‘Is this a hill worth dying on?’
Is the issue at stake worth us putting our effort into, possibly at great cost, even death?
An issue always worth fighting for is the gospel of grace. And so, in Acts 16, we see the church fight a threat to grace: does a Gentile Christian need circumcision to be saved?
Peter says, ‘No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.’
Any demand – apart from trust in Jesus – is a hindrance to salvation, since it requires something other than trust in the grace of our Lord Jesus.
As the people of God we must be aware of any teaching or practice contrary to the grace of God, lest we make it difficult for people to turn to God and be saved. Grace is always a hill worth dying on, besides… God thought it was a hill worth dying for 2000 years ago on the Cross, on a hill called Calvary.
In Christ, Tory.
It’s easy to forget that the world’s best sports people have spent a lifetime preparing and practicing (the only exception being Nick Kyrgios, apparently!). The musicians who entertain us make many sacrifices to get so good. The tradesmen who serve us have trained. Your GP is always undergoing professional development for our health’s sake. Our teachers come back soon for professional development to start the year.
Preparing and practicing is needed for all things we do.
And so how much more ought we Christians prepare and practice to share Jesus with others?
In Acts 1:8, Jesus promises the Holy Spirit will empower us to share Jesus. Take confidence in this!
But even then we know that Paul the Apostle spent 14 years preparing and practicing before he proclaimed Jesus (Galatians 1:21–2:2). As we hear him proclaim Jesus in Acts 14 remember his preparation and practice.
How will you prepare and practice to proclaim Jesus as the risen Lord and Saviour in 2017?
In Christ, Tory.
As we follow the spread of the gospel to the ends of the earth, we can learn much from Acts 13.
When asked by non-believers to share the Christian message, Paul starts with the common ground of shared beliefs. He knew they were Jews and so retells the history of salvation that begins with Israel and shows how Jesus fulfils that history.
What common ground or shared beliefs do your friends and family have that can be a starting point for sharing the good news of Jesus?
Do they believe we were created? Do they believe that things are messed up in the world? Do they hope for something more than this life and world?
If so, these common beliefs might provide opportunities to show how Jesus is the saviour.
The more familiar we are with God’s plan of salvation in the Bible, the more easily we will be able to lead our friends and family to Jesus Christ.
The other thing Paul does is show how Jesus beats what they are currently trusting in. In verse 39, he shows how much better Jesus is than the law of Moses… through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin. Perhaps we can lovingly show people how Jesus beats anything this world can offer.
In Christ, Tory.
As the new year begins, it’s time to make sure we are in tune with God’s plans for 2017.
The book of Acts describes the beginning of the Christian church. It gives clarity to why we exist and what our mission is. This is the work of Jesus we continue on earth today.
In chapter 11, Peter retells the first conversion of non-Jews. No longer is it about keeping the Law of Moses, now it’s about believing Jesus is the risen Lord who gives the Holy Spirit.
We also see what happens when the Holy Spirit comes to town. Antioch was where the disciples were first called Christians. They believed and turned to the Lord. We see that Jews and non-Jews met together around the word of God to encourage each other to remain true to the Lord Jesus with all their hearts. They teach each other from the word of God. They give generously to others in need.
Let’s keep meeting together in 2017, reading the word of God, praying, and giving generously as the good news continues to the ends of the earth.