Have you ever heard a message that turned your world upside down? One that made you think about God differently than perhaps you ever had before?
That’s what happened when Paul and Silas traveled to Thessalonica. Acts 17:1-4 says:
“Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.” And some of them were persuaded; and a great multitude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women, joined Paul and Silas.” (Acts 17:1–4, NKJV)
For three Sabbaths, Paul explained and demonstrated from the Scriptures that Jesus was and is the Messiah. The result? Some of the JEWS were persuaded BUT A GREAT MULTITUDE OF THE DEVOUT GREEKS joined Paul & Silas. In other words, they came to faith in Jesus. But their message also stirred up a hornet’s nest. Acts 17:5-9
“But the Jews who were not persuaded, becoming envious, took some of the evil men from the marketplace, and gathering a mob, set all the city in an uproar and attacked the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too. Jason has harbored them, and these are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king—Jesus.” And they troubled the crowd and the rulers of the city when they heard these things. So when they had taken security from Jason and the rest, they let them go.” (Acts 17:5–9, NKJV)
The Jews who were not convinced, becoming envious of the number of people that believed the message of the gospel, gathered a mob together to attack Paul and Silas. But when they couldn’t find them, they drug their host, Jason, and some others, to the rulers of the city to accuse them. It is their description of Paul, Silas, and the message of the gospel that caught my attention today…
“These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.”
What an AMAZING statement. Yes, this is a dangerous accusation in the Roman world but, the message of the gospel does turn the world upside down! How?
The gospel sets the captives free! It declares we who are guilty of sin, innocent by faith in the finished work of the Cross. It gives us wisdom to live by instead of just following along with the world. Instead of citizens of Rome, (or of this world) we are citizens of the Kingdom. The insignificant or outcast are now significant and have a purpose or work that was planned for us to do before we were ever born! The good news changes communities as we love our neighbors! Instead of fearful, people are encouraged to be courageous! Most of all the good news brings hope! And people who are oppressed need HOPE.
I want a disruptive faith that shakes the worldly and demonic foundations of culture around me with the good news that Jesus Christ is alive, a forgiver of sin, and a defeater of death! I want a testimony that turns what people think about God and religion upside down! In short, I want my Jesus story (the story of what He has done and continues to do) to make a difference in the world around me.
How do we become upside downers? Let me ask you a few questions.
- What convinced you that Jesus is Lord?
- What did you hear that changed how you thought of Him, Heaven, the Holy Spirit, or the Father?
- How does the Bible encourage you today?
- How has God shown up in your life? Is there a time where you know it had to be his strength or work that got you thru a situation in your life?
The answers to these questions are called your testimony. This is how God has made himself known to you. When we share these things with others, we become upside downers! And by the way, when we turn worldly thoughts, attitudes, or beliefs upside down, we are actually setting them upright from a Kingdom perspective.
Did Paul and Silas have to leave town because of the message of the gospel? Yes. But not before lives and the eternal destination of many were changed! Today determine to be an upside downer! Be a world changer by sharing the good news with your friends, family, neighbors, etc. Don’t wait! Ask the Lord to open the doors, look for opportunities to weave your story into conversations, and always be ready! People all around us need hope! They need the good news that will turn their lives upside down and right side up!