Acts 26:13-15 ESV
“At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me. And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.’”
What are some ways in which we might be guilty of persecuting Jesus?
Saul was persecuting believers in Jesus Christ, and since they were Christ’s followers, that was the same as though he was persecuting Jesus himself, because they were following Jesus with their lives, and because they were spreading the message of the gospel of our salvation from sin to others.
So, if we mistreat the Lord’s servants and messengers, who are Jesus’ followers, it is as though we are mistreating Jesus.
And, what ways might we mistreat those who are followers of Jesus? We might harm them by speaking evil against them when they are doing no evil. We might injure them by cheating them, stealing from them, lying to them, or trying to trick them. Or, we might hurt them by betraying their trust.
Basically, how we treat those who belong to Jesus, who are walking with him in obedience to doing his will, is how we treat Jesus Christ himself.
What other ways might we be persecuting Jesus?
We persecute Jesus when we resist him and his will for our lives, and we choose to go our own way, instead. It has to do with fighting against God and his urgings and his warnings and his callings on our lives, too. It is like putting a hand up to God and telling him “No!” when he says, “Don’t do that!” or when he says, “This is what I want you to do.”
If we are Christians, it means we claim to be followers of Jesus Christ. We know the right way to go, and we know what is wrong for us to do. We know the difference between good and evil. Even people who don’t know Jesus know good and evil, and right from wrong, for God revealed to all humankind his divine character and will so that we are all without excuse.
So, we persecute Jesus when we willfully and knowingly choose what is against him, and is against his word, and we do what is opposed to him. When we lie, cheat, steal, commit adultery, hate, and gossip, etc., we are persecuting our Lord, for we are willfully resisting him and doing what we want to do, instead. And, we are hurting others in the process, too.
Acts 26:16-18 ESV
“But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles — to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.”
The purpose of our salvation from sin is not just so we can escape hell and so we can go to heaven when we die one day. Jesus died, not just to forgive us our sins, but to deliver us out of our slavery (bondage, addiction) to sin.
He died so that we would be turned from darkness to light, so that we would leave our sinful lifestyles behind us, and so we would now follow Jesus Christ in obedience to his will for our lives, according to the teachings of his word. And, he died that we might be turned from the power of Satan to God, so that Satan and sin would no longer have dominion over us, but that Jesus would now be our only Lord and Master (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17).
So, by God-given faith in Jesus Christ, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:17-24).
And, we are forgiven our sins, and we are joined with the family of God who are sanctified (made holy) by faith in Jesus Christ – a faith that dies with Christ to sin and lives to Christ and to his righteousness in the power of God’s Spirit now living within us (1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15; Tit. 2:11-14).
And, this faith is continuous, not just a one-time decision we make to believe in Jesus as our Savior and Lord. If we want to have salvation from sin and eternal life with God, we must walk (in lifestyle) according to the Spirit and no longer according to our flesh. Daily we die to sin and self and we follow our Lord in obedience (Lu. 9:23-26; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
If you haven’t done that, and you are depending on a lie to get you into heaven, please know what the Scriptures teach.
For, if you walk according to the flesh, and you continue in sin, and you make sin your practice, you don’t have eternal life with God. For, you can make all the pretense of righteous living or faith in Jesus Christ you want, but it won’t get you saved or bound for heaven. You must walk according to the Spirit of God, and obey the Lord, or you don’t have God (Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:16-21; Eph. 5:3-6; Gal. 6:7-8; Rom. 2:6-8; 1 Jn. 2:3-6).
An Original Work / August 29, 2018
Your bond is broken
With your Lord and Savior
And, your testimony is
Separate from Him.
Your words not matching
Your actions today.
Repent of your sin and
Bow down and pray.
Live what you testify
In truth always.
Purity’s lacking in
Your life and witness,
For you profess one thing,
But other you do.
Not moral, spiritual.
Still of the flesh.
Not living in truth to
What you confess.
Lying about it
Puts you in a mess.
Living a lie is your practice,
‘tis true of you.
Masquerade righteousness –
None of it true.
Your heart is not given
To your Lord God.
Because of how you live,
You are a fraud.
Turn from your sin and
Give your life to God.