The Great Opportunity
Making a message multi-cultural and relevant for
successive generations over hundreds of years is extremely difficult.
Generations have different priorities and concerns. As time produces changes, it
is easy for a current generation to transpose its current concerns on the old
That always has been true. The gospels’ Judaism and the Judaism at the end of
the Old Testament are distinctly different. Approximately 400 years [and a lot
of history!] passed between the last writing in the last Old Testament and
Jesus’ birth. When Jesus’ message directed Judaism’s leaders to a God-centered
understanding, he met resentment and ridicule. Jesus’ concerns and first century
Judaism’s concerns were radically different. God’s intent and first century
Judaism’s concerns frequently were unrelated!
In the first century Roman Empire, the exposure of infants was an accepted
practice. In this practice, a newborn infant was abandoned to the elements to
die. We call that murder. Though a sanctioned practice, a discussion of this
horrible practice is not mentioned in the New Testament.
Slavery is mentioned—as a fact, a reality. Yet, the slavery then was distinctly
different to early American slavery. Their slavery was not a racial matter. Some
of their most accomplished people were slaves—and some of those slaves actually
owned slaves! Though the New Testament makes it obvious that slavery did not
prevent one from becoming a Christian, it never condemns slavery.
Horrific circumstances produced incredible opportunities. Christian values
displayed in daily life successfully opposed exposure. The values demonstrated
in daily existence successfully opposed slavery.
If you love people [even if they are enemies!], your daily existence rejects
exposure (see Matthew 5:44, 45 and 1 Corinthians 13:13). Are you a Christian
slave? Use your slavery to glorify God! (See 1 Corinthians 7:21, 22.) Is your
faith in Christ causing suffering? Use your suffering to illustrate your hope!
(See 1 Peter 3:14, 15.)
The American dream is wonderful! American freedom is a priceless gift! But do
not interchange commitment to God and Christ with the American dream. Christian
faith is not declared because “everything goes right.” Christian faith is
declared by our behavior when things are not right. Christian faith is not
declared by a pain free life. Christian faith is declared by the way Christians
react to suffering.
Worship gives Christians strength to live daily life! Daily life reveals the
value of faith in God and His resurrected Son! It is through living daily life
that we reveal what it means to be the temple of the Holy Spirit.
The primary issue is not, “Do I worship?” It is, “Who does trust in Christ make
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 18 November 2004
related article The Great Deceit
Link to other
Writings of David Chadwell