Sunday, October 23, 2016

Stick Your Neck Out

Stick Your Neck Out
October 24, 2016
1 Corinthians 1:1  "Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes. . ."

You did not raise yourself in the woods.  There were may significant people who are to be given credit for helping to make you who you are today.  Sure, you are responsible for making mature decisions, but other people have put themselves in the line of fire, taking risks, for making a significant impact on your life.  You are not an island and did not happen by yourself.  There is no shame in giving credit for the help others have given in support of your life, those who propelled you forward.  Even the Apostle Paul, a significant leader, could not have made it without the impact of others, especially someone who risked his life for him.  Paul needed someone to stick his neck out for him, literally.  Sosthenes, a man with a seemingly funny name, was beaten, almost killed, because he took a stand for Paul and Paul's ministry.

Paul, a Jew, was a religious man who first persecuted Christians to the point of death.  Then Paul became a convert to Christianity, himself.  Being a Christian was not popular, especially if you were a Jewish Christian.  To add to being unpopular, you certainly didn't try to make friends by trying to proclaim Christianity to other Jews.  But Paul risked his life, encouraged by the Holy Spirit to do so, and stayed in Corinth, reasoning with the other Jews for over a year, even on the Sabbath day.  It should be noted the Synagogue leader had to the legal authority and the power to make your life difficult if you were teaching anything contrary to their beliefs, which is exactly what Paul was preaching.  The Synagogue's leader was Sosthenes.  Apparently Sosthenes let Paul speak, and evidently even listened to him on more than one occasion.  Then things came to a head.  Paul was challenged in a court proceeding and the Synagogue leader, Sosthenes, refused to press charges.  Paul was allowed to go unharmed, while Sosthenes was beaten by the mob because they disagreed with Sosthenes leadership.

Sosthenes had the authority to have Paul flogged and possibly put to death for heresy, and yet did nothing.  The mob, gave Sosthenes Paul's intended beating.  Sosthenes saved Paul's life, risking his own.  Sosthenes was on his way to becoming a believer when he stuck his neck out for Paul.  Thankfully, Sosthenes didn't die that day and actually did become a believer.  It should have been Sosthenes who thanked Paul for leading him to salvation, but instead Paul credited Sosthenes for his own ministry.  In an open letter to the church in Corinth, the church Paul started while there, Paul thanked God first and then Sosthenes second.  If Sosthenes had prosecuted Paul that day, Paul could have been led off to his death.  Paul could not have made it out alive without Sosthenes.

You, too, have someone like Sosthenes in your life, who has risked much for your benefit.  You could not be who you are today without that significant person in your life.  Someone has stuck his neck out for you.  Sosthenes thought Paul's ministry was worth it, that Paul was worth it.  Someone thought you were worth it, too.  I have a few questions for your you.  Were you worth it; was that person's risk in vain?  What did you do with that person's risk or sacrifice on your behalf?  Are you willing to stick your neck out for someone else in return?  Give some credit to him who stuck his neck out for you.  Be a hero and do the same for someone else when it matters.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Acts 18

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