Tuesday, December 15, 2015
For the next two years, Paul lived in Rome at his own expense. He welcomed all who visited him, boldly proclaiming the Kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ. And no one tried to stop him. Acts 28:30-31 (NLT)
The last three sentences of the book of Acts are so full of hope and instruction it virtually leaps off the page with God’s “game plan” for evangelizing the world. There are at least five words that can help point us in the right pathway for spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ:
Paul’s life following Christ was a battle. At first the early church wanted nothing to do with Gentiles. Paul was convinced that God was opening the doors to the entire world, not just the Jews. Success of the Gospel always means there will be a battle for truth to triumph over wrong ideas born of selfishness and stubbornness.
Paul lived at this stage with no financial support from others. It is axiomatic that worldly success depends on fundraising, networking and power-brokering. The Gospel must be independent of personal agenda and indenture to “fund” outreach and evangelization.
Paul welcomed everyone; now that is a loaded phrase in our age of dividing the camps. The apostle probably did not have anything more than a desire to proclaim Christ without pedigree consideration. His open acceptance and defense of the Gentiles witnesses to Paul’s stand on offering Christ to all people.
At Rome, the ancient capitol of the empire’s influence, He probably encountered many people who were pariahs, those who would be unwelcome in a lot of churches today.
Paul didn’t waste his breath arguing about small things like we do today in the church. His concern was spreading the Good News that Advent had indeed come, and God was willing for all to come into his presence through Jesus.
And he did this proclaiming of the Gospel boldly! There was little political correctness about Paul; neither was there room for a watered-down, hat-in-hand, timid, Mary Poppins’ spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down. Paul didn’t pull punches; he preached the truth.
Whenever someone showed interest in the Gospel, Paul’s life immediately became invested in helping the seeker understand God’s ways.
Doctrine is part and parcel of Proclamation! Without doctrine, you can energetically declare something in which you believe, but it may be flawed and dangerous. In the same way, in every doctrinal presentation there must be the “preaching” that appeals to more than the mind; Christ’s message is for the heart too!
Out of struggle and an independent hospitality the church proclaimed a truth (doctrine) of Jesus Christ – and it is irresistibly true.