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The Great Escape – The Great Basket Rider


Acts. 9:23-25 23 When <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-27240A" data-link="(A)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>many days had elapsed, <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-27240B" data-link="(B)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>the Jews plotted together to do away with him, 24 but <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-27241C" data-link="(C)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>their plot became known to Saul. <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-27241D" data-link="(D)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>They were also watching the gates day and night so that they might put him to death; 25 but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a large basket.

Saul was preaching Jesus wherever he went and it was causing quite a stir, so the Jews conspired to kill him and shut off this “movement.”  Saul knew about their plan to kill him so he and his followers made a bold move.  They took him by night and lowered him through an opening in the wall in a basket to escape those seeking to kill him. He was a major thorn in the side of the Jews of the day.  Saul taught that Gentiles didn’t have to do any of the jewish traditions to accept Christ and live for Jesus.  His teachings were contrary to what the Jews were teaching. Saul not only had to convince the Jews about what the Gentiles should and should not do, but the Gentiles who accepted Jesus also had to be taught the truth about God accepting them as they were.  The Jews of that day would not want to sing the hymn Just As I Am!

Many times when someone accepts Jesus we want to pigeon hole them into doing a certain tradition or rite of passage to be a full fledged believer.   The reason we put stipulations on a person is to conform them more to what we think, or believe, or what we were “raised” to do.  Those kind of practices and traditions were a constant hindrance to the furtherance of the gospel and they morphed into the state run church in the late 1400’s and early 1500’s.  The reformation of the Catholic Church was begun by men like Martin Luther, Jan Hus, Peter Waldo, and John Wycliffe to stand against the drifting of the church  to an institutional religion.  Luther was the most notable to challenge the teachings of the Catholic Church (which by the way was supremely powerful)  The very gospel that Saul and many others had taught openly for all to receive and live by was over a period of time watered down and molded into something mere men could use as a way to be power brokers of the faith.  There arose a schism or a major disagreement among church leaders about the Bible and the church’s traditions that had long sense become outdated (like man’s plans do).  The only way things could be made right was that schism becoming a movement of releasing those who held to the true teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ to spread their message throughout the world.  The battle against Protestantism was led by a counter reformation group.  But the iron clad commitment of Luther and many others held on and the reformation took place, even with a thirty year’s war.  I tell you all of this to let you know that the war against Saul was nothing new, and his desire to share the gospel of Jesus intimidated those in power to the point of wanting to kill him and shut him up.  Over a period of time up to the 1400’s the power brokers of the day molded the message of salvation into something unrecognizable and the Christian faith became a “religion” to many.  Those that perceived it that way could never fully understand what God wanted because they became their own gods and thus made the Bible do what “they wanted.”‘

Which brings us to the church of today.  Have we taken on so much of the state of religion, spurred on by unbiblical traditions, that it minimizes the gospel message and maximizes man’s traditions?  I think so.  I’m not necessarily talking about any specific churches, but the evangelical church of America.  Have we become so institutionalized with worldly teachings that we no longer understand the significance of the power of the gospel?  All appearances would point us to think that our traditional denominational teachings have superseded the teaching of the Bible and it has landed us in a ditch.  Perhaps we need another reformation that brings back the teachings Saul and other believers fought so hard to preserve and share.  Teachings that exalt the name of Jesus and lift up His ways for reaching a lost and dying world without the weight of institutional religion to hold it down.  I have heard “we need to get back to the Word.”  That would be a good place to start and then we would probably need to relook at what a church is and how it should function. It would be good to reestablish what the purpose of the church is and reorganize for that purpose.

What would be the result of such a movement?  The gospel message would once again be fresh and exciting to share and to hear.  Christians would begin sharing their faith wherever they would go.  The lost would be saved and discipled.  The world would be radically changed by the power of the Gospel.  Wow!  That would be awesome!!  But there would be those who live by tradition who would want to kill it and those preaching it.  Those who are seeking awakening would be chastised and shunned, much like a fraternity rejecting an unworthy pledge.  But it would be worth it!  Don’t you think it was worth it for Saul.  I would like to know what he was thinking when he rode that basket down the wall as he escaped from “religious” people trying to kill him and his message.  Whatever happened that night did not stop him, but spurred him on to greatness.  We who defend the gospel of Jesus Christ need to stand up and present the true message of hope and God will protect us and empower us to keep sharing it.  Romans 1:16 16 For I am not <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-27947A" data-link="(A)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-family: ‘Helvetica Neue’, Verdana, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>ashamed of the gospel, for <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-27947B" data-link="(B)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-family: ‘Helvetica Neue’, Verdana, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-27947C" data-link="(C)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-family: ‘Helvetica Neue’, Verdana, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>Jew first and also to <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-27947D" data-link="(D)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-family: ‘Helvetica Neue’, Verdana, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>the Greek.  

Here is the question I have for you.  Are you on the side of institutionalized religion or are you on the side of Christ?  If you are on the side of Christ, get your basket ready cause “it is on!”

Matthew 5:10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

The Pilgrimage continues….

David Warren

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