Sunday, December 4, 2016, 5:27 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “The Lord’s Anointed.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Acts 19:8-20 (Select vv. ESV).
Speak Boldly (vv. 8-10)
Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.
In today’s world (and worldly church), with so much opposition to the full gospel message abounding, we who are servants of the Lord and ministers of his gospel must speak boldly (courageously) the truth of God’s Word. We must refute the lies of Satan – which are prevailing both in much of the institutional church and in the world at large – by telling people the truth. We must confront wrong thinking, false teaching, manipulations, and twisting of truth, and expose them for the deception that they are. We must open blinded eyes, and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Jesus Christ (Ac. 26:16-18).
So, how do we do this? Well, first of all, we don’t do it in our own human strength or willpower. We do it in the strength and power and working of God’s Holy Spirit who lives within those of us who have believed on Jesus to be our Lord and Savior. We pray for guidance, for opportunities to give witness to our faith, and for the right words to say. Yet, we must also be students of the Word of God, so that we know the truth, so we can live the truth, and so we can teach it to others, and so we can refute those who are telling people lies. So many people are being easily deceived by master manipulators because they don’t know the truth, and so they don’t recognize the lies, which are often very subtle, and smooth, and so cleverly blended into the truth that it takes much spiritual discernment to spot them.
Fakery Reviled (vv. 13-16)
Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.
There are many phonies in this world of ours. Most anything can be faked. So, it takes much spiritual discernment to separate fact from fiction, and real from imaginary. We have people who pretend to be Christians because it gains them some type of acceptance in certain social circles, or because it gets them voted into a political office, or as a cover-up for all sorts of evil and greed, and/or even so that they can spy on real Christians and report them to the powers that be. Yet, by their lifestyles, and by their words, we should be able to discern if they are sincere in their faith, or if they are just faking it for whatever reason. And, the measure is the Word of God. The Word says that if we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (in lifestyle) in darkness (sin, wickedness), we are liars (1 Jn. 1:6).
For instance, Barack Obama and Pope Francis both claim to be followers of Jesus Christ, and yet they are both promoting a one-world religion, and it now appears that Donald Trump has joined their choir and he is speaking the same (or similar) messages. Obama and the pope are very aggressively pushing unity of faith among all peoples regardless of religion or lifestyle. And, they are demonizing those who believe in and who preach the gospel of salvation as taught by Jesus Christ and by his NT apostles.
How so? They are both preaching against individualism, exclusion, division, uniqueness (being different), suspicion (doubt, distrust), intolerance (narrow-mindedness), disagreements, and separateness. Instead, they want us all to unite as one voice, with one heart, and one purpose, and with one resolve toward accomplishing one common goal. And, they are pushing compromise, cooperation, tolerance (permissiveness, lenience), integration (mixing), and a new world order. They are against anyone holding to one faith as true, and denying the validity of all other religions. Basically, they are against most of what Jesus taught, and they are for most of what stands directly in contrast to the teachings of Christ and those of his NT apostles.
One day this is all going to come into the light, and their evil deeds and their wickedness will be exposed for what it is. God will judge them, and the people of the world will realize that these men were just faking their Christianity, and they were doing so for very evil purposes, which is mainly to deceive even the elect, if that were possible. For, Satan’s goal is to pull as many away from Jesus Christ as he can, so he does this through trickery, with his followers disguised as Christians in order to gain the trust of people, so that they can feed their minds full of good-sounding lies so that they will not trust in the truth of scripture, but will follow, instead, a distorted, manipulated and adulterated gospel message, and a man-made Jesus.
It Grew in Power (vv. 17-20)
When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor. Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done. A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.
When the truth comes out, and these men are exposed for who they are (phonies), and God begins to pour out his judgment on them, the fear of God is going to seize many people. Many people will come to faith in Jesus Christ, and the wayward and adulterous church will be revived, though not everyone who professed Christ as Savior will turn to genuine faith in Christ.
I believe when it becomes clear as to who these men are, and what their objective really is, because they will make it clear, for one, because their deeds will expose them for who they are, that it is going to separate the true sheep from the goats (the professors only). There will be no more wiggle room. Either we will have to stand strong on the truth of scripture, or we will have to reject and deny our Lord and follow the beast, instead. And, the reason for this is that the goal of these men is to persecute the true saints of God, and to force them to either deny their Lord (and follow the beast) or hold on to their faith and face most certain persecution and even death.
So, through this, those who had been meandering in their faith will either deny Christ entirely, or they will become fierce proponents of the full gospel message, and will be compelled to take God’s truths to the ends of the earth, so that as many as possible can be saved before our Lord returns for his bride. Whereas now, in America in particular, there are so many nominal (in name only) Christians, and so many Christians who are living in idolatry and spiritual adultery against their Lord, when all this comes down, and the lies are exposed, many of them will now walk in holiness and in truth, and will love their Lord with all their hearts. They will forsake their idols, they will repent of their sins, and they will commit their lives to following Jesus Christ in obedience and in surrender to his will for their lives.
Through all of this the name of Jesus Christ will be held in high honor, and the full gospel message will spread throughout the earth for the glory of God. And, freedom for the captives will be preached in place of a social gospel which just makes everyone feel good about themselves. Sin will be called sin, and people will turn from their sins. They will die with Christ to sin, and will be resurrected with Christ to newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (See: Eph. 4:17-24; Ro. 6:1-23). They will no longer walk (in lifestyle) according to their sinful flesh, but by the Spirit they will be putting to death the deeds of the flesh, and they will be walking (conducting their lives) according to the Spirit. God/Jesus will comfort them, and will heal them, and renew them, and he will truly be their Lord (owner-master), and they will be his bond-servants, to do his will.
The Lord’s Anointed / An Original Work / December 16, 2011
Based off Isaiah 61
The Spirit of the Sov’reign Lord on me;
Anointed to preach the Good News;
Sent me to bind up the brokenhearted;
Proclaim freedom for the captives.
He sent me to preach release for pris’ners
Who are walking in sin’s darkness;
Proclaim God’s grace to all men who’ll listen;
And tell them about God’s judgments;
Comfort all who mourn;
Give crowns of beauty;
Oil of gladness and thanksgiving.
They will be called oaks of God’s righteousness,
A planting of our Savior, God,
For the display of our Lord’s splendor, and
They will rebuild God’s holy church.
God will renew them, and will restore them,
And you’ll be called priests of the Lord.
You will be ministers of our God, and
You will rejoice in salvation.
The Lord loves justice;
He is faithful to
Reward those who are seeking Him.
I delight greatly in the Lord;
My soul rejoices in my Savior, God.
He has clothed me with His salvation,
And in a robe of His righteousness.
He has given me priestly garments to
Wear, as the bride of Jesus Christ.
As the garden of our Lord and Savior,
He causes us to grow in Him.
He makes righteousness,
Praise, and thanksgiving
Spring up before all the nations.