"GO YE THEREFORE TO ALL NATIONS" THROUGH SATURATING
“GO YE THEREFORE TO ALL NATIONS” through SATURATING:
Saturation by definition has these similar meanings; permeate soak, penetrate, immerse, and many others. Saturation into “all of the nations” means immersing into every culture, every language, every race, every religion, and every doctrine and practice with the goal of bringing all into the unity with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Acts gives us a thorough report of the gospel reaching numerous communities. And as this reaching permeated into the landscape; the diversity, controversy, disputes, and even violence increased as well. This diversity, tension and conflict became an integral characteristic of spreading the Good News as Paul and his ministry team served and suffered.
Titus, who partnered with Paul, carried the Greek name of a Roman emperor. This is the name of the same emperor who reigned and executed what historians estimated as one million Jews in the most savage way. This is evidence that the landscape was beginning to change.
Apollos, spoken of by Paul as an important and essential leader of the body of believers, was given the name of a Greek Olympian god. “ Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent and cultured man, and well versed in the [Hebrew] Scriptures”. Acts 18: 24 (Amp). So, a Jewish man named after an Olympian god who was a native of a major Egyptian port travels to the second largest Greek city in the Roman Empire located in Asia Minor which is now modern Turkey. The “go to the nations” profile is being established.
This is further evidence that the body of believers are penetrating into all the nations. The believers and leaders of the body of Christ are emerging with this cosmopolitan profile of the nations. The disciples of Christ are beginning to be forged from the races, cultures, languages, doctrines, and religious practices of the world, being transformed from what was considered darkness into His light.
This has been the Lord’s method from the creation of the world. The Spirit of the Lord hovered and brooded over a formless, void, wasted, empty and dark face of the earth and penetrated this lost condition with His light. In the beginning God (Elohim) created [by forming from nothing] the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was formless and void or a waste and emptiness, and darkness was upon the face of the deep [primeval ocean that covered the unformed earth]. The Spirit of God was moving (hovering, brooding) over the face of the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. Gen 1: 1-3 (Amp)
Sosthenes was the chief ruler of the synagogue at Corinth who was seized and beaten by a mob of Jews who opposed Paul in the book of Acts. Gallio, a Roman governor, refused to proceed against Paul at the instigation of the Jews. Again, there is a man with a Greek name being the chief ruler of a Jewish synagogue in a Greek city ruled by a Roman offical. Then the Greeks all seized Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and began beating him right in front of the judgment seat; but Gallio paid no attention to any of this. Acts 18: 17 (Amp).
Sosthenes, once a chief ruler of a Jewish synagogue, finds himself ministering in the Greek city of Corinth, an important transit point for trade between Europe and Asia. Aphrodite was worshiped and eventually had a temple build on top of the mountain overlooking the city, Acrocorinthus. Temple prostitution was a major service for the sailors and citizens at night of this very wealthy community. The Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians spoke to the many problems of the early believers in that location. This is a saturating of the light of Christ into the darkness and fabric of a significant Greek city that possesses deep seated moral problems.
Paul speaks of these conflicts, disputes, and controversies that the dynamo and dynamics of the Holy Spirit produced in his life recorded in 2 Corinthians. Paul was clearly in the wake of the explosive results that produced much pain, suffering, and discomfort not only in his life and ministry but also in the cultural and spiritual environment in which he served. This is an evident consequence of saturating the light into the dark landscape of the community.
“…I am more so [for I exceed them]; with far more labors, with far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, and often in danger of death. 24 Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent adrift on the sea; 26 many times on journeys, [exposed to] danger from rivers, danger from bandits, danger from my own countrymen, danger from the Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger on the sea, danger among those posing as believers; 27 in labor and hardship, often unable to sleep, in hunger and thirst, often [driven to] fasting [for lack of food], in cold and exposure [without adequate clothing].” 2 Corinthians 21-27 (AMP).
Throughout the book of Acts and anywhere and everywhere that Paul journeyed the dynamite effect that either preceded or accompanied him created an explosion of chaos and controversy that eventually ended his life and brought persecution, torture, and execution to hundreds if not thousands of other believers. This is all the result of the power of the Holy Spirit disbursing the way, the truth, and the life of Jesus throughout all generations, all cultures, all doctrines and to the uttermost parts of the earth.
Is it any wonder that Paul and the other writers of the epistles speak and warn of false prophets, false witnesses, false teachers, and false doctrines. Reference to these terms are found fifty-three times in the New Testament. The power of the Spirit forged the way into any and all incompatible areas and ideas. The power of the Holy Spirit permeated into doctrines and idolatrous practices that are and were in opposition to Jesus as Messiah and in conflict and controversy to a life of godliness.
The New Testament writers also emphasize unity or oneness. Those terms are used 968 times in the gospels and epistles. They refer to one or unity in faith, one or unity in covenant, one or unity to each other, one or unity in Christ, one or unity in will, and among many, many other applications. However, the dynamite of the Holy Spirit scattered and disbursed across a wide and incompatible arena of cultures, doctrines, idolatries, and spiritual environments.
The Spirit of the Lord not only wants to permeate and forge a path as a change agent but also unite all irreconcilable conflicts around Jesus in faith, in will, in practice, and in fellowship with other believers. A pitched tent in the neighborhood, likewise, will permeate into the controversy, will immerse into the disputed arenas of the community, will soak into the fabric of the neighborhood culture, and will penetrate the deceptive doctrines that have laid waste the people and set them up for decay and destruction. This is saturation to bring the light of the Lord Jesus Christ into the darkness.
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