Acts 22: Rejected
February 14, 2023
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Exodus 35-37, Psalm 37:1-22, Matthew 16:1-12, Acts 22
Paul now gives his defense to his Jewish people in Jerusalem before the temple. He has been arrested by the Romans because a riot was going on as people protested his presence in the temple. What will Paul do? What will he say? He seizes this moment for an evangelistic opportunity.
First, he speaks in Aramaic—the language of his people. It is an important principle that we speak in the “heart language” of the people we are trying to reach. Using terminology that connects. Avoiding terms that seem alien or distant. Using the kinds of language and speech that are in the language of their “mother-tongue.” How can you use terms and words that will speak in the language of the people you are trying to reach and lead?
Second, he tells the story. Paul does not begin by lecturing about the doctrine of the gospel. He tells the story of what has happened to him, how Christ has impacted his life. There is a place for doctrinal lectures. Yet if you are looking to make a connection, a story that retells the story of the gospel is precious gold and brilliant silver. It is the currency of human connection. And Paul here tells how Christ intervened in his life. How could you tell the story of what God has done for you as you reach out to those around you?
Third, despite the best of techniques, Paul’s message was still roundly rejected. There is no way of guaranteeing that everyone will always accept the gospel we preach and witness to. Jesus was rejected. Paul was rejected. Some will hear and believe. Others will not. Bear this in mind: your goal is to be faithful to your calling, not guarantee certain results. If you live by results, you will either end up disappointed, or you will twist the message you preach and witness so as to make it more palatable to those you are attempting to reach. Aim for faithfulness. Even the great apostle was rejected.
Fourth, Paul unashamedly used legal principles in order to protect himself and the gospel that he preached. He made sure that the Romans knew he was a Roman citizen, and that by birth. This gave him protection from the worst form of interrogation and beating. Sometimes Christians can feel embarrassed about standing up for the rights of the gospel in a secular society. But there are rights under law to which we can appeal, and it is wise to do so when being persecuted by non-Christians for the gospel that we believe and preach.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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