Summary: The right of Paul as a citizen, and our rights as citizens of heaven.
‘I Know My Rights!’
JCC 25.10.09 pm
Jewish nationalism was on the rise
Paul had to prove the integrity of his Jewishness
The Jerusalem church is providing an effective indigenous witness within its culture
Modern Gentile Christians opposed Jewish Christians’ keeping the law yet observe church and cultural traditions of their own
This is not the spirit of the New Testament, which calls people to forsake their sin, not positive or neutral elements of their culture
The earlier Christian Jewish people practiced the law and followed Jesus
The law is now fulfilled through Christ, so why did they, and why do the Jewish Christians even today still follow their traditions and laws?
Does it matter if they do or not?
Should we abandon culture?
Culture is a way of reaching people
I think culture allows people to keep links with their identity
Even Paul could say:
1 Cor 9:22 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
Citizenship was a big issue
Still the same today
Citizenship in a Greek city gave one higher status than the many who were merely “residents” of the city
One became a citizen only by birth in a citizen family or as a grant from the city authorities
City pride and rivalry were fierce in ancient times, especially in Asia Minor, and Tarsus was a prominent city
Tarsus’ citizens were not automatically Roman citizens (it was not a Roman colony), but Paul saves his admission of Roman citizenship as a trump card in case he needs it later
Paul knew his rights as a citizen
People are treated differently based on their citizenship
The Roman rulers treated people differently if not Roman
Blacks treat other blacks differently than they would treat someone who is not black
Whites treat other whites differently than they would treat someone who is not white
Muslims treat other Muslims differently than if they were Christian
Christians treat other Christians differently than if they were not Christians
The reason for the difference in treatment is because like minds think alike
Even within the Christian Church, denominations treat each other differently
The reason for this difference in treatment is because like minds have like experiences
Quote: Race prejudice is as thorough a denial of the Christian God as atheism.
HARRY EMERSON FOSDICK (1878–1969)
As people belonging to Christ we cannot entertain prejudice of any kind
Heaven will be filled with all races and cultures
Rev 7:9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands