“And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also.” -Acts 17:6
There was a time that I wanted to make movies in Hollywood. I thought, I was good at making movies, so why not? As I progressed my life further and further against the grain, I could always feel the gentle tug at my shoulder, pulling me back towards the mission of my life that I had always been running from: the call to pastor.
But no, I want to change the world with my movies! I can’t do that as a pastor!
My naïve thoughts were quickly corrected as I humbled myself before God. You see, humility is not thinking of yourself less, but rather thinking of God more. And as I dove deep into His Scriptures and the Gospel, I found my view of God exponentially increase. My vision of changing the world didn’t change, but the way I would go about that definitely did.
The word of God has the power to transform. It can definitely turn the world upside down like it did in Acts 17:6.
But here’s the catch: we have to recognize the Gospel for what it is. The Gospel is transformative and true. It has the power to change, even in the face of danger, because it is true, and the truth hurts! If I tell someone something they don’t want to hear, it is going to incite danger.
An example of this is found in Jeremiah. In Jeremiah 26, Jeremiah prophesies against Judah in the temple. The response in vs. 11 comes that the priests and prophets want to kill him because he prophesied against the city! But he was proclaiming truth!
But what this story shows us is that it is how you handle truth that matters. If you stand true to its transformative power, you will find that it has all the credibility it needs to affect others’ lives. Because Jeremiah stood by what he prophesied, he was spared from death, and the officials were able to recognize that he spoke from God. Interestingly enough, later in the same chapter, we find that a man named Uriah prophesied the same thing. He was given the same sentence, but vs. 21 tells us that he ran when he heard that people were after him. Surely enough, no one believed him and he died. Safe to say, Uriah is not the exemplar to this story.
All this to say, the Gospel has the power to turn this world upside down, but in order for it to do so, we (the messengers of the message) need to recognize the Gospel as being transformative and true. This means owning up to the truth with our lives! This means being like Jeremiah, who stood firm to the word he proclaimed, even in the midst of danger and even while he was acting in contrast to the surrounding culture.
My goal within ministry is to train people to view the Gospel as this. Because it is when we acknowledge God’s word for what it is that we can be effective in our disciple making, growing it to the point where it can turn this world upside down.