The Poisoning of People’s 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 teaching the truth of the gospel and not a half-truth (lie, false) gospel which coddles people in their sins, we will be opposed. We will have people who will take us to task and who will criticize us and who will accuse us falsely of teaching “works-based salvation.” And they may also attempt to turn others against us, too, even lying about us to them hoping to convince them that we are the enemy and of Satan, and that we are to be ignored.

And the object is to poison the people’s minds against us, but not just us, but against what we stand for, and against what we teach, which is the whole counsel of God, not a diluted half-truth gospel intended to tickle itching ears. So the opposition is really against the message, and since we are the messengers, then we are opposed, too. But the real enemy to the true gospel of Christ, taught by Christ, is this half-truth false gospel.

But this half-truth false gospel did not create itself. There are people who are behind this who have created this and who have convinced the vast majority of the people professing the name of Jesus to believe in it. But that is only half their goal. The other half is to destroy the true message of the gospel, to discredit it and to vilify it, and to attempt to also discredit its messengers and to vilify them, too.

And so they paint us as legalists, self-righteous, egotistical and judgmental who are teaching a lie of Satan, so that the people will be discouraged from listening to us. And they paint the gospel we teach, which is the whole counsel of God which Paul and the other apostles taught, as the lie which is to be rejected in favor of what they claim is the truth, but which is really the lie which is hostile towards God and is at war against Jesus Christ.

Now what the true gospel teaches us is that by God-given faith in Jesus Christ we must be crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we must be raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Our old self is to be put to death with Christ so that we are no longer enslaved to sin but we are now slaves to God and to his righteousness. For now we are to walk no longer according to the flesh but now according to the Spirit in the power of God for the glory of God.

The true gospel also teaches that these walks of faith must be continuous until the very end, and they must include daily dying to sin and to self and walking in obedience to our Lord’s commands. For if we say that we know God or that we are in fellowship with God while we still walk (in conduct, in practice) in sin, and while we do not walk in obedience to his commands, then the Scriptures teach that we lie and that we will not inherit eternal life with God regardless of what faith in Jesus we have professed with our lips.

But this false gospel, which is vehemently opposed to the truth of the gospel, teaches a faith in Jesus Christ which is of the flesh and not of the Spirit, which requires no deeds, no repentance, no obedience, and no submission to Christ as Lord as part of believing faith in Jesus Christ. And so one can “believe” and be “saved” and be on their way to heaven, according to them, while they continue to walk in deliberate and habitual sin against the Lord Jesus Christ. But that is not what Jesus or his apostles taught.

[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 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; 1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13]

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.”

I love this! Our enemy Satan wants to discourage us from teaching the truth of the gospel and so he will fight against us and he will use other humans to come against us, too, but we can’t let that dishearten us. Even if all hell breaks out against us and we are smeared in public and we are painted in a bad way, and even if many people turn against us and speak evil against us, we are to persevere and leave the opposition into the hands of God.

And this is because this isn’t about us. This is about the salvation of human lives, and they are not going to be saved if they believe the lie and if they reject the truth, and if they continue in deliberate and habitual sin against the Lord and if they refuse to walk in obedience to the Lord. For Jesus said that not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven but only the one DOING the will of God the Father who is in heaven (Matthew 7:21-23).

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.”

Well, the people are definitely divided, but here in America it appears that well over half of those professing faith in Jesus Christ are believing that they can believe in Jesus and be on their way to heaven but that no works are required of them – no repentance, no obedience, and no submission to Christ as Lord. And so they remain dead in their sins, still in slavery to sin, and on their way to hell but on the promise of heaven when they die.

And this is why it is critical that we teach them the whole truth of the gospel, not a diluted version which cuts out the necessity of walks of obedience to our Lord and dying to sin daily. For one day we are all going to stand before God and we are going to be judged by our works and many people are going to claim that they are saved but the Lord is going to say, “Depart from me you workers of iniquity. I never knew you,” because they didn’t obey him.

[Lu 9:23-26; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:26-31; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Jn 15:1-11; Matt 7:21-23; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Have Thine Own Way, Lord

Words by Adelaide A. Pollard, 1907
Music by George C. Stebbins, 1907

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway.
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!

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