Some Laughed and Others Believed — Acting Out: Day 29

Read Acts 17:16-33

Key Verse: Acts 17:32 “When they heard Paul speak of the resurrection of a person who had been dead, some laughed, but others said, ‘We want to hear more about this later.” (NLT)

When we want to share our faith with others we are often nervous and hesitant because we are afraid that someone might laugh at us. The desire to Act Out for God is there in our lives but the idea of being laughed at makes it so difficult to do what we really want to do for God. The important thing that we need to remember is that we are not alone in this, even the Apostle Paul was laughed at, yet he never let that stop him from continuing to Act Out.

People always laugh at ideas that seem strange to them, it’s just a human reaction to try and deal with being forced to accept new ideas. People laughed at the idea of the world being round instead of flat, they laughed at the idea of space travel, they even laughed at the idea of gravity. It does not really matter that people laughed at those ideas in the past, what matters is that we have accepted them all now. Imagine if people stopped trying to prove that the world was round simply because they were laughed at. North America would hardly be populated at all and it certainly would not be the home of some of the world’s greatest nations.

People may laugh at you when you share your faith and Act Out for God. But the real important thing is that while some may laugh others may come to believe and you may be able to help change the world for somebody.

Prayer: “Lord, it is very hard to share about your love to people who laugh at me but I know that they only do it because they don’t know how to react. Help me to stand up and Act Out for you because although some may laugh, others may come to believe in you.”

The Benefits of Sin

We often hear people argue that they don’t need Jesus since they are fine just the way that they are.  “I like the way my life is right now. I don’t see why I ought to change,” they say.  Ah, the “benefits” of sin.  Of course they don’t want to change, why trade all that sin has to offer for anything else?  It is this great lie that so many people choose to believe, that everything is fine without Jesus and that they will be missing so much if they accept Him.   

Somehow there is a delusion that things are permissible and easy without Jesus and strict and rigged with Him.   That may be the common thought but in reality it is quite the opposite that ends up being true.  Without Christ people are in bondage to sin yet see themselves as being totally free.  They think that with Christ they will be bound by religious lists of do’s and don’t’s but the truth is that only in Christ that we are ever truly free.

It comes down to the benefits of a life with Christ or life without Him and which is most appealing.  Paul asks a rhetorical question in Romans 6:21 that is worth trying to answer, “What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!” (‭‭Romans‬ ‭6:21‬ ‭NIV‬‬)  He already put the final exclamation point on the answer for us.  Paul declares that whatever else the benefits of a life of sin might be, the ultimate result is death and this is eternal death and complete separation from God the Father.  But there are other things that sin gives us before death puts the final exclamation point on life.

1) Guilt – the feeling of remorse that comes when you have done something wrong.  Here is a great benefit to sin.  Everyone loves that deep ache in the pit of your stomach that comes when you know that you have done something wrong.  The uneasy feeling of a conscience that is torn and consumed with thoughts of regret and sadness for behaviours we want nothing more than to wish away. 

2) Shame – the feeling that there is something wrong with you.  The benefit of shame takes our guilt and internalizes it, making us feel like not only were our actions wrong but that we are broken ourselves.  Shame succeeds in lower our view of ourselves to the point that we no longer believe that we are worthy of anyone else’s attention or affection.  Who wouldn’t want to experience this benefit of sin more?

3) Fear – the feeling that there will be unpleasant consequences for your actions.  Another wonderful benefit of sin is that as guilt and shame settle in they then allow fear to take a hold of us.  This deep sense of dread and the inability to rest or relax because we know that bad things are coming our way, can be ours if we choose the benefits of sin.  

Of course I’m being facetious but I think that point is clear enough.  When Paul asked what benefit we received from the things we did in sin, he meant for us to see that there is no benefit to sin at all that is worth wanting.  In contrast, a life in Christ Jesus knows the benefits of having our guilt and shame removed.  With Jesus we get to experience perfect love and we know that perfect love drives out fear (1 John 4:18).  Ultimately the greatest benefit we could ever ask for is only found in Jesus and that of course is eternal life.

Which benefit package do you want to experience? 

