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“Those who have turned the world upside down have come here.” (Acts 17:6). This was the accusation leveled against some early Christians not too many years from the time Jesus ascended into heaven. Paul and Silas were among them, in Thessalonica, roughly 1,000 miles from Jerusalem.

So the question is: How could this small band of Christians make waves so far away in such a short period of time? The answer may surprise you. They had met the risen Lord, were so desperate that their very survival depended on prayer and they were boldly sharing their faith even in the face of threats against their lives. Now that is a lethal combination.

Some will say that the disciples were only being falsely accused of turning the world upside down. In other words, since this is a rioting crowd, they were exaggerating. You ever heard of hyperbole?

Well, let’s consider that for a moment. Maybe this was a catchy phrase these rioters came up with, but they went further. They said, “They are defying Caesar’s decrees, saying there is another king, one called Jesus.” (Acts 17:7). Hmmm. That is really radical, if you want my opinion. It is subverting the order of things. It’s challenging the authorities and threatening the very fabric of a society which existed on the premise that the Emperor was the one existing power. Christians had become dangerous to society. That is as counter-cultural as they come, and the Church must reclaim this place in the world, even if it costs us a lot — or even everything.

Kim Jong Il was not afraid to say it. He considered Christians, “my most volatile enemies.” Christians threaten to change allegiances and dethrone human dynasties wherever they go. All they need to say is “I am the way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except by me.”

From that perspective, Christians were being accused of committing a crime. But that wasn’t stopping them from speaking of what they had seen and heard. They were an unstoppable force for this Jewish Messiah who died and rose again. They had seen it with their own eyes and they couldn’t stop talking about it.

But then something happened in the last 2000 plus years. The Church of Jesus Christ became a sleeping giant. We’ve been cornered into silence and became only a semblance of the power that once was.

But not all is lost. We can still become bold, we can still rely on prayer, and we must. In fact, we must or we will become totally irrelevant and not even risk being falsely accused of turning the world upside down. Come to church this Sunday and find out how we recover that dream.

 

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade

 

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