Acts 4:25-28 ESV
“’Why did the Gentiles rage,
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers were gathered together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed’—
“for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.”
A Gentile is a non-Jew. Prior to Jesus’ death on that cross for our sins, the world was divided into two groups of people – Jew and Gentile. The Jews were God’s chosen people, and the Gentiles were all who were not Jews. But, “Gentile” was also a term used to describe all non-believers in the one true God.
In Jesus’ death on that cross he destroyed that barrier between Jew and Gentile, and he made them one in Christ, via God-given faith in Jesus. So, the world is no longer divided as Jew and Gentile, but as saved and unsaved, believer in Jesus and unbeliever. So, Gentile now means the nations or non-believers in Jesus, and Israel means all who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
So, what this means now is that Jews who don’t believe in Jesus are now part of the nations (the Gentiles) and only those who believe in Jesus are Israel. There is no other Israel of God but those who have surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ, and it is important that we realize that.
We also need to know that all who deny that Jesus is the Christ are antichrist. So, all Jews or Gentiles who deny that Jesus is the Christ, the promised Messiah of Israel, they are antichrist. For by denying Jesus is the Christ they deny the Father, and therefore they don’t believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, even if they are a Jew by physical birth.
So, no believer in Jesus should be a supporter of the nation of Israel, which is antichrist. For if you are, you are supporting the antichrist, not the people of God. You are not to stand with the nation of Israel, but you are to stand with God’s people who are only those who believe Jesus is the Christ, and who have surrendered their lives to him, making him their Lord and Savior.
For, just as the nations and the Jews worked together to put Jesus to death on that cross nearly 2000 years ago, so they are uniting again to put believers in Jesus Christ to death, for they want to put the gospel of Jesus to death. So, they will either attempt to convert us to their way, or they will persecute us, and they may also kill us, too.
[Rom. 9:6-8; Gal. 3:10, 16, 26-29; Gal. 4:22-31; Eph. 2:14-18; 1 Jn. 2:22]
Acts 4:29-31 ESV
“’And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.’ And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.”
Now, it is important to note here that not everyone who says, “Lord, Lord,” is true Israel. Not everyone who professes faith in Jesus Christ is a true follower of Jesus Christ. So, included in those who are “antichrist” are also many who profess faith in Jesus Christ but who are against the gospel of our salvation as taught by Jesus and by his New Testament apostles.
So, among our persecutors are Jews who don’t believe in Jesus, the godless of the nations, and all who give lip service only to our Lord but who are railing against him and against his gospel, and who are fighting against his servants, his messengers, and against the fullness of the teachings of Scripture regarding our salvation and our eternal life with God.
And, some of these persecutors may even be pastors and elders and deacons of local fellowships of the church. For, many of them are wolves in sheep’s clothing, or they are living immoral lives, and so they have bought into and are teaching the cheap grace gospel which demands no repentance, no obedience, and no submission to Jesus Christ as Lord.
So, if we are teaching or sharing the gospel, as Jesus and his New Testament apostles taught it, we are going to have enemies, even within the church, and even coming from the leadership, too. Many will oppose us, and they will try to convince us that what we are teaching is “works-based salvation.” For, they want to silence us. For, they want people to believe the lies.
They want people to believe the lies because they want to coddle them in their sins, instead of speaking the truth in love to them in hopes that they will surrender their lives to Jesus and be delivered from their bondage to sin. And, that is because Satan is behind this cheap grace gospel which convinces its adherents that they can be “saved,” be going to heaven, and yet continue living in their sin, only now without guilt.
A Strong Force
This is a strong force against the truth, and it is very widespread, and it is taking the church by storm. And the vast majority of those who profess the name of Jesus, at least here in America, appear to have bought into it.
So, if we are teaching the truth, we are going to be opposed strongly by those who are teaching and are believing in this cheap grace. So, we need the Lord to look upon our opposition and to grant us who are his servants the boldness with which to keep speaking the truth of the gospel.
For, this is serious spiritual warfare that is going on here. So, we can’t do this in our own strength or by following our own emotions. We have to be prayed up, and we must be in tune with the Spirit’s voice, and it is imperative that we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, too, to give us the words to say, for many are out there laying traps for us to fall into.
So, we need to not be casual about the things we write on Christian discussion sites, or in blogs, or on social media, especially, or we may get ground up. And, if the Spirit prompts us to not say something, we need to listen to him, and we need to delete it, and we must not press forward with saying whatever it is we think needs to be said. For we could fall into a trap.
We don’t have to answer everyone. We need to pray for wisdom to know when to just let things alone or when to respond. For Satan is a roaring lion lying in wait, just waiting for us to slip in order to devour us. So, more than any other time we must be operating in the power of the Spirit and not in the power or strength of our own flesh.
So, don’t let down your guard. Don’t give in to opposition. Be bold in your faith in the power of God’s Spirit and keep on speaking the truth in love. Trust the Lord with your life and with your opponents, and just keep listening to the Lord, doing and saying what he says to do and say.
And, when this is all over, one day soon we are going to be with our Lord forever and all this pain and suffering will be over. And, sin will be no more. God will wipe away all the tears from our eyes, and we will be forever with our Lord in glory. Amen!
There’s a Stirring
By Annie Herring
There’s a stirring deep within me
Could it be my time has come
When I’ll see my gracious savior face to face when all is done
Is that his voice I am hearing?
‘Come away, my precious one’
Is he calling me?
I will rise up, rise up
And bow down
And lay my crown
At his wounded feet
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