Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Like A Good Neighbor

  In Acts 18, Paul is following his customary approach of teaching in the synagogue about Jesus as the Christ.  Even after Silas and Timothy arrive allowing him to solely focus on preaching; he runs into a brick wall in form of the stubborn Jews. He’s so fed up he shakes off his garment and vows to go to Gentiles instead and let their “blood be on your own heads”!

  So instead of preaching in the Jewish synagogue, he moves next door to the house of a man named Titius Justus, who is described as a worshiper of God.  We don’t know much about him but we can assume from his name he was a Roman and he was wealthy enough to own a home that could serve as a place of assembly.

  Now here is where it gets interesting. After this we read that Crispus, a leader of the synagogue, believes and is baptized along with entire household.  Right after Paul vows to go to the Gentiles, one of the most prominent Jews is converted.  It seems an odd time for him to make that decision. Even after Paul leaves the synagogue, there remain an considerable opposition to his efforts (vs. 12-13). It must have been a difficult decision for Crispus to make.

  Unless it maybe had something to do with his neighbor. I’m sure that these two men had a relationship long before Paul came into the picture.  They may have talked religion before, chatted about the going on in Corinth and do all the things neighbors do.  So when Crispus sees his neighbor open his home and life to the teaching of Jesus, I can’t help but think that is had an effect on his openness to listening to what Paul had been teaching.

  Our example alone can’t the extent of our evangelism but the kind of neighbor we are does have an effect on how people will receive the gospel.  Christian should be good neighbors.  We should be the kind of person that when someone realizes where we worship, it lends credence to the cause.  One worst story I ever heard was of a man that was ready to be baptized but he found out that a certain person was a member there, he remarked, than this can’t be the right church of the Bible!

  How does our example among those we live by say about the Faith?  Are we an asset or an embarrassment?  Are we person that brings people in or drives them away?  

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