Wednesday, June 15, 2005

# 3: Message to the Young Church

The four Gospels offer an extremely radical message of what God’s demands are on those who choose to follow His ways. The Apostle Paul’s letters do not reveal the full extent of the available power that belief in God can produce for the simple reason that his letters were mostly meant for Gentile believers who were, to a large degree, ignorant of our great God and His Christ. Paul may have done this to make his message more acceptable to his foreign audience; but then he says in Acts 20:27 that he proclaimed the whole will of God to them—personally, there is doubt that tongue or pen is capable of revealing the complete will of God. God’s will must be experienced to be of any life-changing value.

Actually, as much as Paul attempted to make the Gospel more plausible to the Gentile believers, it was still quite mysterious and difficult for them to believe and understand, to say the least. We must remember that Christianity was in its infancy at Paul’s time, and an infant is capable of learning and digesting only so much: 1st Corinthians 1:23 says, “ . . . foolishness to the Gentiles.” One novel truth about this new religion was that they, through belief in an invisible God, all potentially had the necessary equipment (unadulterated belief) to perform the same supernatural feats that the Apostle Paul was engaged in, although they may not have been ready to accept this truth. This omission, along with a few others, has had a devastating effect on the Christian religion that followed, especially to those believers who relied on the Epistles more than the Gospels as to how to live the Christian life. They were not ready—and in many cases, we are not yet ready—to fully articulate and accept the accessible supernatural power that belief in God is able to generate in the lives of ordinary but genuine Christians.

Now the question arises, are we as Gentile believers—since we are not Jews by birth—to still believe in a diluted message, or actually live as mature, Christ-like Christians? Though Paul’s message was meant for a specific group of people in the 1st century, there is no heresy in it, although much of it is just good old-fashioned baby food. 1st Corinthians 3:1-2. “Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.”

And then to make matters worse, religious leaders for the last 2000 years have distorted and circumvented the majority of The New Testament’s original meaning. Through the pen of Luke, Paul warns believers—hopefully us—in the book of Acts, Chapter 20:29-30, that this distortion would occur.

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