The Holy Spirit is up to something. I've been studying Acts. Our church is going through Galatians. Over the past two weeks, the lessons from inductive study and the passages we've gone through in our church gathering have pressed the same message deep.
Last week - Acts 15 - the gospel and the Gentiles question
In the Acts Precept Upon Precept Lesson we walked through this chapter, but we jumped to Galatians 1 and 2 to get the framework and context of what was taking place. Bottom line--with circumcision, the gospel was at stake.
Last Sunday - Galatians 2 - Peter's hypocrisy and Paul's boldness - get the gospel right
We had a guest speaker from the church planting network that serves and pastors my pastor. We walked through Galatians 2, where Paul tells that he confronted Peter to his face about his hypocrisy regarding the Gentiles. Again, it was a gospel at stake issue. You can listen to the audio here.
Here are some quotable moments:
You can believe the gospel but at some time fail to walk in step with it."
"What we believe about the gospel affects our relationships, the way we interact with others."
"At one moment, Peter is partying and eating pig with the Gentiles. Then, when the men from Jerusalem arrive he likely isn't even going into the house, sharing the table with the Gentiles. Peter could have aced the exam on justification, but in a moment of weakness, He didn't walk in step with the gospel. We're not that far from Peter."
Today - Acts 16 and 17 -
We discussed this today. Acts 17 has always been a favorite chapter, but the Spirit has aligned some key events. We had a great discussion on what we've learned about the Spirit, the gospel, and the church in the book of Acts. Christian's role in culture. When Paul arrived in Athens, he was grieved by the idols. Yet, he didn't immediately go and tear down the idols in an idol rage. Though he was grieved, he studied the culture. He saw the Epicurians. He observed the Stoics. He walked around the city to see that idol of the unknown god. Then, he brought the gospel to speak to those people. He took it to the resurrection of Jesus. Paul engaged the culture with Jesus instead of retreating from culture.
Here are some quotable moments from class:
It's so liberating - as I've been looking at the Holy Spirit throughout the book of Acts, I see that it's not up to us. He is the one who raises the dead. He is the one who changes hearts. It relieves the weight. He calls."
"The simplicity of the gospel is so clear. Over and over, throughout the entire book it is the same message--Jesus died for sin, God raised Him, so repent."
"I've got to meet people where they are--Peter shared Jesus at the big party of Pentecost, Phillip asked, 'what are you reading?' and Paul took advantage of culture--I've got to make the most of every opportunity."
We're hosting a live event - A believer's response to a hostile culture. It's the same day that the Supreme Court hearing on Hobby Lobby is taking place. It's also the same week that the news about World Vision and homosexual workers has been released. Here are some other stories:
A Colorado baker was taken to court because he refused to bake a wedding cake for a same sex wedding. The baker lost the case and has filed an appeal. In New Mexico a photographer refused to take wedding photos at a same sex ceremony and was sued. The photographer lost and the case has been appealed. (recent USA Today article)
When you feel like you are being forced by the government to violate Scriptural principles, what do you do? How do you respond? When do you take a stand and when do you go forward gently? And, is there a middle ground in between? Does the Bible offer any guidelines or help in situations like these?
Like I said - the Spirit is saying something through all of these things that He has aligned in my life. I'm really evaluating my head, hearts, and hands when it comes to my cultural engagement. I think this is a gospel at stake kind of issue. Our response to these situations shows whether or not we've believed the gospel, whether or not we're going to allow it to move from our heads to our hearts, from our hearts to our hands in the way that we engage culture.
Join us tonight for the live event. Join us tomorrow when Kay Arthur and David Lawson will be answering questions on this topic live. There is also a small ebook, free resource available to help you apply the gospel to this opportunity.