Faith of a mustard seed

Barbara A. Woods Washington, M. Div.

Barbara A. Woods Washington, M. Div.

Acts on pistis/faith? 14 occurrences.
9th (Acts 4:24-27): “And when they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia; and from there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had fulfilled. And when they arrived, they gathered the church together and declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles.” Born in Tarsus, the Greek influence upon Paul’s life in Judaism is far more impacting than the other Disciples who were all born in and around Jerusalem. A scholar and first to write in New Testament, it is Paul’s voice, his thinking about Christ, that is most successful in ‘calling together’; ‘assembling’; ‘congregating’ groups of persons both of Jewish and non-Jewish descent. Through Paul, “God opened the door of faith to the nations!”

10th. (Acts 15:6-9): “The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter. And after there had been much debate, Peter rose and said to them, “Brethren, you know that in the early days God made choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God who knows the heart bore witness to them, giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us; and he made no distinction between us and them, but cleansed their hearts by faith.” This new faith, will no longer be about Moses, or law, or circumcision— but, about the heart. You could not hang around the Christian faith very long without returning to the ‘matters of the heart’. Clearly, life, when reduced to it’s lowest common denominator, IS ‘a matter of the heart’— a ‘clean heart’. While the ‘cleansing of the heart’ is given so little emphasis in Christianity, the distinctions are over rated. Distinctions, splits, schisms, ‘isms’, divisions, ‘least common’ denominat(ions). “You shall love the Lord with all your heart…” compounded with what I believe to be Jesus’ single most important teaching— “For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil…” HEART DISEASE! Jesus’ use of ‘pistis’— ‘cleansing the heart by faith’ IS HEALING!

11th. (Acts 16:1-5): “And he came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer; but his father was a Greek. He was well spoken of by the brethren at Lystra and Iconium. Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him; and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews that were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions which had been reached by the apostles and elders who were at Jerusalem. So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.” ‘Estrepeounto te pistis’— ‘strengthened in the faith’. It is what is referenced in Genesis 1 nine times! Firmament! Establishing fast and firm as of the earth; a solid rock; sure foundation; constant— a new creation. Amidst the controversial growing pains of this ‘born again’ movement, standing fast in the stronghold of faith is what is being accomplished through the work of these three men; Paul, Silas and Timothy.

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