When People Who Preach the Gospel Get Maligned (Acts 19:8-20) December 4, 2011
If we really take the Gospel and sought to preach the mystery of God’s Kingdom in this land, God will undoubtedly provide evidence in our lives. The Gospel is the fact that we have been liberated from all sins, fate, hell, and Satan’s authority through Christ (Luk.1:71, 77, Rom.8:1-2). Within God’s Kingdom, He resides within us who have been saved to protect, lead, reign over, and work upon us. At that moment, the forces of Darkness working within our lives and this world crumble, and our lives turn into evidence of which we will have no choice but to testify to others. It is not limited to us. It applies to our families, children and every place we are involved with. That is why Jesus said, “You will be my witnesses [from] Jerusalem to the ends of the earth.” Do not waver or give up until the end, but remain in the Gospel and enjoy the mystery of God’s Kingdom. On the other hand, there may be many persecutions, conflicts, and slanderous words. Today’s passage proves that. When Paul went into the Jewish synagogue and boldly testified of God’s Kingdom, some people became obstinate and maligned the Gospel. Having an obstinate heart means closing one’s heart and being stubborn. When one is in that state, one will not even try to listen. You will always run into such people when you go out to the field and share the Gospel. There may be some people like that within your family. If you look in Acts 17:7, “Some Jews became envious”. There is a spirit that makes one’s heart obstinate and plants jealousy; that is Satan.
1. Why do these continue to take place? Is there a way to believe in Jesus without having those hardships?
1) Jesus predicted and said in Mt.10 when He commissioned out disciples. There will be abundant answers and blessings that God has prepared in the field, but there will also be persecutions, hatred, and life-threatening situations. However, Jesus also said do not fear. He said He even knows the count of our hair. That is how much He will protect, lead, and work upon us. If there is anything we lost for the Gospel, He said there will be rewards in heaven.
2) If you look in Acts 24:5, to what extent did Jews persecute and malign Paul and other evangelists? They labeled Paul a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world and a ringleader of the Nazarene sect.
a. Churches today crumble while criticizing one another and conflicting over wrong things. Churches of the medieval age and Europe all crumbled while fighting over positions, doctrines, and church authority.
b. This is the reason why Remnants must save the church. If the Korean church and the American church come to their senses, they will end up like the European churches with empty church buildings. Young generations are leaving the church. What is going to happen in the future? As it is written in 2Tim.3:12, it will be very difficult for our Remnants to live their Christian life. They must get ready.
3) But the sure thing is, there are reserved blessings and rewards for those who keep their faith and triumph in the midst of this chaos. It says in 1Pet.4:13-17, “When a fiery ordeal comes on you to test you, do not be surprised as though something strange were happening, but rejoice insomuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.” It says in Mark 10:29-30, “No one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the Gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age.”
2. You must know what the truth is.
1) You must have this assurance to the extent you can boldly tell unbelievers about the truth you believe in. What is the truth? Isn’t Christ the truth? (Jn.14:6) He is unchanging, therefore, the one who can completely solve our problems and the Creator God. He wore flesh and came to earth. That is Christ.
2) Even believers do not have this answer. They cannot surely tell what is real and what is false, and what is the truth and what is cult. Catholics still call Protestants heretic. The word heretic means false, thus not the truth.
a. Heretics are those who deny that Jesus is the Son of God and came as the Christ (1Jn.2:22). Because men could not solve the curse of Genesis 3 and spiritual problems themselves, God Himself came down.
b. Heretics are those who do not believe in the fact that we have been liberated and redeemed from all sins and curses. They believe it cannot be done only by the blood of Jesus. They argue that they must perform deeds and ceaselessly endeavor. It says in Heb.9:22, “In fat, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” and Martin Luther held onto Rom.1:14 “Righteous shall only live by faith” and led the Religious Reformation. The church today is going back to the church of the medieval age. Some theologians from this denomination even said there is no difference between the blood of Jesus and the blood of a pig, and thus, there is salvation outside the church. People who say these words are heretics.
c. The Bible is the Word of God; it is complete (2Tim.3:16-17). But those who say something against the Bible, interpret it however they want (II Pet.1:20), and attach other things to it are 100% heretic. You must confirm with the Bible.
d. Such people divinize their leader. They make him their god, and the returned Jesus. Of course they are 100% heretic.
e. Lastly, those who argue about exactly when Jesus will return or ridicule His Second Advent are 100% heretic as well.
3. What must we do in the midst of this spiritual chaos? What must we do when preposterous misunderstanding, slanderous criticisms, and persecutions come? There is an answer to this question in today’s passage.
1) Train yourself to the extent you can provide an accurate answer to everyone you meet. It says in 1Pet.3:15, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” Those who can give that answer are disciples. If you look in verses nine to ten, Paul picked those disciples out and trained them in the lecture hall of Tyrannus for two years. The fact that he argued persuasively means he had a discussion, which means in today’s terms he had a forum. You can tell whether one received training or not when one faces problems or goes to the field (just like soldiers).
2) When you hold onto Christ and God’s Kingdom, the work of the Holy Spirit is bound to arise. It says in verse eleven that God allowed extraordinary miracles to take place through Paul’s hands. Handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them. Having arguments is not important. Everything comes to reconciliation when the Holy Spirit’s work arises.
3) The Book of Acts records how the forces of Darkness crumbled everywhere this Paul and evangelists went in the end. A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. There are many people who worship idols and evil spirits. The amount of idols entered from different nations is quite severe. Just like it reveals in Rev.18:2, the world is becoming a place like Babylon where the evil spirits of the entire world gathered. Those idols and evil spirits keep on making spiritual diseases and problems. People who are afflicted keep on increasing in number and incomprehensible failures and curses continue.
In this spiritually chaotic world where even the church cannot discern the truth from untruth and crumbles, God has called us as evangelists who will save this age. We call those who have this spiritual answer, commission, and the strength to save the world the Remnant (chosen ones and those who remained). I bless and hope all of you may remain in this blessing of true evangelists.