Saturday, July 14, 2012

Cairns 4: And Also to the Greek

In addition to my attention to Emperor Claudius and Paul’s life of struggle amid a growing upper class, Paul also spread the Gospel against Judaizers who wanted to get the new Greek converts to follow the old Jewish laws, the Stoics who believed in pantheism, and Epicureanism which is basically hedonism.  Paul presented a Gospel completely free of works and free of any reliance on human effort, much to the chagrin of everyone who still feels like they have to do something (which they do, just not to be saved.  They work because they’re saved).

This seemed to be his Modus Operandi.  Paul would choose a big town, such a Philippi, the capital of Macedonia as a strategic center.  He would tell the town about the Gospel, and they would pass it on to their friends in the country, causing a chain reaction.  Also, he started in the synagogue until the Jewish people had enough.  Then he preached to everyone else.  That is how God revealed his plan: first to the Jew, and then to the Gentile. 

I remember reading some chapter or article which says God loves cities.  When he sends prophets, he doesn’t send them to the middle of nowhere (except for maybe John the Baptist).  He sends them to cities like Nineveh, where legions of people can hear the good news at one time, repent of their sins, and then influence the surrounding region.  I personally would love to escape to the country someday, but right now, God has me in suburban Atlanta.  Will I always be here?  I don’t know.  Do I make any difference?  Probably, but like all things, God likes to perform gradually.  This causes so much pain and frustration as sometimes people get enough of your theology and other people still listen but just don’t get it.  But we still work, not expecting results today, not even expecting to live to see the results, but just running the race so that we can finish it.

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