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Something About Religion

Something About Religion

18 February 2009

Scripture:

17 “When his accusers came here for the trial, I didn’t delay. I called the case the very next day and ordered Paul brought in. 18 But the accusations made against him weren’t any of the crimes I expected. 19 Instead, it was something about their religion and a dead man named Jesus, who Paul insists is alive." (Acts 25:17-19 NLT)

Observation:

The Roman governor Festus didn’t know the Jewish culture like his predecessor Felix. When he came into office the Jews demanded he sentence Paul to death and he responded quickly, thinking that Paul must be a terrible criminal. When he met Paul and heard the charges against him, it didn’t make sense. What he heard was, to his inexperienced ear, “Something about their religion and a dead man named Jesus.”

Application:

It’s difficult for non-Christians to understand why different Christian denominations have such a hard time getting along with each other. We divide over all sorts of issues: Worship styles, Church government, How to baptize, Dress codes, Women in ministry, Which Bible translation to use, and all sorts of doctrinal points. To the outsider, it all seems so pointless. It’s “something about their religion and a dead man named Jesus.”

Jesus prayed for our unity and said that the world would know we are his followers by the way we love each other. I keep remembering the saying first attributed to Augustine and used by many others since his time, “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, and in all things charity.”

Is there a way we can get back to the point the church reached in Acts 15 where they said, “It seems good to the Holy Spirit and to us”?

Prayer:

Father, I know this isn’t easy, but please help me to know what things need to be issues and which don’t. Help me to be at peace with others who see things differently and to be a bringer of peace in relationships. Amen.

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