Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Saint Patrick - And WhyThis Real Evangelist Was Awesome

Saint Patrick's Day rolls around again on this March 17th.  He lived from 387 - 461 A.D.
This is what you can share with the party crowd heading for crazy parades and celebrations with the green beer.  American advertising has tried to make Saint Patrick's Day a spring break party binge for adults in beer sales. The real Saint Patrick was the most adventurous, special-forces type daring and effective evangelist for the Lord Jesus Christ since the days of the New Testament Apostles.

As a youth, in what is now the United Kingdom, young Patrick was kidnapped from a well to do family by pirates/Vikings. From childhood until young adulthood he was forced to
be a farmer slave for these pagans from the northern islands around what is now England.  It was a rough way of life near and around Ireland, Scotland and the many small islands. Patrick eventually escaped and returned home. General Douglas MacArthur, our great American General from WW2, vowed "I shall return" to one day to liberate the captivated Philippines by the enemy. The escaped and freed Patrick would one day return to his captors to liberate souls. First Patrick had some soul searching to do.

How about some revenge? "Death to those scoundrels", is how most people would respond to strange savages who had stolen their life.
But something happened to Patrick.
He died.
He died to Christ.

Galatians 2:20 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
"20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me."

He returned to those savage people, his captors, as a missionary.
He brought them not leprechaun gold but the way to the streets of gold.  He started over 300 churches and baptized thousands into saving faith.
He brought them life by forgiveness of sins trough the life, death, burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Though Patrick grew up a forced slave, when free he taught the savages about the power of God in the Trinity.  He used the three leaf clover to explain the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Church historian and Beeson Divinity School dean, Dr. Timothy George wrote about Patrick this information.
*"St. Patrick, the pioneer of Irish Christianity, was a contemporary of St. Augustine and shared with him an unswerving commitment to the Holy Trinity, the doctrines of grace, and the disciplines of the Christian life. He converted the Irish tribes of his day from the worship of idols and the objects of nature, turning them from “the cult of the sun to that of the true sun who is Christ,” as he put it in his Confession. Patrick was no Augustine in terms of formal education, but his theology, like that of the great Doctor of Grace, is saturated with Scripture. There are more than 70 biblical citations found in his brief works."

Something about Patrick's work, it lasted.
Dr. George shares further about Patrick and what Patrick was not.

*"Today Celtic Christianity has become synonymous with pop spirituality, the New Age movement, ecofeminism, and other fads that fill the shelves of many bookstores. Such is a betrayal of the heritage of the early Celtic monks."

*"Several years ago, Thomas Cahill wrote a best-selling book, How the Irish Saved Civilization. An even better theme might be “how the Celts saved Christianity.”  
     From Iona, Columba and his successors fanned out across Scotland, England, and the continent of Europe. Armed with pocket-size editions of the Bible, meticulously copied by hand, they proclaimed the Good News of Jesus Christ, his life, death and resurrection, and the promise of his coming again in glory. In the wake of their missionary work, many churches, monasteries and Christian communities were founded and these in turn became centers of evangelism and Christian learning. Evangelicals can celebrate with joy the rediscovery the gospel and the renewal of biblical faith that took place in the Reformation of the 16th century. But, we should also remember that the Lord has never left himself without a witness and that the Word of God was alive and powerful even in the darkest times. Without St. Patrick there may well have been no John Knox."

Saint Patrick did not concern himself about snakes, green beer, or leprechauns.
He concerned himself about the lost souls of his captors.
He did a great work for no worldly reason.
These Irish tribal folks were not his people by blood.
He made many of them God's people by the blood of his Savior.
He was a victim of pagan savages who worshiped the sun.
So what did Patrick really do?
He evangelized. He shared the gospel. His only reason was to honor the Son.
Patrick believed the gospel and acted on it.

1 Timothy 1:15-16 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
"15 It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. 16 Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life."

My prayer is-
Thank you Lord for your continual witness.
Please empower us with your Holy Spirit to share our one and only hope Christ Jesus.
In Jesus saving name-Amen.

Thanks for reading friends.

In Christ Alone!


*Journal, Beeson Divinity School, 2007

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