091320 말씀운동 (행17:1-15) Word Movement (Acts 17:1-15)
2020년 9월 20일 업데이트됨
In the beginning, God created the universe out of nothing but his word “let there be”. In that same way, regardless of our powerlessness and nothingness, God can do his amazing works through his powerful and living word of creation.
Biblical records of King Manasseh and his grandson King Josiah in 2 Kings 21-23 can give us insight on the relationship between historic incidents and God’s word. King Manasseh rebuilt and worshipped the idols his predecessor Hezekiah had destroyed, practiced sorcery, and consulted mediums, rather than God and his word. As result, God prophesied impeding destruction for the Israelites and when his son Amon succeeded him as king, he was assassinated, along with those with plotted his assassination. Amid all the bloodshed, his son Josiah succeeded him and he, unlike his predecessors, restored God’s temple and there discovered the bible. He renewed the covenant with his people, promising “to follow the Lord and keep his commands, regulations and decrees with all his heart, and all his soul and all his strength”. The restoration that King Josiah led was the word movement, the method that God uses to do his work.
1. The history of mankind’s salvation began with the word movement.
The original purpose and joy of man, as God created him, was to worship God and dwell with him. As God’s most beloved creation, he was blessed with the garden of Eden and the command to “be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it” (Gen 2:28). To help man continue to enjoy his blessings and relationship with his creator, God gave to man his covenantal word to not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. However, due to Satan’s deception, man disobeyed God’s word and broke his covenant with God, resulting in fundamental problems of sin, separation from God and Satan. To save mankind from these three fundamental problems that man could not resolve on his own, God gave to man his covenantal word of the offspring of the woman, and steadily revealed this coming Messiah in his word through prophets and kings throughout the Old Testament. This covenant was finally fulfilled through Jesus’ ministry and death and on the cross. As his name implied, Jesus fulfilled the work of three positions: the king, priest, and prophet.
During his 3 years of ministry on earth, Jesus healed those who were physically and mentally ill because they were afflicted with evil spirits, revealing that Jesus had over Satan and evil spirits. When Jesus died on the cross, he crushed the head of Satan, as prophesied back in Gen 3:15, fulfilling God’s covenant. As evidence that he overcame the authority of Satan and death, he resurrected in 3 days. Jesus had victory over the Satan as our King.
In the old testament, people needed to sacrifice an animal to be forgiven of their sins, but by shedding his blood, he paid the wage of all our sin on our behalf. “through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit…has set you free from the law of sin and death” (Rom 8:2). Like the Priest in the old testament, he completed the work of pardoning our sin.
During his ministry, Jesus also taught his disciples and the crowds of people who followed him. More specifically, like a Prophet, he taught about the kingdom of God and the way to meet God: himself. “I am the way the truth and the life,” he said, “no one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Through his sacrifice as a sinless man, he paid the wage of all of our sin, giving anyone clearance to come before the Lord. This is the reason why, the moment Jesus died, “the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Matt 27:51). The purpose of the curtain was to separate God, who is Holy, from the people, who were unholy. No one, because of his sin, could come before God except the High Priest, but Jesus became the “new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is his body” (Heb 10:20).
The history of mankind’s salvation, God’s plan from the beginning to save us from our sin, began when he gave us his covenantal word of Genesis 3:15 and his work was centered on his word. Examples of other word movements include the Shema movement (Deut 6:4-9) in the wilderness, the Mizpah movement, led by Samuel in Canaan, the “Dry bones” movement (Ez 37:1-4) in Babylon, Jesus’ word movement on the Mt. of Olives with his 120 disciples, and the resulting Holy Spirit which came upon the the people in Mark’s upper room during Roman colonization. The common characteristic of all these movements was that, in the midst of great hardship (wilderness, captivity, colonization) and spiritual famine, God’s people restored and once again held on to the covenant they had forgotten about, and God worked immensely upon them and they and those around them were revived.
2. Paul’s world evangelism began with the word movement
God continued his plan for world evangelism first through the word movement in early church and then through the word movement in Paul, whose method was simple. In every town his visited, “as his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days, he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead” (Acts 17: 2-3). In his word movement, using evidence from the scriptures, Paul explained not just that Jesus died and resurrected but why he had to die and resurrect, why no one but Jesus could do the work of the Christ. He spoke about the rightfulness, necessity and absoluteness of Christ.
3. How do we begin the word movement?
God did not finish his work of world evangelization with Paul, but continued to work in historical word movements, such as the religious reformation in the 16th century, and the revivals of the 19th century in England and America. Missionaries from these movements, such as Moody, spread God’s word to us today, and it must not stop with us. God has called us and saved us not for us to live a religious walk of faith but a dynamic living walk of faith that does the word movement within ourselves and other people.
First, it begins with the individuals who yearn to learn the word. These are people like Lydia (Acts 16:14-15) and Jason (Acts 17) who did not just passively listen to God’s word but actively engaged with Paul, offering up their homes to provide a place to continuously hear God’s word. These homes later became the church of Philippi and Thessalonica.
Second, the content of the word movement, through catering to the needs of the listeners, must always be giving the cause of mankind’s fundamental problem and the solution of Christ. This is the core message of the gospel and way of salvation.
Third, the word movement must also help one come to the conclusion/answer that Christ is sufficient complete and everything. However, before you can have the word movement with others, you must enjoy the word movement within yourself first. The method to doing so has been modeled by the Bereans in the scripture reading. They were “of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11). They did not just listen to the word and passively receive it, but they actively engaged with the word, looking at the scripture and confirming for themselves the validity of God’s word. In doing so, the word becomes my own and imprinted. In the same way, actively engage with God’s word, whether it’s the daily or Sunday message. Confirm the word in the scriptures, seek answers for what you struggle to understand, and put into practice what you have learned. Then, the word no longer is just something you hear but something that is living, active and fulfilled exactly as written. You can experience God’s word of creation, which created everything out of nothing.