Speaker: Jerry Cisar
God’s M.O. (modus operandi: way of doing things) in human history is that He rescues and delivers people in a way contrary to natural human expectations. Whether it was delivering Israel out of a heap of trouble through Gideon, the weakest in his family which was the weakest in all Manasseh. Or how about David whose family didn’t even think he was worth mentioning to Samuel. God’s M.O. is to rescue in such a way that He gets all the glory.
This way of doing things culminates in His sending His Son, Jesus, only to be rejected, suffer and die. This again turns out to be God’s plan to bring salvation. God’s mysterious ways that bring salvation become known as the wisdom and power of the cross.
Though this M.O. culminated in the cross, it did not end with the cross. It continues to this day. 1 Corinthians 1:25-29 tells us:
25For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.…27But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.
Our text this Sunday (Acts 15:36–16:40) is all about how God carries out His Saving purposes contrary to all human expectation. There we will discover that God’s M.O. of bringing salvation is not just despite weakness, but through weakness and suffering as the messengers willingly endanger themselves and become nothing for the sake of Christ.
Of course, all of this isn’t only a history lesson, it is the experience we are called to live. How do we live in such a way as to experience God’s saving ways through us – no matter how unlikely it seems that we might contribute and no matter how unlikely our circumstances are? Paul and his team lived with a purpose. And that purpose had a definite impact on the effectiveness of the mission. God is calling us to live in a way that will directly impact the mission.