Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Evening Sermon Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/ev/ev19980517.htm
ACTS: THE LOCAL CHURCH AS GOD'S AGENCY FOR DISCIPLING MEN
Part XL: Dealing With Debilitating Half Truth Charges Of Opponents In Doing God's Will
(Acts 17:1-10 with 17:15 and 1 Thes. 3:1-8)
Lesson: If opposed by half truths and unjust insinuations that we are not given a chance to answer while doing God's will, leave the issue with the Lord as in Paul's case! After all, GOD can influence how men PERCEIVE so that we can do HIS work as is proved in this case in Paul's experience!
- When seeking to live for the Lord and administer His truth, we can run into the difficulty of being verbally misrepresented by half-truths that insinuate something bad that is far from the original intent.
- The question comes: "How does one handle charges of half-truths that insinuate something much worse than the reality when he only seeks to do the will of God with all pure motives?"
- Paul faced this problem at Thessalonica, and how the Lord led him through it all is a lesson for us:
- Dealing With Debilitating Half Truth Charges By Opponents In Doing God's Will, Acts 17:1-10.
- When Paul arrived in Thessalonica to minister, he went into the Jewish synagogue to start his work, seeking to minister to the Jew first before going to the Gentile, Acts 17:1-2a with Romans 1:16.
- In the process, he taught that in accord with the Old Testament, Christ needed to have suffered and risen again, and that the historical Jesus of Galilee fulfilled these prophecies and thus was the Messiah, 17:3.
- When Paul won a large number of converts, the jealous Jewish leaders sought to destroy his effort by promoting half-truths with very bad insinuations of evil on Paul's part (Acts 17:4-10):
- Thessalonica was a "free" city, meaning that it was sovereign in its affairs and not subject to provincial administration in internal affairs, Bib. Know. Com., N.T., p. 401. Accordingly, the Jews, having no power themselves, went to work on the democratic populace to sway public opinion, Acts 17:5b.
- Not finding Paul following their staged uproar, Paul's persecutors grabbed Jason, one they knew had housed Paul, and took him with some other believers before the authorities with damning charges, 17:6.
- The charges were half truths that insinuated that Paul was a lawless insurrectionist as follows:
- They charged that Paul and Silas had turned the world upside down, that they were rabble-rousers, 17:6. In reality, they had made an impact that had upset people, but never were they advocators of lawlessness or rebellion against the Roman authorities, cf. 1 Peter 2:13-17 and Rom. 13:1-2.
- Paul's opponents charged that he had opposed the Emperor, Caesar by claiming that Jesus was King in opposition to him, Acts 17:7. In reality, Paul had claimed Jesus to be the Messiah whom every Jew would one day rule the world, including the lands under Rome. However, the i mplementation of that kingdom would be by direct divine work, not by insurrection by Christ's followers like Paul as this charge was implying, cf. Acts 17:7b; cf. Revelation 1:5d and Revelation 11: 17-18.
- Yet, these charges, in Paul's absence, were believed by the leaders, creating the need for him to leave:
- The crowd believed the report, were troubled at what they felt was insurrection on Paul's part, and took a bond of Jason that was irrevocable if Paul and Silas didn't leave town, Acts 17:8-9.
- Thus, Paul and Silas were sent secretly by the new believers out of town, south to Berea, Acts 17:10.
- In this difficult state where Paul had to leave so quickly under duress without having a chance to defend himself, and where new believers were left behind, God provided to advance Paul's missionary efforts:
- Paul was sent south from Berea to Athens without having the luxury of retracing his steps back to Thessalonica where he had been misrepresented without being able to give an answer, Acts 17:15a.
- There, he gave commandment that Timothy and Silas find out how matters were in Thessalonica with the new believers as he was concerned over the tumult that they might not be standing in the faith, cf. Acts 17:15b with 1 Thess. 3:1-3.
- Timothy and Silas returned to Paul, finding him at Corinth after he had left Athens, Acts 18:5. They reported that the Thessalonians had seen through Paul's opponents' charges, 1 Thess. 3:5-8.
- Timothy's report stated that these new believers stood firm in their faith and love, 1 Thess. 3:6a.
- But further than that, they had seen through the malignment of the Jews who had told half-truths so that they remembered Paul with good memories, and desired greatly to see him again, 1 Thess. 3:6b.
- Thus, God had worked to let men see through the false, unanswerable innuendoes against Paul!