He Shook Out His Garments

Acts 18:5-6 ESV

“When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with the word, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus. And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, ‘Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.’”

Now, Paul did not go running away at the first sign of opposition. He had been opposed by the Jews for a long while, and he had faced much persecution from them repeatedly. So, this was not an instantaneous decision on his part to leave them and to go to the Gentiles. This had been going on a long while, and he finally decided that “enough was enough!”

Sometimes when we face opposition and persecution the Lord says to stay and to trust him, and then other times he may say, “Go. Leave them.” And so we must do what the Lord leads us to do, and we must pray and trust him to show us the way he wants us to go, and to provide for us for our journey, wherever that takes us next. We “can’t keep beating a dead horse.”

And there are many such circumstances that may lead us to the decision that “enough is enough,” and that it is time to move on. This could be in relation to a spiritually unhealthy church situation, or it could be regarding a difficult job, or it could have to do with family relationships or with a failed marriage and/or a toxic relationship that is going nowhere but down.

Whatever it is, we must seek the Lord’s guidance and direction. And we must trust him to show us when it is time to go and when we need to stay, and if we are to go, what comes next. Where do we go next? What is that going to look like for us? And what needs to take place to be able to make that transition work? For, we need to make certain we are following God.

Acts 18:7-8 ESV

“And he left there and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. His house was next door to the synagogue. Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with his entire household. And many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized.”

I know I have shared this times before, but it is the best example I know to share of what this looks like. So, please bear with me for repeating some of what you have heard before. So, let me say first off that I grew up attending church services from birth forward, and what I experienced formed my idea of what church was and is to be and how it is supposed to work.

Whenever I got really close to the Lord, and I was in his word every day, listening to what he taught me, and doing what he said to do, I faced opposition from pastors, elders, and church people. And I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I was obeying the rules. I wasn’t doing anything out of order. I was showing respect. They just didn’t like me.

I got rejected by one church for “coming across as though I had it altogether.” Well, then God began to heal me of some things from my past, and then I gained new freedom in Christ I never had before, but I was still going through that healing process when the Lord moved us, so I got rejected at the next church for “not having it all together.”

And then we moved again, and at the next church I was told, “You are not one of us. If you were one of us, we would listen to what you have to say, but you are not one of us.” It was a small southern town that was a very closed community to anyone not from there, so it wasn’t just me, others were being treated the same way who were outsiders.

We moved again, and then at another church a friend of mine and I joined a “support group” for we were both dealing with things from our pasts, abusive situations that still needed healing. And she asked for my help in speaking up, and so I encouraged her when she got fearful, and then I was scolded for trying to help her and was blasted by the leadership and by a pastor I had never met before but who thought he knew me, but he didn’t.

And there were more such situations, but I will spare you the details. But the closer I got to the Lord and the more I learned of what his word teaches us, and the more he showed me the lies that many are believing, and the more I began to see what was going on inside much of the church today, the more I was getting rejected by church leadership, because they were trying to appeal to the flesh of man, and I was trying to lead people to Jesus.

Finally, the Lord Jesus led me to “leave Babylon.” And he sent me to the internet, instead, and I have been here now for 17 years sharing what he teaches me from his word during my times with him in his word and in listening to his voice. And here I found a place where there are people who are listening, and who are wanting to hear the truth of the gospel.

So, where one door closed for me, i.e. the institutional church, the Lord opened another for me to the body of Christ globally. And here I am able to share what he is teaching me each day and people are listening, and I know I am making a difference in people’s lives and they are ministering to me, as well, and here I am able to function as my body part doing what God has called me to do, for there was no room for my body part in the institutional church. All glory to God – only in His strength and power!

So, if you are in a place where you are growing in the Lord and he is teaching you from his word and you are wanting to share what he is teaching you but the institutional church, which largely is about building kingdoms of men, and not the kingdom of heaven, is pushing you aside, perhaps the Lord is leading you to go somewhere else, like on the internet, where he can use you and where people want to hear you share.

Acts 18:9-11 ESV

“And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, ‘Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.’ And he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.”

I used to feel that men had power over me that God could do nothing about because that had been my life experience, from my perspective, and I used to live under the fear of that limitation, and frustrated, too, because I knew God’s calling on my life, but doors kept slamming in my face. And so I used to question God’s calling on my life, and in tears I would sometimes cry out to God and say, “God, why did you make me like this?”

Well, now I know why he made me like this, because he had a calling on my life that required someone like me. And all those years I was getting rejected, and beat up on, the Lord was preparing me for “such a time as this.” So, if you are where I used to be, and if you are questioning God’s calling on your life, and if you are feeling frustrated over closed doors, just give it to the Lord, and keep on speaking what he gives you to speak, provided that what you are speaking agrees with the Word of God.

Draw Me Close To You

Donnie McClurkin

Draw me close to You
Never let me go
I lay it all down again
To hear You say that I’m Your friend

You are my desire
And no one else will do
‘Cause nothing else can take Your place
To feel the warmth of Your embrace

Help me find a way
Bring me back to You
Bring me back, oh Jesus

You’re all I want
You’re all I’ve ever needed
You’re all I want
Help me know You are near

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