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Thursday, February 20, 2003

Edifier du Jour-Acts 28:25-29(NASB)
25 And when they did not agree with one another, they began leaving after Paul had spoken one parting word, "The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers, 26 saying, 'GO TO THIS PEOPLE AND SAY, "YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; AND YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE; 27 FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL, AND WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES; OTHERWISE THEY MIGHT SEE WITH THEIR EYES, AND HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM."' 28 "Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen." 29 [When he had spoken these words, the Jews departed, having a great dispute among themselves.]
Even though we (unless you're of a Jewish background) are the Gentiles, verses 26 and 27 seems to describe modern-day America and especially modern-day Europe. The heirs of the people who helped spread the Gospel around the world are themselves asleep at the wheel, ignorant of God despite a rich heritage of faith. In the US and elsewhere, the heirs of Wesley, Knox and Mather have grown spiritually tepid as a group. However, God's not going to be without a witness. The Gospel went out to the Gentiles as the Jews collectively didn't want to accept that the Messiah had indeed come. Those Jews who did believe in Jesus then had to adapt their thinking to do cross-cultural ministry and spread the Word around the known world. Verse 29 is a chuckler; the Jews might well have been mad to hear how dense they collectively have been and that God had turned to the Gentiles. Today, God is turning to the south, to Africa and South America, as the north has turned its back on Him. The Anglican are seeing this the most vividly (I see them in verse 29) and the Catholics are beginning to see the north-south divide as well. It was an Argentinean charismatic preacher that inspired the Toronto renewal and Billy Graham's successor as chief revivalist may well be Argentinean-born Luis Palau (Franklin's coming into his own, but the crusade/festival isn't his strongest suit). If people won't praise him, the rocks will cry out. Don't let the rocks out praise you.

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