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The Scriptorium

Practicing the Kingship of Jesus

This is true discipleship. Acts 17.5-9

Savior and King (2)

Pray Psalm 110.1-3.
The LORD said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”
The LORD shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion.
Rule in the midst of Your enemies!
Your people shall be volunteers
In the day of Your power;
In the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning,
You have the dew of Your youth.

Sing Psalm 110.1-3.
(Aurelia: The Church’s One Foundation)
“Sit by Me at My right hand,” the LORD says to my Lord,
“until I make Your foot stand on all who hate Your Word.”
From in His Church the Savior rules all His enemies;
while those who know His favor go forth the Lord to please.

Read Acts 17.1-9; meditate on verses 5-9.

Preparation
1. How did the “evil men” respond to the ministry of Paul and Silas?

2. What did they say about Paul and Silas?

Meditation

The actual charge levied here is that Paul and his team “practice another King, saying Him to be Jesus” (πράσσουσι βασιλέα ἕτερον λέγοντες εἶναι Ἰησοῦν, v. 7). Their message, their way of life, the nature of their companionship – all these spoke to the people of Thessalonica. And what they lived and spoke was a threat to their comfortable status quo. Paul and those who followed Jesus were different. They proclaimed a new Kingdom and a new King, and they lived as though what they preached was true.

They were turning the Roman world upside-down (v. 6).

Jealousy has a way of showing up when leaders see their followers being drained away in devotion to something other then their cause (v 5). Jealousy can lead to lies and all kinds of nasty things. This time they couldn’t find the apostles to beat them, so they laid hold on Jason, who had harbored them in his house – the first house church of Thessalonica? – and extracted money from him – also a breach of Roman public policy (vv. 8, 9). The fear is that these people and this message would transform the world as the Romans knew it. As it turned out, they were right.

What we’ve seen from the beginning continues to be the case: The Gospel is preached, people believe and are changed, but not everybody’s happy about it. The ongoing work of Jesus looks a lot like that which He began to do and teach.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
The people of envy took evil men from the marketplace, gathered a mob, set all the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of hospitable Jason. Then, not finding Paul and Silas, they dragged Jason and some others to the magistrates, crying out, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too” (Acts 17.6).

And how were they turning the world upside-down? Were they using mobs? Were they gathering groups of people to attack unbelievers? Well, no. Not at all.

They were turning the world upside-down by what they were saying. And what exactly were they saying?
They were saying that “there is another king—Jesus.” (Acts 17.7).

Are mobs pleasing to the Lord? No. Does He ever use violence to change a heart? Again, no.

What is pleasing to the Lord?

He wants us to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him (Mic. 6.8).
He wants us to supply the needs of those who are in want. This act is “a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God” (Phil. 4.18). He wants us to allow Him to make us complete in every good work, as He works in us that which is “well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ…” (Heb. 13.21).

All the violence used by the envious did not change the hearts of people. It never does. It merely creates mayhem.

When we practice the Kingship of Jesus, things happen. Lives are changed. Calmly, and with love. “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Col. 3.15-17).

And that is how the world is turned upside-down for Jesus! With a Word.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him; his rage we can endure,
For lo, his doom is sure; one little word shall fell him
. (Martin Luther,1529)

King JESUS!

For reflection
1. What would it take for you to begin turning your world upside-down for Jesus?

2. What does it mean for you to “practice the Kingship of Jesus”?

3. What will you do to participate in the ongoing work of King Jesus today?

Neither rulers nor people need be troubled at the increase of real Christians, even though turbulent spirits should make religion the pretext for evil designs. Of such let us beware, from such let us withdraw, that we may show a desire to act aright in society, while we claim our right to worship God according to our consciences. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Acts 17.1-9

Pray Psalm 110.3-7.
Offer yourself as a volunteer for the Lord and His Kingdom – all your time, energy, activities, relationships, roles, and responsibilities. Serve Him faithfully throughout the day, then rest in what He has done through you as you retire tonight.

Sing Psalm 11.0.3-7.
(Aurelia: The Church’s One Foundation)
Filled with the Spirit’s power, in holy robes of love,
from early morning’s hour they serve their Lord above.
Christ reigns a priest forever, the King of Righteousness
and King of Peace who ever His chosen ones will bless.

The Lord at Your right hand, Lord, in wrath shall shatter kings,
when judgment by His strong Word He to the nations brings.
Then, all His foes defeated, He takes His hard-won rest,
in glorious triumph seated with us, redeemed and blessed!

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website, www.ailbe.org, and clicking theScriptorium tab for last Sunday. You can download any or all the studies in this series on Acts by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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