March 8, 2018
Read Acts 16:1-15
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Scripture- Acts 16:2-3- Timothy was well thought of by the believers in Lystra and Iconium, so Paul wanted him to join them on their journey. In deference to the Jews of the area, he arranged for Timothy to be circumcised before they left, for everyone knew that his father was a Greek.
Observations- At first glance it seems odd that Paul would encourage Timothy to submit to circumcision after just winning the argument over this not being a requirement to follow Jesus. This was, however, a voluntary act done out of respect to further advance the mission of Jesus in the world. The circumcision of Timothy wasn't communicating that we are saved by Jesus and circumcision; rather it was a secondary issue and a voluntary choice in service of reaching more people with the Good News.
Application- Some things are so important we go to the mat over them, but others are worth setting aside, not because they aren't important, but because they aren't essential. The meaning of the cross and the atoning death of Jesus is essential. The reality of the resurrection is essential. The authority of Scripture over our personal preferences is essential. There are some values at New Hope that are so important that we can't compromise on them- like our commitment to love Jesus, care about all people, follow God’s guidance, seek to live out truth with grace, work in teams and value everyone’s input, and stay open to taking risks and making bold decisions. What are some essentials to you that are non-negotiable?
Prayer- O Father, in that which is essential, let us seek the kind of unity that reflects the oneness between You and the Son, our Savior. In the things that are non-essential, let us allow for gracious and expansive space in our togetherness. God, in all things, let us seek to always live out a more full expression of Your love, in Jesus' name and for His sake. Amen.
"For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us." (Ephesians 2:14),
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