-Dr. Sylvan A. Lashley
Scripture Setting: Acts 17:1-6—“These are they that have turned the world upside down”.
We live in a tough world of crime and corruption, where what we see can appear to be discouraging. Yet there is hope for a better day, once we Christians turn the world upside down where we are, in our schools, villages and communities. It’s tough to go against the grain, yet there is hope beyond the obvious, like the upside down pineapple cake where the pineapple remains unseen in the final product, until the flipping takes place
It’s the vision of the unseen pineapple at the bottom of the baking pan, during the baking process that drives the energy forward to task completion. Get a large iron plan, slice the pineapples and place them in the bottom of the pan. Then pour on the cake batter over the fruit, and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. When done, let the cake cool, then flip it over, serving it up in succulent and visible pineapple delight. The upside down flip has brought a better day, after all the effort and dint labor.
I’d like to think that is what is occurring to you as it happened to Paul and Silas and Timothy in Paul’s second missionary journey. Our job is to turn the world upside down in dress, speech, conduct, as we witness, to get at the better underbelly of Christian faith, the unseen eternal, the better way. Paul and Silas set out on a missionary expedition from Antioch in Syria (Acts 15:36; 16, 17:1-6) and eventually reach Troas where Paul gets a dream to come over to Macedonia to the city of Phllippi—Lydia gets baptized and alas, the servant sorceress gets stopped in her blasphemous tracks and her masters face economic ruin as a result.
The rest is history—Paul and Silas are dragged before the magistrates and the crowd, mauled and beaten severely with many stripes, thrown into the innermost jail cell, with double guards, and no food. At midnight, they start signing—the earth shakes, the chains fall, and the jailer bends the knee, begging for forgiveness and baptism. Paul demonstrates and remonstrates, refuses to leave the jail, forcing the magistrates to escort them away, on account of their Roman citizenship and unlawful scourging without trial.
No wonder when Paul and Silas get to Thessalonica, 100 miles away, that the hue and cry is raised when he begins to preach. The crowd surges to the house of Jason to arrest Paul and Silas—they are not there--“these are they which turned the world upside down”, their chanting sound resounding over the din of the marketplace. Paul's reputation has surely preceded him.
Isn’t this what the Christian wants, to turn the world upside down? Paul has a strong sense of mission—he keeps going—and a strong appreciation of the vision of a soon-coming Saviour, for that is what he preaches. It’s the veritable pineapple upside down cake where the best is yet to come—no more sorrow, no more pain, no more economic downturns. His courage is sure; his confessions are on spot, his content is solid, and his conflict skills are honed, for while some people watch things happen, and some don’t know what is happening, yet there are some who are purposeful in making things happen.
Paul isn’t willing to go along to get along for God is looking for people that can make waves, and who can create heavenly chaos like Elijah and Jeremiah and Amos, while demonstrating concern for others. The truth is that we are not as radically Christian as we ought to be. Perhaps, the time has come for you to turn the world upside down where you are. Political correctness is a numbing element of modern Christianity. We hate to offend, yet by being moribund, we become valueless, as we merge in with the woodwork and take the middle of the road, we are neither fish or fowl. This is time for radical Christianity.