Saturday, July 12, 2008

Paul's Great Example!

Through the years I have come to believe that Paul was one of the greatest defenders of the faith. He had to be! In Acts 17 Paul visited Athens. A city that was polytheistic by all means. As Paul was walking the streets he notices altars set up to various god’s. One altar is said to have caught his attention, “The Altar to the Unknown God”. As was custom of the day a group of men, the Council of Areopagus(men who considered themselves as custodians of teachings that introduced new religions and foreign gods, NIV Bible Study), would listen to new ideas. Paul was brought before the council to share with them this "new" idea. The philosophers and others asked "What is this person trying to say?" What happens next is an example of one man using his knowledge of Christ and presenting him in such a way that he did not use Scripture but the very words of the culture's poets. He does not give a three point sermon, but shares his worldview. He refers the people to the altar that had been erected to "an unknown god." Paul opens the dialogue by talking about creation (verses 24-25). He then moves into the importance of humanity (verses 26-28). The dialogue closes with life and death (verses 29-32). As we read the chapter "a few men becoming followers." Paul was confident not just because of his knowledge of scripture or that he had followed the law as a Pharisee. He was confident because he had personally meet Jesus Christ and now was able to answer the question, "Why do you believe this?". I believe Paul realized that his success in spreading the gospel in his time had to come from having a foundation, and he found that foundation in his worldview. Why would Paul write to the churches about the importance of knowing their worldview?

2 Corinthians 4:4-5
"The God of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus sake."

Colossians 2:4
"I tell you this so that no one may deceive you be fine-sounding arguments"

Colossians 2:8
"See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophies, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

Colossians 4:5-6
"Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone."

2 Timothy 4:2
"Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage - with great patience and careful instruction."

One may ask you, “What do you believe and why?” “What makes you so confident?” “How can you be so sure?” Your day will come. Will you be prepared, or will you give a Sunday school answer and miss an opportunity to impact someone's life? Your call is more than a missions trip, it is about knowing the "why" for the missions trip! It is more than wearing a Christian t-shirt, it is about the “reason” behind that t-shirt. Our worldview becomes the foundation for all that we do and believe. Without a strong foundation, how will we stand in the midst of those who doubt? How will we respond to the one who wants to know more about the hope we posses through Christ?

Your salvation is the key to open the door towards a relationship with a true living God! Your worldview is the foundation that will make it last forever! Are you ready?

1 comment:

Poorhouse Dad said...

What do you mean by the second sentence of this?

Your salvation is the key to open the door towards a relationship with a true living God! Your worldview is the foundation that will make it last forever!

I apologize if I misinterpret these words, but my reaction follows.

I was fine up until that point, and wondering if I'd ever find something to comment on.

Isn't one's worldview the lens through which one sees life; or to put it another way, the model of the universe into which one tries to fit all of our observations? Is it not, then, the intellectual side of one's religion? Where, then, is faith?

In my own experience, my worldview collapsed when God gave me faith to believe on Christ. I did not have a Christian worldview before that point. I was just as heathen as the next guy. By faith -- and that not of myself; it was the gift of God (Eph. 2:8-9) -- I received Christ and subsequently had to build an entirely new worldview.

I would say that the foundation consists of the work of the Holy Spirit, Who opened my eyes; of the Son of God, Who paid the price; of the Words of God, whose delivery to me formed my faith; of the love of the Father, who received me; and of the work of the Holy Spirit (again), who recreated me.

My new world view followed from all this. It gave me a new model that explained my world, allowing me to function in this new (to me), spiritual dimension. My world view and my faith feed each other, but I would not call my world view my foundation.

More importantly, does one's world view makes one's "relationship with a true living God... last forever"? God promised, in too many different ways, that His childrens' relationship with Him depends on Him and not on us. He holds us in His hands; He judges us according to Christ's sacrifice; He passes us through birth into the family of God and then pronounces us adult heirs (the Roman custom of "adoption"); He seals us with a seal and sends the Holy Spirit as collateral.

Developing depth to our world view makes us sharper instruments in God's hands, empowers our actions, and reinforces our faith. It is vital; but times come when our world view cannot stand against failure, against greater intellect, against fatigue of life. In those times, only faith and the power of the Holy Spirit get us through.

Strengthen your upper body, but strengthen your trunk, as well.