Memorize & Ponder for Sunday Jan 25, 2015
Paul: Making an Impression
(Janik Livera preaching)
Acts 22:3 (NRSV)
“I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia,
but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel,
educated strictly according to our ancestral laws,
being zealous for God,
just as all of you are today.”
Being the Church in Christ: Wisdom from Pastor Paul
(The Brentwood Sermon Series for 2015)
Throughout 2015, the Christian community at Brentwood Presbyterian Church will be considering how to be the church in Jesus Christ, guided by the wisdom of Pastor Paul. We invite you to listen for what the Spirit is saying in the text, then question how those insights might change the ways you see things and act in the world. Share your thoughts during the week on the meaning the Spirit creates for you in this text by posting a comment on our website – www.brentwoodpc.ca.
A Provocative Pondering
Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us provoke one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together … (Hebrews 10:23-25a)
Paul seemed to be very good at getting people riled up – especially in opposition to what he was saying and doing.
But his encounter with the risen Jesus, the Christ/Messiah of the Creator of the world, had shifted the focus of his zeal. It had convinced him of the truth that God was acting in Jesus of Nazareth to fulfill all his promises to Israel, and through them to the world. That, after all, was why God has chosen Israel, to be his agents in blessing the whole of creation with his love. Not that they were always faithful to that calling, but that was God’s intent. Now he had finally fulfilled that covenant in Jesus and had invited the whole world to the party.
So, Paul’s mission to the Gentiles grows out of his Jewish roots and, in Paul’s understanding, remains faithful to them.
The Jews of Paul’s day did not agree with this take on their tradition. In their anger, they conspired with the Roman authorities to silence Paul, many calling for his execution.
But Paul’s faith gave him the resilience to testify to and try and persuade all peoples of his age – Jews, Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and others – of the truth, goodness, and beauty of the Gospel that Jesus was Lord and God’s Kingdom had come to earth.
How can we best follow in Paul’s footsteps in witnessing to God’s presence and power in Jesus Christ in our day and age, making in our day and age the same impression Paul made in his?