This is the 3rd installment of the series, “Why So Many?” In this series, we are taking some time to discover some of the characteristics of 1st century Christians that carried the Gospel of Jesus to many of the most populated countries of the 1st century world, laying the foundation for the 2.3 billion Christians in the world, today.
The Old Testament
Many Christians avoid most of the Old Testament. Genesis is fascinating, Psalms encouraging, Proverbs helpful, Ecclesiastes and Job are readable but confusing. All other books in the Old Testament tend to be relegated to a Scriptural smorgasbord.
David and Goliath, Jonah and the
Whale fish, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and a few other stories are commonly cherry-picked from God’s Word. However, when the 1st century Christians evangelized they used what we call the Old Testament; there was no New Testament. As an example, let’s look at Hebrews 2:6 ESV, “It has been testified somewhere, “What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him?” The author of Hebrews was quoting Psalms 8:4, “what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?“
For 1st century Christians, the books of the Old Testament were the Holy Scriptures they fed on and referred to when witnessing. As Christians living in the 21st century, we still need to feed on God’s Word. We need all of God’s Word; not just carbs and sugars, but proteins and the rest of God’s nutrients. Perhaps you’re like me, you may hate brussels sprouts, but they are good for us so (occasionally) we eat them. Likewise, you may be like me and feel intimidated by the 119th Psalm because it’s so lengthy. Still, for our lives in Christ, we need to consume those living words.
No matter where we look in this world we see people that need Jesus. The ways of our “modern” world are failing. Well, that’s what happened to the 1st century Jewish Christians and just look how God used them! Praise God, He is laying out before us opportunities to show and share Jesus like no other time in my lifetime.
We must love fellow Christians and love the lost, too. Hospitality needs to be our middle name. “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” (Hebrews 13:2 ESV) These are exciting times.
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