Study from God’s Word… Acts 21: 17 – 23: 35 … Passage for Reflection: Acts 21: 26 … NIV The next day Paul took the men and purified himself along with them. Then he went to the temple to give notice of the date when the days of purification would end and the offering would be made for each of them.
My Journal for Today: Reading today’s highlighted text, it could seem that Paul is going against his stance that he needs to be “all things to all people” [see 1st Cor. 9: 21-23 - linked here] in order to win them to Christ.
In a sense, though, that’s exactly what Paul is doing in today’s verse, going through the Jewish purification ritual to show “his people,” the Jews, that he is like them when it comes to pursuing the Law. Yet, as we see in the chapters I was charged to read/study today (i.e., Chapters 21-23 of Acts), Paul stood his ground with regard to His Gospel ministry; and, in the face of being stoned to death by the Sanhedrin, he preached Christ crucified to these Jews.
So, what are we to learn from these passages as Christians charged by the Great Commission to share our faith with all people, no matter what their sinful lifestyles might be, no matter their religious persuasions, and their cultural taboos? Dr. Smith points to the truth that it doesn’t mean that Christians are to worship along side Muslims in their Mosques. It doesn’t mean that were to go into a bed with a prostitute to show her (or him) the way to Christ. BUT, … in Smith’s words, "… it does mean that we are to build whatever bridges we can so as not to offend religious sensitivities, in particular, in a bid to win hearts and souls for the Lord.”
And this is tough in today’s pluralistic and relativistic world, isn’t it? To some, especially staunch and mature Christians, we may appear being overly appeasing and accommodating as we do all we can to share our testimony or witness for Christ with those living in sin. And there will be times when we cannot accommodate truth in our attempt to exercise grace. I think of the schism in today’s world over how to witness and show God’s love for those who are practicing and living the homosexual lifestyle. How do we, as Christians who try our best to show God’s love for all people, show our love for homosexuals and still maintain the truth that practicing homosexuality behaviorally is an abomination in God’s eyes? How can we build bridges and share the love of God, with God’s grace, and still maintain God’s truth in these arenas of witnessing our faith?
I don’t know about you; but I’m convicted by Dr. Smith’s closing and challenging question, as he writes, ”What extraordinary steps have I taken lately to win some soul to Christ?” That one rumbles uncomfortably for me; and I let you deal with it on our own as well.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, I pray that You set me up with divine appointments so that I can show Your love through my testimony to the lost. Amen