46 - Eternal Perspectives

Life Lessons with Dr. Steve Schell

11-01-2024 • 46 minutos

We’re in a section of the Book of Acts where we’re watching Paul and Barnabas move from city to city. They only stay for a matter of weeks or months before they are forced to move on. Yet in each place they leave new believers who’ve been joined together into a spiritual family, who are very aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit among them and who, in the midst of great hostility, possess an almost inexplicable joy. You would think that after the apostles departed these new “babes in Christ” would quickly be overwhelmed by all the pressures against them, and abandon their faith. You would think that it would be impossible to establish something lasting in such a short period of time, with so little teaching, and in such a hostile environment. Yet as we continue watching these missionary journeys we see just the opposite. We see churches taking root and growing. Paul’s letters, that fill up so much of our New Testament, are written to churches that began just this way, and though they are clearly not without their struggles, collapsing and ceasing to exist is not one of them. Instead, Paul’s letters are full of the normal pastoral issues that arise in a body of believers. So, how do we explain the fact that people who’d had so little time invested in them were able to endure, and even flourish in their faith? What did Paul and Barnabas do to them that left them with such tenacious faith? Of course, we already know the most important reason, which is that they had been presented with an accurate gospel, and as a result were fully born again, including receiving the baptism with the Holy Spirit. So there was no doubt in their minds that God had come into their lives. The gospel had come to them with power. This was not simply a new doctrine. God was with them. They felt His love, they saw the sick healed and the tormented delivered, and He answered their prayers. This was more than religion. This was reality. But Paul and Barnabas also taught them well. They laid a foundation of understanding so these new believers would have an accurate perspective on what was happening to them. There are so many things we need to know about God, so many principles and truths that guide our lives. But if you only had a few weeks with someone, and there was no such thing as Christian literature to leave with them, only the Old Testament, and maybe only parts of that, what would you teach them? What truths would they need, above everything else, so they could face the trials ahead? The answer is surprising, and very basic. Paul and Barnabas (and Jesus) taught things many of us today might think of as negative or overly controversial. We might mention these things in passing, but not really “hammer it home” as truths vital to their survival. But they did, and maybe that’s why their disciples, young in their faith though they were, stood firm in the midst of a storm of affliction. Maybe it’s because they faced a hostile world armed with eternal perspectives.

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