I love the passage in Acts 16:22-40 which tells the story of Paul and Silas in prison. They were thrown into jail falsely and around midnight while they were singing praises to God, there was a big earthquake that opened up the jail and caused their chains to come off. There jailer came out ready to kill himself because he was afraid the prisoners had escaped. Paul called out to him not to do so because they were all present. That was so amazing that the jailer converted and he and his whole household were baptized.
The next day when Paul and Silas were released, they asked why they were being released in secret when they had been publicly humiliated and arrested even though they were Roman citizens. The authorities apologized to them and let them go.
I learnt a lot from this passage that I’d like to share.
1. When bad and unjust things happen to me how do I react? Do I see God’s hand in everything and choose to praise him or do I complain and gripe? Choose to praise always! It even breaks open prison doors.
2. And do I think of how my actions affect others? Imagine if Paul and Silas had taken the opening of the prison doors as an opportunity to escape. The poor jailer would have lost his job and been in disgrace. And if he had killed himself, his family would have lost their breadwinner. Instead by staying, they provided a witness that blew the jailer’s mind so much that he converted together with his family. How do I treat the witnessing opportunities I encounter?
3. Third lesson was about how Paul and Silas even bore the imprisonment. They only pointed out that they were Roman citizens after they had been released. Perhaps, you and I would have “fought” for our rights and taken the people to court. They let the people off with an apology….perhaps because they felt their work of evangelization was more important and urgent. They also left the people wondering…. who are these Romans who chose not to fight for their rights. Perhaps that wonder turned into a seed of the word of God that bore fruit.
My prayer is that we will choose to praise at all times, see every encounter as an opportunity to evangelize and be willing to bear wrong for the sake of Christ. Impossible with man but possible with God!
Angela Azumah Alu
Image from: https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTPSMTArXUhpzPo0-p-e3VgD-rCMMcV3dM6p5J3k1TuOzw4A_0f
In our day, we face almost the same situation as the early church did. We are in a society where prosperity is seen as a sign of God’s favour, where people are lovers of themselves rather than of God, a society filled with necromancy, occultism, a focus on externals and many other things that digress from the gospel of Christ. The world cries out for authentic Christianity.
We must remember that although the externals are not the essence of Christianity, whatever spirit that is ruling our life will affect all we do, ie, what is inside us will invariably show up and show which kingdom we belong to. If you belong to Christ, what is the evidence?
God sent for the message of prosperity and divine healing however, we have taken it to mean that if you are not prosperous, God has not blessed you and have forgotten that the Christian walk entails suffering as well. It has also affected the body of Christ because we have a whole generation of Christians who expect prosperity as a sign of God’s favour and are not well grounded in the basic doctrines of Christianity. That has even taken away the impetus for evangelization.
Again, the whole crazy about prosperity has created a desperate class of people who feel their poverty acutely and may do anything to get out of it including homosexuality and “sakawa” further creating problems for the society. It is imperative that we pray for the poor of the nation but beyond that show love for needy Christians as well in order to avert some of these problems. The early church was noted for the love they showed.
Let us remember that we as Christians are the salt and light of the earth. We are the ones supposed to model behavior in the society.
In the early church, the message was entrusted to reliable/faithful men and women (2 Tim 2:2). The essence of Christianity is God being in control of our thoughts and aactions. (Matthew 28:18-20). We also need to study about the basic doctrines of Christianity (Hebrews 6:1-2). It is important for churches to have discipleship classes so Christians can grow.
Let us remember that the greatest evidence of Christianity is a changed life!
How you can evangelize
- Using facebook and other social media
- Being an online missionary
- Speaking one on one to people, e.g., you could decide to speak to one person about Christ at every lecture.
- Using text messages
Your lifestyle is not an alternative way but is a necessary evidence of your Christianity. Let us watch our lifestyles.
Also learn to embrace new technologies/ new trends and use them for the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Excel in your studies to make the gospel of Jesus Christ attractive to unbelievers. Manage your time well.
Finally, enjoy fulfilling the Great Commission.
God bless us all!