Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: The Why of Apostolic Success

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The secret of the early church’s success was an understanding that “ye crucified Christ,” and then true repentance followed. Christ crucified became the central appeal of all the apostles’ ministry. The Book of Acts would never have been written unless the members of the early church realized their share of the guilt of the murder of the Son of God, and likewise shared in the joyful experience of appropriate repentance.

From Acts 10 onward we read of how others besides Jews partook of the same experience. The apostles marveled that the Gentiles should experience the same phenomenal response to the cross that the believing Jews did, and thus receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:44-47).

The Holy Spirit sent their words closer home than they expected. Their contrite hearers identified themselves with the Jews and recognized their share of the guilt. In other words, the Gentiles experienced a corporate repentance. Nothing in Scripture indicates that the full reception of the Holy Spirit in the last days will be any different.

Would we have done better? Let us picture ourselves in the crowd that gathered before Pilate that Friday morning. The strange Prisoner stands bound. It is popular to join in condemning Him. Not a voice is raised in His defense.

Suppose you are connected with Pilate’s government, or are in the employ of Caiaphas, the High Priest. You support your family with your wages. Would you have the courage to stand up alone and say, “We are making a terrible mistake here! This man is not guilty of these charges. He is what He claims--He is the divine Son of God! I appeal to you, Pilate and Caiaphas, accept this Man as the Messiah!”

Suppose your own close circle of friends have already joined the mockery and abuse of Jesus; would any of us have the nerve to face them alone and rebuke them for what they were doing? Realizing how easily a defense of Jesus might put us on the cross too, would we dare speak out? The answer is obvious.

We dare not say that the church as a world body cannot know this repentance, lest when we survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died, we pour contempt on His loving sacrifice by implying that it was in vain.

--Robert J. Wieland

From: "As Many As I Love": Christ's Call to Laodicea, 1986.
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