The Hole Part 1: Escape

There is a hole.

A deep, dark hole at the bottom of which everyone of us is born.   This hole is sin and it means to keep us away from God.  The sides of the hole are loose and unstable.  There is no way for any person to climb out of their own personal hole of sin.  Living a respectable life and striving to do good deeds may make your hole seem a little brighter but you can’t climb out on your own.  In the hole we remain in utter darkness. Darkness so black that makes it impossible for us to even know which way is up.  It is so dark in fact that almost no one realizes that they are even in a hole of sin until they get out. 

Yes, there is a way out. There is only one way to escape the hole and to stand in the light. One way to be free from sin’s trap and know true freedom.  No matter how many good deeds or thoughts we construct, it would never be enough to allow us climb out of our sin.  Since we could never climb out on our own we needed help from the outside. God the Father knew we would never escape sin’s hole without His intervention so He graciously and mercifully sent His own Son to climb down into the hole of sin and make a way out for us.  Jesus was Himself without sin and had never been in a hole of His own, therefore He alone was uniquely qualified for God’s great rescue plan.  God’s Son came and gave His life to bring us eternal life.  He paid the full debt of our sins by dying on the cross for us.  Jesus came and humbled Himself.  He entered the hole of sin and made a way out for us.  By dying to pay for our escape from sin, He has become the only one who is both allowed to and able to pull us out.  Now He offers His own body as our way of escape.  He bids us all to accept His deliverance from sin’s hole and He longs to lift us up into glorious light.  

The only way out of sin is to be lifted out.  We can’t get out on our own but we can accept God’s plan to save us.  The hole is deep and dark and collapsing all around us.  If we choose to stay in our sin, eventual the hole will completely bury us and we will be lost in sin forever.  There is an incredible sense of urgency here, you can hear Jesus calling out and if you look you can see that He alone is the only source of light available to us.  By dying for you He became the only way of escape for you.  Now He knells at the edge of every person’s hole of sin and hopes that we might accept His help.  He reaches down a nail scarred hand and pleads for us to take a hold of Him so that by His love He can pull us to safety.

There is a hole, a deep, dark hole.  There is also a light of hope that beams down into that hole and there is a Savior who loves you and will save you if only you would accept His help.

The Four Nails of The Cross

“A sign was fastened above Jesus’ head, announcing the charge against him. It read: ‘This is Jesus, the King of the Jews’.” Matthew 37:37 (NLT)
It is important for all of us to recognize the means by which Jesus paid the price for our sins.  By dying on the cross, He not only paid our debt but He also opened up the possibility for all of us to be made right in the eyes of God.

During the crucifixion of Jesus, four nails were driven into His cross. Three of those nails pierced the flesh of our Saviour, while the fourth nail was used to fasten a sign above His head.  Those nails are not pretty objects that we like to spend a lot of time thinking about, but they played a critical role in the narrative that paved the way for our salvation.  Thinking about those four nails today and each of their positions in the cross, I begin to see that they serve as an object lesson that reminds us of our responsibilities as believers in Jesus Christ.

The two nails in His hands should remind us that it is our job to be the hands of Christ to reach out, and touch, and heal the brokenness in our world.  It was with His own hands that Jesus healed the lepers, the deaf, the blind, the dying and even the dead.  It was with His hands that He changed so many lives and today we must be His hands.  As we reach out and comfort those who mourn, or offer relief to those who are suffering, we are quite literally acting as the hands of Jesus.  We can do what He would be doing; “For even the Son of Man (Jesus) came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45

The nail that held His feet to the cross reminds us to be the feet of Jesus.  By coming to the Earth He created, God demonstrated the great lengths that He is willing to travel to bring His love to us.  Jesus left this instruction, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 28:19.  He means for us to do as He did, be His feet and go everywhere to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to know about Him.

The final nail was used to fix to the cross a sign that read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”  Like that fourth nail we should take it upon ourselves to share the truth.  Jesus is the King and not just the king of the Jews but the King of all.  As followers of Christ we ought to hold fast to that message and boldly share it with everyone who will listen.

Let the four nails of the cross remind us today to be His hands, to be His feet, and share His message to this world.