“AS HE REASONED ABOUT RIGHTEOUSNESS”
There is a lot of discussion in the world over what to do about climate change – there are different interpretations over what is claimed to be ‘evidence.’ Those who are going to pay most for the action said to be needed – appear to disagree the most. Lots of voices, but little harmony!
This lack of harmony is well illustrated in our readings in the book of Acts. The Apostle Paul was the centre of attention, they could not deny the things he said so they had to resort to false allegations. Such are the ways of human nature, it was shown at its worst with the plot to ambush and murder Paul.
Times have changed but human nature hasn’t. But what is it that really matters in all the debating? It has been well said that nobody wins an argument! Why is that? Because nobody really listens to know whether they agree or not with at least some of what the “opposition” is saying. The most challenging reasoning is that which centres on how a situation is actually going to affect you.
Now this is what Paul did in his contact with Felix, the Roman Governor, who had “a rather accurate knowledge of the Way (of Christ): [Acts 24 v.22] and “he sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus” [v.25] What did Paul tell him about Jesus? We would love to know more but note how the text says “as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgement, Felix was alarmed”
Paul was making the matter personal, the way Christ had, in carrying out his Father’s will set in motion the ultimate challenge to human life. It was going to affect Felix … and, of course, us. Do we back away from thinking really personally about what the Bible message means to me, how this is going to affect my life? When we talk to other people about Christ, do we end by making it personal? This is the example Paul set.
Of course, whether we follow the way of Christ or not, the truth of what the Bible says about the climax of this world, which is almost certain to happen in the 21st Century, and quite possibly before the end of this decade, is not going to change – regardless of what attitude we personally take!! About 9 years after Paul’s discussion with Felix Jerusalem was surrounded by Roman armies, 3 years after that, the historian Josephus says, a million Jews died and Jerusalem was destroyed.
The whole world is in the same situation today, we cannot know the exact number of years of course, but the message about “coming judgement” – but this time judgement on the whole world – is so meaningful today! Yet even more meaningful – and vital for you and I – is how Paul “reasoned about righteousness” We are going to read his reasoning in several of his letters from next Friday, let us take careful and prayerful heed – so that – having developed a real commitment and relationship with the Saviour of the world, we will not be “alarmed.” D.Caudery