WARNING: Genuine Christianity May Cause a Riot

Brace yourself…I’m about to drop an over-used word on you…”blessed”. Yep, in today’s language it can mean anything one considers a favorable development, but in the context of scripture it carried more significance. It was the difference between receiving an inheritance (Jacob versus Esau), or something God sovereignly chose to do. Paul often used it, but he didn’t just throw it in for dramatic effect. He knew the scope of how much he was blessed and he also wanted others to understand it too. Being changed by the power of God is a true blessing, and in the letter to the Ephesians Paul pointed out the purpose; which is for “the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:6, 12, 14).

It’s important to note that Paul had a special connection to Ephesus. When he was planting a church there, the new believers were living out their faith so well it caused a riot (Acts 19). Yep, an honest-to-goodness mob scene erupted because the followers of “this Paul” (v.26) had given up worshipping the idol Diana (and its commerce). Their new pattern of life had impacted the community so much that the tradesmen were accusing the Christians of bringing a total economic collapse. What’s more, after the instigators addressed the crowd, they all starting screaming “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!” to affirm what their city stood for…and it went on for hours.

As he wrote his heart-felt letter, Paul remembered the city. He remembered the people. He wrote with the echo of the loud, obnoxious shouting of “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!” still in his head. And he urged the readers to let their lives shout “to the praise of His glory!” even if everyone else is shouting something else. Today, the context really isn’t that much different. We also live in a culture of idolatry. It may not be the worship of a female-shaped goddess, but it’s often self, personal status, celebrities, or sex. In this rejection of God’s authority, millions have sacrificed unborn children on the altar of “the right to choose”, embraced creation over the Creator by making “green” causes sacred, and many other heresies.

Here’s the deal. By contrast, our lives are to shout “praise to His glory!” It won’t always be welcomed, but sometimes (when you least expect it) someone around you will be drawn to the “music”. Yes, we are blessed. As a matter of fact, Ephesians 1:3 says we are blessed “with every spiritual blessing”…and it’s to the praise of His glory!

On the Question of Peace

In preparation for our Men’s Bible Study, I read this painfully, spot-on quote regarding the church in America. Ironically it was written in 1948 and has never been truer:

“Right now we are in an age of religious complexity. The simplicity which is in Christ is rarely found among us. In its stead are programs, methods, organizations, and a world of nervous activities which occupy time and attention but can never satisfy the longing of the heart. The shallowness of our inner experience, the hollowness of our worship and that servile imitation of the world which marks our promotional methods all testify that we, in this day, know God only imperfectly, and the peace of God scarcely at all.”

– A.W. Tozer “The Pursuit of God”

“Lord please give us a fresh passion to know You in Your all-encompassing sufficiency so that we can make You known to the world around us that desperately needs to hear the truth…amen.”

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