Why Do They Rage?

Peter and John were under arrest for preaching about Jesus Christ and his gospel. The rulers in the temple of God took counsel against them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.

“But Peter and John answered them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard’.” Acts 4:19-20 ESV

Acts 4:23-31 ESV

“When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, ‘Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,

“’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. 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.”

Nations Rage, People Plot

What is it about the name of Jesus that leads people to get so angry? What is it about his gospel that enrages people? It is who Jesus is and what he stands for, and it is the truth of his gospel that gets people stirred up because they do not want to leave their lives of sin behind them. So, they are offended by messages which tell them that they must.

But the sad reality here is that it isn’t just the nations, and it isn’t just the people of this world who are getting angry and who are offended by the gospel of our salvation, but it is many of those who also profess faith in Jesus Christ who are angry, and for the same reasons, because they do not want to forsake their sins, and so they don’t want to hear that they must.

They don’t want to be confronted with their sins anymore than did the religious rulers in the temple of Jesus’ day, or any more than did Jesus’ brothers. They don’t want to be told that what they are doing is wrong and that they need to change, or that they need to submit to Christ as Lord, and that they are no longer to be the ones running their own lives.

They like the idea of a Jesus who died on the cross for their sins in order to forgive them their sins, and in order to give them eternal life with God, and who will not punish them for their sins. They like the notion of a grace of a god which permits them to keep on living in their sins and a god who will just look down and smile at them even when they are steeped in sin.

But they don’t like the concept of the one and only true God who puts conditions on his grace and who tells us that there is a cost to following Jesus with our lives, and that if we don’t meet those conditions, and if we are not willing to do what is required of us, that we will not inherit eternal life with God, but that we will die in our sins.

The Offense of the Gospel

The gospel message which Jesus and his New Testament apostles taught is not the modernized version many are used to hearing today, at least here in America. If it was, they wouldn’t have hated him and them, and they wouldn’t have tried multiple times to destroy him and them, and they wouldn’t have crucified him, nor would they have persecuted his followers.

For today’s gospel demands no death to sin and no living to righteousness and no surrender of one’s life to follow Jesus in obedience to his will and to his ways. All one has to do is to “believe” in Jesus, although that is rarely explained, or they just have to invite him into their hearts, or confess him verbally as Lord, and they are told their sins are forgiven and that they are guaranteed entry into God’s heaven when they die.

But Jesus taught if we want to come after him that we must deny self and take up our cross daily (die daily to sin and self) and follow (obey) him. For, if we hold on to our lives of living in sin we will lose them for eternity, but if we lose our lives for his sake, i.e., if we are crucified with him in death to sin and we are resurrected with him to new lives in him, we will be saved.

Jesus taught that there is a cost to following him with our lives, and that if we do not count the cost, and if we don’t do what he said, that we will not have eternal life with him. He demanded that he be number one in our lives, and that following him should be first priority over everything else, including over our own families. And he demanded that we die with him to sin and that we surrender all to him to follow him in obedience.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Lu 14:25-33]

And the apostles taught the same message. They taught we must be crucified with Christ in death to sin and that we must live to Christ and to his righteousness. They taught that we must not continue living in sin or we will die in our sins, but that we must now walk according to the Spirit and in righteousness, by God’s grace and in his power, to have eternal life.

[Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Tit 2:11-14]

Speak the Word with Boldness

So, we need to be teachers and ministers of truth and not of lies which tickle itching ears. We need to teach that we must die with Christ to sin and live to him and to his righteousness and that we must forsake our sinful lifestyles in order to follow Jesus in obedience to his will for our lives. We need to teach that Jesus died to deliver us from slavery to sin so we would now be slaves to God and to his righteousness.

And we need to not let the opinions or criticisms of others discourage us. We must not let any opposition against us or anyone warring against us keep us from continuing to share the gospel of our salvation. We must obey God rather than man always if man (or woman) tries to persuade us to disobey our Lord or attempts to command that we disobey God. And our Lord will give us all the grace, strength, and wisdom we need to do so.

I Surrender All

Hymn lyrics by Judson W. Van De Venter, 1896
Music by Winfield S. Weeden, 1896

… Lo, we have left all, and have followed Thee. (Mark 10:28)

All to Jesus I surrender,
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.

All to Jesus I surrender,
Humbly at His feet I bow;
Worldly pleasures all forsaken,
Take me, Jesus, take me now.

All to Jesus I surrender,
Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
Let me feel the Holy Spirit,
Truly know that Thou art mine.

All to Jesus I surrender,
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power,
Let Thy blessing fall on me.

All to Jesus I surrender,
Now I feel the sacred flame;
Oh, the joy of full salvation!
Glory, glory, to His Name!

I surrender all,
I surrender all;
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s