R = reasoned
E = explaining
P = proving
Pastor Alex highlighted these three words in our Bible study at homegroup this week. We were reading in Acts 17:2-3 (NIV) …
As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he REASONED with them from the Scriptures, EXPLAINING and PROVING that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead. “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Messiah,” he said. (emphasis added)
When Paul entered a city, he went to the synagogue with the purpose being to preach the Gospel. Paul’s chief mission was to tell the Gentiles about Jesus (Acts 9:15) but he didn’t ignore the Jews. He knew they needed to understand the Gospel if there was to be a united faith – a united church.
The Life Application Bible commentary pointed out that Paul had a best practice we should adopt today in that he started his discussion in the Scriptures; that’s what his audience knew and was comfortable with. In presenting any new idea, start where people are today, if you can, and then explain and prove your idea from there.
Paul would not have had the New Testament; only the Old Testament. That’s another reminder for me that you can preach the Gospel from the Old Testament as well as the New Testament! Paul and his companions planted churches all over the known world without benefit of the New Testament.
In our discussions with others, we need to be EXPLAINING the Gospel, not just telling people what we believe or what we think they should believe. God gave each of us the free will to accept or reject Him and it’s not for us to deny that free will of others.
And finally, we need to be PROVING that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead. He had to know what suffering was, He had to take all of our sin on Himself and die, and then He had to rise from the dead to evidence eternal life. He was showing each of us what is available to us – eternal life, yes, but it comes after suffering.
REASONED … EXPLAINING … PROVING … great direction to us in our communications today. Thank you Lord for your Word and for your children like Pastor Alex who can help us understand and apply it.
Loving the Journey,