give me that kind of wisdom… to know my audience and to tailor the message for their ears. That I would be wise in the way I act toward outsiders…
That I would build bridges… not walls…