Thursday, July 6, 2017

JULY 6 "I ADMIT IT, I'M ONE OF THEM!"

     Paul's main problem is not that he believes in God, most people do.  Paul's main problem is that he is attached to a certain group of people that believes in God, "followers of The Way" he calls it and then goes on to say that is is also known as "a cult".  Who in the world, who in their right mind, wants to be associated with a cult?! People who are enticed into cults are more often than not, people with issues, people who are mentally & emotionally weak, naive and in short..., stupid. The hardest thing in the world for a person who is none of the above, ..is to  "admit" that they are in a group of religious people that are known as a cult. Many will not "admit" to this, many are not willing to die a social death and end up walking away. I never wanted to be perceived as a individual that was mentally and emotionally weak, naive, vulnerable and stupid, but when I "admitted" that I was a "Born Again" that was what everyone thought of me. I immediately lost all respect by my peers and friends when I "admitted" I was a "Born Again" or a "Follower of The Way". Paul is before some very important people and if they are going to listen to a word he says, he'd better have some respect from them. Why not just talk about God and leave out "what group" he is part of. The moment he mentions he's part of that crazy following, the moment he mentions he's part of the group that actually believes they have a personnel relationship with God, the moment he mentions he's a follower of "The Way" also believed to be a cult, they're going to dismiss him as a loser & lunatic. But yet even with all that, Paul in the middle of his sentence, interjected by the Holy Spirit who knows, but out comes..."I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect"  "Oopps, how did that come out of my mouth? This is not good", Paul could have thought.
     You can have talks about God all day long, at work, at lunch, around the water cooler, but the moment you admit, that the point of view you are coming from is one of a "Born Again" then people walk away because now they know they are not talking with a rational person, but someone, that for some reason, has gotten sucked into some cult.  Who better to write later on that God has chosen the foolishness of Preaching to save souls. Paul also goes on to say that "to those that are perishing it is foolishness, but to those that are getting saved, it is the power of God unto Salvation". THE POINT is that salvation does come from us looking like fools. Paul goes on to refer in one of his epistles about how interesting that some Christians seem to look so wise and dignified, while he and his disciples look like fools. How interesting that some feel that they are called to be the ones that look wise and dignified for God while others are called to look like fools for God.  There was no greater audience that Paul ever witnessed to that he did not want to be regarded as a fool, than in this audience that he is standing before, but Paul does the right thing and "admits" he is a "follower of The Way" also known as a cult.
     We have to watch our hearts, that over the years we do not find ourselves less and less inclined to be identified with a group that brings us reproach.  We have to be careful that over the years of our salvation we don't begin to think that God is now calling us to be the wise & dignified Christian. Jesus looked the fool from the start of his ministry all the way up until the end of his ministry. Never did Jesus look more the fool than hanging on that cross as others jeered and mocked at him saying, "he saved others but yet he cannnot save himself". Do you want to just join nominal Christianity and get-a-way from the stench that associates itself with being called Born Again? Of course you do, but it's not right! I ADMIT....remember those words that Paul spoke in front of far more important people that we will ever stand before and so much more to loose too.
      And last, Paul realized that if he was going to convince this crowd he needed far more than just his intellect & respect from his audience; he needed God's anointing and that certainly would not come by disassociating himself from Jesus Christ. And in associating himself with "The Way" with this supposed "cult" he gets the anointing so much so that in the text we read,  ".... As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now" .   You will find that wise & dignified Christians have no fruit. Very rarely will there be anybody in the church they can point to and say, "that's my fruit". Associate yourself with Christ, endure persecution, endure looking like a "fool for Christ" and you will find that God anoints your words, your witness and you will realize that God has chosen the foolishness of preaching Christ, to save souls, and that to those to whom you seem foolish, they are simply the perishing, but to the others, (your eventual fruit) it is the power of God unto salvation.