They Poisoned Their Minds
Acts 14:1-2 ESV
“Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed. But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers.”
When we are following Jesus Christ in doing what he says, and when we are spreading the truth of the gospel of our salvation from sin, and when we are exposing the lies that stand opposed to the truth of the gospel, we are going to face opposition, even coming from those who profess to be our brothers and sisters in the Lord, and even from our own family members.
For, many are not living according to the truth of God’s word. Many are going their own way, instead, creating their own god out of their own minds, and thus they are giving themselves permission to keep living in sin, in direct opposition to God’s will and purpose for our lives, and in direct opposition to the teachings from the word of God with regard to sin and to righteousness.
When we share the truths of the Scriptures, there will be people who will be blessed by them for they are followers of Jesus Christ, and there will be those whose hearts will be convicted of sin and they will repent of their sins and they will follow Jesus Christ with their lives. From my experience, they are few in number. But my experience is confined to where I live largely, but not entirely, for these messages go all throughout the world.
From my experience, and from what I have read and heard from people from many different locations throughout the world, the large majority, it would seem, especially here in America, are more aligned with those who are opposing the full gospel message (the whole counsel of God), and they are more the ones who are creating their own gods in order to remain in sin.
So, if we expose the lies and we point them out in contrast to the truth of God’s Holy Word, those who want to hold on to the lie will come against us and they may even poison other people’s minds against us, too, for they do not want their sins exposed, and they don’t want the lie they are believing exposed for what it is, because they want to continue on their own course living for sin and for self while claiming heaven as their eternal home.
But Jesus told us that these things would take place. He warned us that we would be hated and persecuted for righteousness’ sake as he was hated and persecuted. We were warned in Scripture about those who would teach what is false and who would gather a number of people around them who would follow after their lies. And we were instructed that we are not to participate in the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather we are to expose them.
So, if we choose to obey our Lord, and if we choose to obey the Scriptures in doing what we are instructed to do, then we must be prepared to suffer for the sake of the name of Jesus, for the sake of his gospel, and for the sake of righteousness. It doesn’t mean it will be pleasant for us, but that we are willing to take that risk in order to see other people set free from their bondage to sin.
They Remained a Long Time
Acts 14:3 ESV
“So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.”
Do you grasp what this is saying here? The unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. SO THEY REMAINED for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord. Awesome! They did not let the opposition scare them away. They didn’t let fear of rejection or what others might do to them or say about them deter them from doing what they knew was right, and what they knew was going to mean the salvation of lives.
They cared more about the people and about saving their souls from hell and seeing them set free from their slavery to sin than they cared about their own lives. And this is the way we are to be, as well. We should never shrink from telling the truth out of fear of reprisal. We should never stop trying to rescue people out of fear of false accusations thrown at us. But we must keep doing what God has called us to do.
And we must trust God with our lives and with our reputations, and we must keep pressing forward in his strength and power, by his grace, in teaching the truth of the gospel which says we must die with Christ to our sins, be changed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God, and now walk in obedience to our Lord’s commands. And we must warn them if they do not forsake their sins and obey the Lord that they won’t have eternal life with God.
They Continued to Preach
Acts 14:4-7 ESV
“But the people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews and some with the apostles. When an attempt was made by both Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to mistreat them and to stone them, they learned of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding country, and there they continued to preach the gospel.”
And the people remain divided today, as well, for many are following after a false god, a false christ, a false faith, and a false plan of salvation. This false faith does not come from God, it is not perfected by Jesus, it is not gifted to us by God, and we are not drawn to Jesus by the Father through this false faith which is of the earth and of the flesh of man and not of God.
This false faith (false gospel) is a takeoff from the gospel of Jesus Christ, but it is not the original. It is a lie, a cheap substitute for the real thing. And it mocks God and his plan of salvation, and it mocks him and his commands and his righteousness and holiness. And it deceives the masses who are buying into its tricks and trappings to believe the lie over the truth.
This false faith/gospel is grounded in and is empowered by what is evil, wicked, corrupt, dishonest, immoral, and vile, for it is of the devil, not of God. For it gives its glory to the flesh of man, not to God, and it honors the corrupt, the vile, the wicked, the adulterer, and the idolater, etc. And it gives no honor but only dishonor to the God of heaven and of earth.
This false gospel has nothing to do with wanting to live the Christian life, for it isn’t about living the Christian life, but it is about living in sin and calling it “Christian.” It is all about tricking people into believing its lies so that it has them under its power and control, and so that they do not serve the Lord their God and so that they do not walk in righteousness and holiness.
So, it convinces them that it is too hard to live the Christian life and that God doesn’t really expect them to, anyway. And so it convinces them that Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins was all about removing from us the punishment of sin so that we could go to heaven when we die, but that God doesn’t really expect us to walk in holiness and righteousness.
But those who follow after this lie are headed straight for hell, not for heaven. So, if you want the promises of God to be real in your life, you have to cooperate with God in putting to death, not only your sin, but these lies of the enemy. You have to let the Lord put these lies to death in your life so that you now embrace the truth and so you walk in righteousness.
If you want to have true victory over sin, you must be willing to let go of the lies and hold on to the truth. The truth teaches you must die with Christ to sin and live to God and to his righteousness, for if you don’t, then you don’t have salvation from sin and you don’t have eternal life with God. So, please take this seriously, for if you don’t, one day you will regret it.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10]
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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