Do Not Fear! Go on Speaking!

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.’”

We can’t force people to hear the truth of God’s Word. We can speak the truth, and we should keep on speaking it despite all opposition, but not everyone is going to receive it. Many, in fact, will reject it because their eyes have been blinded by the lies for so long that they have embraced the lies as the truth and they have rejected the truth as the lies.

But I understand how we can be brainwashed into believing lies as truth. I was there at one time, and I can’t say without a doubt that I am not believing any lies now. But I pray always that if I am, that the Lord will reveal those to me. And since I am open for him to do so, he is faithful in letting me know if what I am believing is not the truth, when it matters, for it only matters when it is regarding the whole counsel of God or when we are believing something as truth that is going to lead us in a wrong direction.

But there are many people who know the truth. They were taught the truth at one time. They know right from wrong and yet they choose wrong and they reject right because they want to continue to do wrong and to not do right. So the problem is not so much that people are believing the lies in place of the truth but that many of them don’t want to hear the truth.

Now when I say that we should keep on speaking the truth I am not saying that we should push it on people who tell us that they don’t want to hear it or who oppose us to our faces and thus verbally reject the truth. Now there may be times when the Lord will lead us right back into the fire, and when he will have us speak truth to people with obstinate hearts, and then we must obey him even if we are treated badly in return.

But then there will be those times when the Lord says for us to shake out our garments or to shake the dust off our sandals and to move on because they don’t want to hear it, even if they say that they do with their lips. For their actions speak louder than their words. But this does not mean that if they bold-face lie to us that we should not speak the truth back to them. But then there may be times when the Lord will direct us to just walk away.

If we are obedient to the Lord, and if we are listening to him, and if we are following his leading in our lives, he will direct us in what to do in each of these individual situations. For if we read the Scriptures we will see that Jesus and his apostles did not always do the same thing in all situations. They didn’t follow a preprogrammed formula, but they just obeyed God in each and every situation as these situations presented themselves.

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.”

Like I said already, sometimes the Lord will lead us to stay or to return to a place where we have previously been persecuted, and he will lead us to keep on speaking even in the face of severe opposition. Then other times he will lead us to shake the dust off our sandals and to move on to the next place and to not look back. And sometimes the Lord allows us to be persecuted in one place so that we will go to another where he wants us.

The Lord allowed me to face much opposition and persecution in my life from pastors, elders, church people, family, and friends. Now I am not claiming perfection, and I am not claiming that I never did wrong. I did. But it wasn’t for wrong that I did that I was persecuted. In fact, when I was doing wrong is when they liked me and when they left me alone. Sad, isn’t it? But it was when I was doing right in the eyes of God that they opposed me.

But I kept going back and back, maybe not to all the same places, but to many similar places, and so I kept getting beat up on. And then the Lord began showing me about Babylon the Harlot and the institutional church and how that wasn’t the true church, the body of Christ, and how he wanted me to come out of “Babylon.” And eventually I did.

But via the rejection that I faced in the institutional church the Lord opened another door for me. He sent me to the internet to write down what he teaches me from my time in his word each day and to post it on the internet so that the internet could “Run With It,” which is the name of my blog, based off Habakkuk 2:2-3. So the Lord used all that opposition and persecution in my life to finally convince me to depart from the institutional church and to let him use me on the internet, instead.

So, this is kind of like what happened to Paul. He left the synagogue and he went next door to the home of a Gentile and God used him there to reach many people for faith in Jesus Christ. And that is what God has done in my life, too. For the messages he is giving me to share are going to people in nations all across the globe (not in every nation, though). And there are people who are reading these messages who are listening to God. All glory, honor, and praise to God and not to me.

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.”

When we get rejected a lot, and when we get opposed much, and we have people coming against us on a somewhat regular basis, it can get discouraging and disheartening, for sure, especially if we do not get much encouragement at all. And so, in our spirits, we may feel like giving up, and we may feel like, “What’s the use?” And especially if the fruit that it is bearing is not something we can see with our physical eyes.

And so the Lord encourages us with these words, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you.” Now he doesn’t always promise us that no one will attack us or harm us, and Paul was attacked and harmed much, so it isn’t true that Paul was never harmed or attacked. Perhaps the meaning was related to just this one specific circumstance, or perhaps the meaning is that the message will go on despite persecution.

But maybe it was because the Lord had many people in that city on his side that Paul was given the promise that he would not be attacked or harmed. But then we read that Paul stayed a year and a half teaching the word of God among them. But then if we keep on reading we then see that he was attacked later. So, perhaps the Lord gave him a 1.5 year reprieve before the attacks began again. It is certainly welcome to have those reprieves.

But the bottom line is that our God is absolutely sovereign over all that he has made and nothing is going to be able to touch us who are following him unless God allows it for a purpose. And he did not promise us we would not be persecuted. He said we would. But even persecution serves the Lord’s purposes, for it helps us to grow and to mature in our walks of faith, and it teaches us to be humble and to rely on God in all things and not to rely on ourselves, and all for the glory of God.

[Matt 5:10-12; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; John 15:1-21; Jn 16:33; Ac 14:22; Rom 5:3-5; Phil 3:7-11; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 4:12-17; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; 2 Co 1:3-11; Heb 12:3-12]

Thou Art Worthy
Revelation 4:11

Thou art worthy, Thou art worthy,
Thou art worthy, O Lord.
To receive glory, glory and honor,
Glory and honor and power.
For Thou hast created, hast all things created,
Thou hast created all things.
And for Thy pleasure they are created;
Thou art worthy, O Lord.

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