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What Makes the Gospel RADIOACTIVE in our Lives?




What makes the gospel Radioactive in our lives? Think about the way the gospel went from an interesting idea to transformational in our lives. I heard this analogy of the gospel “radioactivity” from a church planting trainer named Steve Childers, and it gives me such a vivid picture of how the gospel changes so powerfully, so radically our lives and our city. Think about an example like the HULK. You have Bruce Banner, this mild-mannered scientist guy who one day goes to the lab and gets whacked by the gamma radiation and he comes out on the other side as this huge, super strong green guy. There was an exposure to something so powerful that it completely transformed this man. Think of how pervasive, how many ways the gospel – the grace of God through Christ’s work for us – how it impacts our lives, transforms our lives. What does this look like for you? What made the gospel Radioactive in your life? Think about our city…How have you seen the gospel go Radioactive for others in our community?

In Acts 17 Paul presents the gospel to the city in such a powerful way that it goes

radioactive.

Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, “What does this babbler wish to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.” Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new. Paul enters Athens and his spirit is provoked. Paul as he observes this city what grips his heart is that this city is full of idols. He would have seen statues and temples such as the Parthenon, the temple dedicated to the worship of Athena, which still stands today. And Paul’s heart was provoked, it was hot with a kind of righteous indignation, jealousy for the glory of God that is being profaned. Paul is so provoked that he engages this city with the gospel.

(Acts 17:16-21)

Paul enters Athens and his spirit is provoked. Paul as he observes this city what grips his heart is that this city is full of idols. He would have seen statues and temples such as the Parthenon, the temple dedicated to the worship of Athena, which still stands today. And Paul’s heart was provoked, it was hot with a kind of righteous indignation, jealousy for the glory of God that is being profaned. Paul is so provoked that he engages this city with the gospel. At first reading, you might picture Paul here as one of those street preachers you see today. I went to Daytona beach last summer and we saw one of these guys there on the boardwalk: standing on a wooden pulpit, shouting out a hellfire and brimstone message to passerbyers. As you might expect, there were a lot of people turned off by this approach. This is NOT what Paul is doing. Vs. 21 said all Athenians spent all their time telling and hearing something new…so Paul was joining in on exactly what they were doing. I liken this to back when I lived in Memphis, they had this celebration called Memphis in May, where they had music and fun and the showcase event was the BBQ competition. This is like Paul bringing his BBQ to Memphis in May. Your participating in / contributing to what the city is are already doing. Fast-forward from the first century to today. What makes the gospel Radioactive in our city? How do we present the gospel this powerfully for our city?

* This post is the beginning of the Church Planting South Dawson January Newsletter Follow the link for the complete January update.

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© 2019 Pastor Mark Pfaller

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Mark Pfaller