Silas is a 25-year-old Iranian convert to Christianity now living in Berlin. Why did he come to Christ? After studying his Muslim faith, "what I concluded is that Islam was a big lie that a lot of people were falling for." Then a friend loaned him a copy of God's word. "When I started to read the Bible, it changed me. . . . At first, I didn't want to be a Christian, I just wanted to understand it. But the more answers I got, the more I . . . realized I was finding God."
Silas is one of thousands of refugees to Germany who are converting from Islam to Christianity. According to NPR, one reason is that they are then granted asylum, since they would be persecuted as Christians if they returned home. But a pastor who ministers to many says they face significant persecution from Muslims in Germany if they convert. He interviews all who profess faith in Christ and baptizes only those he believes are sincere.
Silas is among them—he says that even if he were to be deported back to Iran, he would never give up his faith in Christ. Jesus changed his life, and he will pay any price to serve him now.
Our world needs what Jesus can do, more than ever. Consider these headlines: According to administration officials, President Obama now believes that Israelis and Palestinians will not enact a peace agreement before he leaves office. Reports indicate that mustard gas has been used in Syria, most likely by ISIS. After the crash of a Russian plane in the Sinai, the U.S. has enhanced security for flights from foreign airports.
I experienced these security measures personally last weekend when I returned from leading a study tour of Greece and Turkey. Everywhere we went, we followed in the footsteps of Paul the Apostle. As we celebrated his powerful legacy, I wondered how we can make the same impact today.
Paul's effectiveness didn't come from his appearance. According to the Acts of Paul and Thecla (ca. A.D. 200), the apostle was "a man small in size, bald-headed, bandy-legged, well-built, with eyebrows meeting, rather long-nosed." Nor was eloquence his secret. Paul was clearly a genius, but he did not seek to impress others with his brilliance (1 Corinthians 2:4).
Rather, his secret was his purpose: "I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified" (v. 2). When we know Christ and make him known, he works through us to transform those we influence. (Tweet this)
I often speak of becoming "culture-changing Christians." However, as I followed the footsteps of Paul, I realized that there is really no such thing. Christians cannot change the culture. Human words cannot change human hearts. But Jesus can.
Oswald Chambers: "The Christian worker has to be a sacramental 'go-between,' to be so identified with his Lord and the reality of his Redemption that he can continually bring his creating life through him. . . . We have to see that we are in such living sympathy with God that as we proclaim his truth he can create in souls the things which he alone can do."
Jesus changed Silas. He changed me. If he is your Lord, you know that he changed you. Have you asked him to "bring his creating life" through you today?
Publication date: November 10, 2015
For more from the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, please visit www.denisonforum.org.
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