In one sense the charges against Paul and Silas are not true. In both Thessalonica and Berea, it is the accusers who form a violent mob. Paul actually exhorts believers to live quiet and tranquil lives (1 Tim 2:2) and be subject to the authorities (Rom 13:1-7). But in another sense it should be true – we turn the world upside down by confronting it with the Gospel!
Paul is an unstoppable force – he is beaten up in Philippi, travels 100 miles to Thessalonica to preach the gospel, then when he is kicked out of there, travels 50 mile to Berea to do the same again. Paul is red hot for God!
Many “Christians”, as one commentator wrote, think there is an option to be a comfortable Christian. Comfortable Christians usually go to church on Sundays, unless one of their hobbies has a big event that day. They give a bit to help out the church. They volunteer some of their time to the cause, when time permits. For them, Christ and the church are a nice slice of life that help to make life more pleasant. But Christ and the church aren’t the centre of life, touching every area. These folks wouldn’t think of being inconvenienced for the sake of the gospel. But Jesus doesn’t offer that option!
Wesley wrote – “give me 50 who love nothing but God and fear nothing but sin and I’ll change the world.”
In both Thessalonica and Berea, Paul follows his normal pattern of starting in the Synagogue and trying to put some fire in a dead religion. He usually doesn’t get much result – flogging a dead horse. The response was mainly among God fearers, Gentiles who are trying out Judaism. Tomorrow we will see Paul’s approach when evangelising Gentiles, today we get a glimpse of his approach with Jews:
1) Start where they are at – with the Scriptures, what we call the Old Testament.
2) Show that the Messiah they were waiting for had to suffer and die (not a political Messiah) – most likely using Psalm 2,16,110,118 and Isaiah 52-53.
3) Show that Jesus fulfils that.
Don’t settle for comfortable Christianity – ask the Lord for fire in your belly and bring the kingdom of God to where you are today and every day!