Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Acts 17:6-7: And when they [the Jews of Thessalonica] could not find them [Paul and Silas], they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, "These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus."
Why were the people being so negative to Paul and Silas' message about Jesus? They did not agree with the message of Jesus being the Christ, the Son of God who takes away the sins of the world. They did not agree that Jesus was the King of kings and Lord of lords. So their response was, negative. And what are other responses to the message. They are:
Apathy or Ambivalence:
If someone doesn't like what you have to say, they can get hostile. They can haul you off to court for slander. That's what the Jews did to Jason when they couldn't find Paul or Silas. You can get into "shouting matches," trying to win the argument, convincing someone that your point is the right one. Yet what happens today, more often than not is apathy or ambivalence. It seems today that many, no, a lot of people seem not to care what you say, especially when it's about Jesus. They turn a deaf ear. They don't care, now. They will care, at the end, whether they responded with anger or apathy or ambivalence, when they are standing before the judgment seat of Jesus and Jesus declares them, "Guilty" and sentences them to eternity in hell.
Now here's the Good News. What if you responded to the message with:
Repentance and Joy:
The Message of Jesus leads us to repent. Repent means to turn 180 degrees away from the life that leads to sin and death and toward the life that leads to forgiveness and life. Repentance the realization that I have sinned and have fallen short of the will and ways of God. Repentance leads to confessing and saying, "I am guilty of sins. I am truly sorry. God, please forgive me." And God, who is faithful and just will forgive you of all of your sins and cleanse you from all unrighteousness. And then the joy kicks in. Then the realization of the new life that the King of kings and Lord of lords gives. That will, and does, lead to a grace filled life today and a celebration filled life forever.
This is the response to the Message that the Church and all Christians want people to have. We want all people to know the truth that sets people free. We want all people to know Jesus, believe in Jesus, and follow Jesus.
Dear God, lead us to share the message more fully, hoping that more respond to it with Repentance and Joy, Amen.
Pastor Robert Hemsath joined Faith Lutheran Church and School as the Senior Pastor in January 2017. Pastor Hemsath comes to FLC from Christ the King Lutheran Church in Waxahachie, TX. He has also served congregations in Aberdeen, ID and Pocatello, ID. He has been a Lutheran pastor for the past 20 years.