Scripture: Acts 18:
5 When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. 6 But when they opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent of it. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”
Observation: It is often easier to reveal truth to the unbeliever than it is to persuade a person of faith.
Application: Paul had a new message from God, it was a true message, a message of hope, and love, and grace and forgiveness. He had taken the message to the community of faith, and they had rejected it. Why would they turn their backs on this truth? Why would they not listen and understand that God was doing something wonderful and awesome for them? I think it was because they were so set in their ways that rather than being open minded and prayerful, they immediately saw Paul as a heretical nut and dismissed him as dangerous and disruptive to the truth.
Would the modern day church act any differently than these Jews did? What if we were given another Paul? What if someone with a radically new way of seeing things, with wisdom that God had given them began to share their message to us today? What if that message was different from what we have been taught all our lives? Would we even give their words any real consideration? Would we be loving, and prayerful in our response or would we just reject them, call them names, attack them with our words and cast them aside labeling them with some modern derivative of heretic (maybe New Age)?
I’m not saying we should immediately accept every new idea and theology that is presented to us, but I do think we need to learn a lesson here. Paul left the Jews because they would not listen, they were not open to really hear what he was saying, and even became abusive toward him. Just because someone has a new idea, a new way of looking at things, doesn’t mean that it is always wrong.
I believe that God is still speaking to the hearts of His people today. The Bible is one of the ways He does this, but it is not the only way. Paul used the ancient scriptures of the Old Testament (by the way, Old Testament is a Christian term that has been placed on the Hebrew Scriptures, to the Jewish people in Paul’s time it was just The Holy Scriptures) to help show that Jesus was the Messiah, but there was things not in the scriptures that he had to share in order for them to understand what God was doing. Remember there were no New Testament scriptures for him to turn to and point out, that Jesus had done this or that, it was all Paul’s words. This was NEW stuff!
So what am I saying? I guess just this. We should be open and prayerful when it comes to new theologies which are presented to us by loving people, in a loving way. We don’t have to agree with everything (I know there are some far out ideas floating around) but we should at least hear, and then ask God to reveal the truth to us through His Spirit.
Prayer: God of The Universe, Creator of All Of Us!
Thank you for wisdom that has not yet been revealed. Thank you for knowledge which is yet to be understood. Help us to be open enough to hear what you are saying to us today, and keep us planted firmly enough in our faith so as to not be shaken like a house of straw when the least wind of change or adversity blows our way. Grant us the wisdom and guidance of Your Holy Spirit in all of our discussion and reasoning together, and bring us into a closer walk with each other and with you.