Thursday, June 1, 2017

bad for good: "The 50:20 Principal"

The Word for today:
Acts 7:44-8:4
Look carefully at the last few verses of Acts 7 and the first verse of Acts 8. They fulfill a biblical pattern that was first pronounced way back in Genesis.
They dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. The official witnesses took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul. And as they stoned him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." And he fell to his knees, shouting, "Lord, don't charge them with this sin!" And with that, he died. (Acts 7:58-60)
And Saul approved of his execution. A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church in Jerusalem, and all the believers except the apostles fled into Judea and Samaria. (Acts 8:1)
Do you recall the pattern that these verses fulfill? If not, here it is:
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. (Genesis 50:20)
Genesis 50:20 was first demonstrated in the life of Joseph, who was left to die, then slandered, then imprisoned, then forgotten--so that many people would be saved! God meant it for good.
Genesis 50:20 was ultimately demonstrated at the cross, where Jesus was rejected, forsaken, beaten, crucified--so that many people would be saved. God turned bad into good.
Having reached its highest expression at the cross, did the 50:20 principal then cease to be in effect? For the answer, we look no further than Steven…
Not very long after the cross, Stephen too was unjustly killed. And the effect of this awful miscarriage of justice was that--in accordance with the pattern--many people were saved. Bad for good, once again.
How many were saved because of Stephen's death? The number is incalculable, but among them is, almost certainly, you!
I can say that, because without the impression Stephen made on Saul of Tarsus, there would have been no Apostle Paul--who happens to be the greatest missionary/evangelist and thinker that the church has ever produced.
I can say that, because the persecution resulting from Stephen's speech launched the gospel (as the prophet Jesus had predicted!) into Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth, where it met up with you! (See Acts 1:8 and 8:1.)
Let's reduce that sentence to its essential subject and predicate:
"Persecution launched." Bad for good, again.
The lives of Joseph, Jesus, and Steven illustrated this concept. Paul--who witnessed the principle as it played out in the stoning of Stephen and, some think, the crucifixion of Jesus--would later write that God works all things out for good in the lives of those who love him. (Romans 8:28)
All things. That makes for quite a list, in any of our lives. But whatever is on your list, God's working it out for good. Just ask Joseph, and Jesus, and Stephen, and a bad guy named Saul whom God turned into the good guy we call Paul.
Each one of them would tell you that the 50:20 Principal is in full operation at this very moment.

No comments:

Post a Comment