Monday, September 17, 2018
“In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe” (1 Corinthians 14:21,22 KJV).
While it is commonly overlooked, today’s Scripture describes God’s righteous judgment on a certain group of unbelievers. Who are they? What is God’s message to them? Who is delivering that message?
Romans 11:11-14 is the best commentary on the purpose of Paul’s Acts ministry, a most-confused topic that should be quite easy to grasp (provided we do not have a theological system to maintain!): “ I say then, Have they [Israel] stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.  Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?  For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:  If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.”
During the Acts transitional period, the Holy Spirit led the Apostle Paul to conduct his ministry in such a way so as to “provoke” unbelieving Israel to “jealousy.” Unsaved Jews were to be concerned that God had left them and had now gone to the Gentiles (non-Jews, nations) without them. How was Israel to get this communication though? Paul behaved in a most “bizarre” way during Acts: God was not operating Israel’s program through him but was rather showing how it was giving way to our mystery program. If any unsaved Jews were to enter God’s family, they would have to “emulate” (or follow) the Gentiles in coming to faith in Christ and thus join the Body of Christ.
As Paul preached his Gospel message (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) in Acts, today’s Scripture says God had the Gentiles declare something to unbelieving Israel as well….