We had an interesting discussion this morning at our Ironworks Bible study. We have been walking through the book of Acts for a while. Today we looked at what seemed like a contradiction from Paul. In leaving the Jerusalem Council where it was understood that circumcision was not necessary to follow Christ, Paul promptly visited Timothy and asked him to get circumcised. WHAT?!? Why would Paul recant with his actions what he spoke so boldly about one chapter before?
The answer to this is quite simple, Paul understood that the church needed to be missional. At the Jerusalem council Paul showed that it was not necessary to be circumcised so that many Greeks could trust Jesus. Paul asked Timothy to be circumcised so that many Jews would trust Jesus.
At the heart of Paul’s request is that both those from the Jewish world and those outside it would defer in humility to one another for the advance of the gospel. Both groups were asked to sacrifice greatly. For the Jews, they were asked to practice worship in a way that was completely different than all they had been taught. For Timothy he was asked to be circumcised as a grown man. (YIKES)
At this moment most churches are sitting at the precipice of a new day. Most churches have built their camps holding to traditions or wanting to leave the traditions all together. What we need today is what Paul asked for in the first century. We need both sides to set down their agendas (because it’s not about me) and come in a humble deference to one another gladly stating that the gospel comes first. This call does not require even a tenth of the sacrifice that Paul asked for. No one is being asked to be circumcised. The simple sacrifice that would put most churches back on the gospel path is a call to give up secondary preferences.
The catch phrase around Memorial Baptist is “it’s not about me.” So, for the gospel we must say that it’s not about my music, my dress, my temperature, my style or any other secondary desire we put forward. We all must put these secondary things aside so that we can ask the simple question, what can we do to most effectively reach people who don’t know Jesus and lead them to follow Him.