Acts 26:19-20 ESV
“Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.”
Paul’s and Our Mission
Paul’s mission, given to him by Jesus Christ, was to go to the Jews (his own people) and to the Gentiles “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” (Acts 26:18).
And that really is the message of the gospel. Paul was to take that message of the true gospel (the whole counsel of God) to his own people and to the Gentiles (those not Jews by natural birth). But now by faith in Jesus Christ believing Jew and believing Gentile are one in Christ. There is no more division between them. Now the division is those believing in Jesus and those not believing in Jesus (which includes non-believing Jews).
So, if we are believers in Jesus, our own people would be others who also profess faith in Jesus Christ, or they could be our own family members, or they could be people of our own race or nationality. But the gospel message is to go to all people of all nations, so we don’t just talk about Jesus with people we know, but we are to talk about him to strangers, too.
And Paul summarized that gospel message in these words: “they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.”
Now, this is the opposite of what most Christians in America today are teaching, spreading, and receiving. For, there are people in positions of power in the world who decided to dilute the gospel message, to alter it so as to remove God’s requirements for repentance and obedience to God. And they passed that down to people in positions of power who then passed it down to pastors and to people training to be pastors or church planters, who then passed it down to their people.
The Horrible Result
And so now the “gospel” message that is largely being taught gives a cursory nod to Jesus and to what he did for them in dying on a cross for our sins. This cheap grace gospel has now supplanted (replaced) the true gospel in the hearts and minds of a vast majority of those professing faith in Jesus Christ here in America, and perhaps in other parts of the world, too. And people who profess such faith in Jesus Christ are now being given full liberty to continue in deliberate and habitual sin against God, resulting in this:
Now those professing faith in Jesus can live in self-indulgence and in sexual immorality without conscience and without concern that their sins will be judged by God. So, they can sin as much as they want, and hide their sins in secret, and store up all kinds of evil inside of them and lie to cover up their sins while they claim Jesus as Savior and heaven as their eternal destiny.
Some of them make no bones about what they believe. They are quite candid and open in saying that they don’t have to obey the Lord, and that they don’t have to repent of their sins, and that they don’t have to submit to Christ as Lord. They call that works-based salvation. And to them God’s grace is freedom from the punishment and guilt of sin and it is a free ride into heaven regardless of how much they sin against the Lord.
Now others I would call “closet” cheap grace gospel people, for they believe in the cheap grace by the mere fact of how they live in addiction to sin. But they claim with their lips to believe in the true gospel, but then they go back and forth (they teeter) between the two. They try to hide or to mask the secret lives of sin they are living while they put on a show (performance) of righteousness on the outside, but their performance has holes in it.
Acts 26:21-23 ESV
“For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.”
They Try to Kill Us
Well, first they attempt to put to death the true gospel that Paul and we are called to take to the people of the world. And they have been largely successful in putting it to death in the minds and hearts of a large number of people professing faith in Jesus Christ. But the gospel is not dead. It is still alive. There is a remnant of believers in Jesus who have not compromised with the world and who are still teaching the truth.
But since they have not been able to totally kill the truth of the gospel, and since there are still some of us out there who are teaching what Paul was called to teach, now they are trying to kill us. In some countries in the world they are literally putting such Christians to death. In America, it hasn’t come to that yet, but it will. Scripture will be fulfilled. But true Christianity and the gospel that Paul taught is definitely under fire today.
The more that we confront and expose the lies, and the more that we confront and expose the wicked deeds of wicked people, even those professing faith in Jesus Christ, and the more that we proclaim that we must die to sin and live to God and to his righteousness, the greater the opposition against us, and the greater the enemy’s attacks against us.
He wants to destroy us, because if he can destroy us, then his thinking is that people will no longer listen to us, and then he will have won. But he will never win. The word of God will abide forever, and the truth will prevail! They may be able to kill our bodies, but they can’t kill our souls, and they can’t kill the truth. God’s gospel will go forth and many yet will be saved before the return of our Lord for his bride.
So, we persevere, and we put our lives and our reputations in the hands of God. For, we have no control over what other people are going to think about us or what they are going to say about us. If they falsely accuse us, we can choose to be silent, or we can answer the false accusations with the truth. The Lord will give us wisdom regarding what to do and to say as each situation arises, for some of these are traps.
For me personally, I know God’s calling on my life, and because of that calling I know that I will be rejected and opposed and falsely accused, and so I have to accept that as part of the job. And I have to keep getting out the truth no matter who comes against me or what they say to me or about me, and I just have to trust the Lord for wisdom to know how to respond.
I know God has called me to this and as long as he wants me to keep doing this he will provide the way for me to do it. He will protect me from the enemy’s attacks against me. And he will give me the courage and the boldness that I need to keep moving forward, trusting him to lead the way and to carry me all the way, and trusting that I will survive all onslaughts against me as long as this is still his mission for me. And when I am done, I believe he will call me home, and I am ready for whenever that may be.
All I Ask of You
by Andrew Lloyd Webber
No more talk of darkness,
Forget these wide-eyed fears;
I’m here, nothing can harm you,
My words will warm and calm you.
Let me be your freedom,
Let daylight dry your tears;
I’m here, with you, beside you,
To guard you and to guide you.
Let me be your shelter,
Let me be your light…
Love me, that’s all I ask of you