Friday, October 20, 2017

2017-10-20 [Month of Mission 2017] Examples of the Kingdom#5 -- An earthquake and a lifequake

Examples of the Kingdom#5 -- An earthquake and a lifequake

The jailer called out for some lights. He rushed in, shaking with fear. He fell down in front of Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out. He asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" 31 They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus. Then you and your family will be saved." 32 They spoke the word of the Lord to him. They also spoke to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night, the jailer took Paul and Silas and washed their wounds. Right away he and his whole family were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house. He set a meal in front of them. He and his whole family were filled with joy. They had become believers in God.      (Acts16:29-34)
Martin Luther was at a crossroads in his faith -- he thought studying further would help him find the answers to how his sins could be forgiven, how he could be assuaged of the constant guilt he felt, how he could find the righteousness of God offered through the Bible, but not the same righteousness offered by the Church -- he was looking for new wine in an old wineskin!

Paul and Silas are at a similar juncture in their mission. They are facing a terrible trial - after casting an evil spirit out of a slave girl, Paul and Silas were beaten, thrown in jail, put under close guard, and placed in the inner cell with their feet bound in stocks. But they don't question God -- is this what God's kingdom looks like? Do some good and get thrown in jail? No, they are still on the mission of spreading the word of God -- this is what God's kingdom looks like, pouring new wine into the wineskins of people's lives. Paul and Silas prayed and sang hymns. They knew that God had sent them to bear witness for their faith. They didn't know an earthquake was about to set them free (vv. 26-28). Nor did they know that soon they would lead the Philippian jailer and his whole family to the Lord (vv. 29-34). As far as they knew, they'd be in prison a while. Just because they were "suffering for the kingdom" didn't mean that their mission had come to an end.

As we look at this, yes, we may go through some crisis of faith that may cause us to question our own mission, cause us to even question if this is what God's Kingdom looks like. We may even need an earthquake to shake things up and, like Luther, begin to reform not only ourselves, but also the community in which we have been placed.
Ruth is husband to Warren, mother to Lia (11), Sarah (9) and Noah (7), minister at St Andrews Germiston and would be lost without her crochet hook and wool!

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