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They Turned the World Upside Down

January 8, 2007

Acts 1:8  “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

There was a documentary, aired a few months ago, telling about the micro-ice age; a period of time from the 1200s 0r 1300s up until the 1700s in which the climate of the northern hemisphere became notably colder than in the previous centuries.  One element that stood out to me was when the narrator was standing within the stone walls of a church in Greenland that had been built by the Vikings.  He told about the very last wedding ceremony that transpired in this church; even giving the names of the bride and groom if I remember correctly.  The climate was changing and the Vikings were leaving the increasingly inhospitable climate.  Of the many lessons that one could glean from this, I was struck by how the gospel had reached the northernmost outcroppings of Europe and North America; traversing cultures, traditions, language barriers, and every attempt by the devil to thwart its advance. 

Luke 24:45-47  “Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,  And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:  And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at jerusalem.”

Many critical events take place in the book of Acts following the ascent of Jesus into heaven.  One was the outpouring of the Holy Ghost on the day of pentecost.  120 disciples filled with the holy ghost; speaking in tongues as the Spirit gave utterance and on that day three thousand souls were added to the church.  Another was the outpouring of the Holy Ghost upon the Gentiles who were gathred at the house of Cornelius the Centurian.  The question of salvation being granted to the gentiles was settled.  A third was the road to Damascus conversion of Saul of Tarsus. (the apostle Paul)

Acts 9:15-16  “But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:  For I will shew him, how many things he must suffer for my names sake.”

This man who once persecuted the church beyond measure was now proclaiming that very faith.  Over half of the new testament was penned as the result of the apostle Paul being obediant to the heavenly vision instead of conferring with flesh and blood.   (Acts 26:19 and Galatians 1:16) 

I’ve always found it fascinating.  Paul was a “Hebrew of Hebrews; as touching the law, a pharisee.  He was exceedingly zealous of the traditions and trained up in the law far in excess of many of his contemporaries.  Yet he was chosen to go far hence into the Gentiles; coming into contact with nearly every culture, every form of belief system and endurring trials and tribulation every step of the way. 

Without a doubt, the spreading of the gospel was a supernatural happening; just as a person coming to Jesus today is a supernatural opening of ones eyes to the truth.  The truth that will make a person free indeed.  That being Jesus Christ coming into the world, living a sinless life, going to the cross, paying for the sins of all with his own blood, entering the lower chambers of the earth, stirpping Satan of all of his authority once and for all, raising from the dead three days later, appearing unto the disciples and many others, and being taken up into heaven. 

Of all of the events that are recorded in the book of acts, one that has always fascinated me is the account of when Paul was in Athens proclaiming the gospel on Mars hill.  Athens was a microcosm of the ancient world.  Every form of god and belief structure was represented in this city.  it was a melting pot of theology, philosophy,culture, and science.  Such was the atmosphere that Paul was confronted with upon his arrival. 

Acts 17:19-21  And they took him, and brought him unto areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest is?  For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean.  (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)

That’s all that they did.  Sit around waiting for someone to come by with another god that they could add to their collection.  I imagine that the monument building trade was flourishing in Athens.  (collect the whole set)  I remember a preacher one time telling about how difficult it was in India for this same reason.  Many would hear about Jesus and simply add to their collection of gods.  Jesus is from everlasting and is the very creator of all that is.  There has never been a time when God wasn’t, and as such, there has never been a time when Jesus was anything other than what he is.  The Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, the first and the last.

Acts 17:22-23  Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars hill, and said, ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.  For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.  Whom ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.

The Lord granted a door of utterance  and this monument to the God that is, but was not known by the men of athens provided a perfect picture of the spiritual condition that existed in those days.  They worshipped every god under the sun except the God who not only created the sun, but who created all that we see, every star, every mountain, every creature upon the earth, and in whose hand is the very breath of life. 

Acts 17:24-28  “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;  Neither is worshipped with mens hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;  And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;  That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from any one of us:  For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your poets have said, for we are also his offspring.”

The omnipitance of the Ancient of days.  The awesomeness of the Almighty that evades every attempt that one might make to place into a series of phrases.  His ways are past finding out, but we know that he reveals himself through his word.   The above situation that existed in Athens was repeated in every metropolitan area all across the ancient world.  Other gods by other names; so many that one would wonder how truth would ever escape the arena of debatings and into the hearts of men.  Yet it did and today, it still does.  It’s the Holy Ghost that brings a person to the understanding of their need for a Savior and that Jesus is the way to eternal life. 

I told this in a post a few days ago, but when I was a teen, I once thought about the idea that perhaps there simply is no god.  I could point to what had the appearance of evidence concerning this.  It was the grace of God, whom I didn’t know at that time, which kept me from venturing down a road which very well may have hardened my heart beyond reasoning.  I praise God for his mercy; even during a time of my life where I was incredibly confused and contrary to the ways of the Holy one of Israel.  The gospel of Jesus Christ isn’t simply a gathering of words and scripture.  It’s the power of the Holy Ghost working in the hearts of men saying “Today is the day of salvation.” 

This age is coming to its conclusion.  There will come a time in which the door of the ark will close.  If you don’t know Jesus Christ as your Savior, please think about this.  He is rich unto all that call upon him and will save any who come to him.  But you have to make that decision.  For me, that decision came in 1983.  I’ve had a lot of rough years where i wasn’t as obediant as I should have been, but I have NEVER regretted the day when I asked Jesus into my heart.  I pray that you would know him today if you have never been to Calvary.  I need to close this up.  I apolagize for the excessively long post.

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2 comments

  1. This is a great post. Keep up the great writing brother!

    Blessings in Christ Jesus!


  2. That’s a seriously long post!!!
    God bless
    Maria in the UK
    http://www.inhishands.co.uk



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