Connection with other people, knowing them, understanding what makes them tick, what motivates them, is the key to introducing others to a relationship with the Jesus Christ. In Acts 23 we can see how Paul uses this knowledge to defend himself so eloquently. They are there to accuse him, yet with a few simple words he turns the group accusing hims against each other. He gets to the root of the problem which happens to also be a debate among them, and successfully stirs the pot and divides and conquers his attackers. He connects with the Pharisees, and what their viewpoint is and that they passionately defend, so they change from attacking Paul to defending him.
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“Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others were Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, ‘My brothers, I am a Pharisee, descended from the Pharisees. I stand on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead’.” – Acts 23:6
This connection is what life is all about. Relationships. Ultimately the relationship that matters most is our relationship with our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul serves as a great model for us to understand how to fulfill our ultimate purpose here on earth, which is the great commission – to share the news of Jesus Christ and to make disciples and followers of Christ — Matthew 28:19-20 – “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
For us to be effective at this, we can learn from Paul and connect with people. As Paul puts it, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” 1 Corinthians 9:22. That means we have to know people and connect with them. Paul gives us more insight on how to do this, by becoming servants of others. In verse 19, Paul says, “For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.” 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.” Paul, the person who wrote more than half of the New Testament, and one of the most influential Christians of all time, notwithstanding Christ, tells us exactly how he does it.
Pastor David and Nicole Crank sum this up very succinctly in their 4 week Growth Track course that they offer – “Connect with God, connect with people, discover your purpose, make a difference.” Let us understand that we cannot live in caves and hide from society, shut ourselves off, or be all high and mighty, and get close to God and lose connection with people. Jesus didn’t do that! He went out among the people and made a difference. He didn’t judge them, his heart went out to them.
When you start getting close to God and learn how jacked up this society is, don’t let that shut you off from everyone. If anything, it should open your heart to wanting to help others, for we are all God’s children, an we are to love one another – to love our neighbors as ourselves. In John 11:35 we learn that, “Jesus wept.” This showed his deep compassion for others. He overcame death, and could raise people from the dead – heck in a few minutes he was going to raise Lazarus. So why would he weep? Compassion. Care and concern for others.
We see a second instance of this in Luke as our Lord approached Jerusalem and thought of all those lost souls, “He saw the city and wept over it” (Luke 19:41). What is really interesting when you look forward 40 years in 70 AD, more than 1,000,000 residents of Jerusalem died in one of the most gruesome sieges in recorded history. Since God knows all I believe that as Jesus looked over this city, his compassion came through and he felt for all of these people, knowing the suffering that was to come for these who were lost.
I believe God understands COMPLETELY our compassion for others, and how it troubles our souls to know that there are souls that are lost. So to have compassion for others we need to be around others. But we must make time first and foremost for God. Jesus often went off to spend time with God, alone, in prayer. To be refreshed. So it is a balance of both.
The bible is an amazing thing. Everything we need to know to walk on this earth, to live, to find peace, to live in purpose, it is all in there. The Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. I believe it. Do you receive it? Let us connect with God, so that we can connect with others, discover our purpose, and make a difference.
Dear heavenly Father, we come to you today with open hearts and open minds. Let your work be done in us, that we might find our purpose in alignment with your Will. Help us to have compassion for others Lord, to now shut ourselves off, but to connect, to really connect with others. And let your light shine in us so that others will come to know You Lord. Help us to obedient to you Lord. Help our actions be for You, not for show or any outwardly reason, but to You and for You alone. We receive your power, your healing, your understanding, your peace, your joy, your Holy Spirit, all of Your goodness, in Jesus mighty name. Amen.
Today’s full reading: Leviticus 26,27; Acts 23
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