Acts Devotionals

Living Word vs Dirty Tactics

Like it or not, every single soul appointed to eternal life shall believe and be saved!

Ac 13:48 and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.

Let’s review this Biblical statement again … due to the Fall in the Garden of Eden where man lost his innocence and sinlessness resulting in total depravity, no person has the capacity of choosing spiritual goodness for their soul. Yet in His goodness, God chose souls before the creation of the world who would respond positively to His Gospel Call. These are the souls that would come under God’s redeeming love because of His irresistible grace, securing the soul to persevere to the end successfully. In a nutshell this sums up what is commonly known as the Five Points of Calvinism. (Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistibility of Grace and the Final Perseverance of the Saints. Later the Reformers coined the Five Solas for Salvation … Christians are saved by Grace Alone, through Faith Alone, in Christ Alone, as revealed by Scripture Alone, to the Glory of God Alone.) Both the Five Points of Calvinism and the Five Solas depict the Bible Doctrine of Election and Salvation being a work of God in the heart of man, reminding us of:

Eph 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

Let me say again … All chosen for Eternal Life shall be saved during the period of their life here on earth. They shall hear, believe, repent and be saved. At the same time, all who do not believe for whatever reason, shall not be saved. Please read:

Ac 13:49 The word of the Lord spread through the whole region. 50 But the Jews incited the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region. 51 So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

1) The Gospel Message spread powerfully.

Ac 13:49 The word of the Lord spread through the whole region.

We must never forget that all souls saved are saved because of God’s Word. As His Gospel goes out God saves souls. Remember the following:

Isa 55:10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Here we are told that God’s Word, as it goes out to be heard by people “will” accomplish His intended will and achieve the purpose for which He sends His Word out. Some shall hear and believe whilst others shall hear and reject and remain unbelievers. The way God uses His Word is quite remarkable to us humans because it does what our spoken words cannot do!

Heb 4:12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

His Word is a living Word. It is not spoken and then gone. It is spoken and remains. It lingers … because it is a Word that does something. It is active! It penetrates and divides to reach those inner crevices of the soul and once it has, it judges seeking a response … an account … a confession of belief, repentance and surrender. In the world of Paul and Barnabas, God’s Word spread throughout the whole region! A lesson for the Christian Church today is to stop doing all the “niceties” to draw people and start doing just one thing … preaching the Word of God faithfully to draw hungry souls into God’s Kingdom. Did He not promise in Isaiah 55 that when His Word goes out it shall accomplish and achieve God’s desired intention? But it must be His unadulterated Word. We may not add flavor and we may not water it down and we may not remove parts to suit society. The Word must be presented accurately to achieve the heart response God wants. Just as a spade is not a fork, neither is an edge trimmer a lawnmower and each has an intended purpose. So is God’s Word intended for a singular purpose … to convict of sin and save and to convict of sin and mature. If we want to see our lawns grow properly we use a lawnmower. If we want to see Kingdom growth we use God’s Word.

2) What method did the Jews use to achieve their goal in getting the missionaries expelled from the area? They used dirty tactics. They used pagan political and business leaders to achieve their desired end. Naturally this was based upon jealousy. The missionaries were ddoing what they could not do. Through preaching the Gospel of Jesus, which they could have found in the Old Testament and used, a Gospel flame started and spread not only in the city but throughout the region. The Jews fumed. To them this, if not halted would result in them losing their congregation. What is so sad is that if only the barnacles that blinded their eyes were removed as Paul’s (Saul) was … then they would have experienced such growth in their Church (synagogue) that they would have had to build on or plant other synagogues! But spiritually blind they were. With God’s blessings came the opposition … but this was part of God’s Word going out! It achieves its objective! The Jews could never say on Judgment Day that they did not know!

(1) Incitement. The word “incited” in verse 50 implies rebellion through stirring people up against something. Maybe the “God-fearing women” were in trade and industry where the “leading men of the city” were most likely the political leaders.

(2) Persecution. These men and women were “stirred” up … agitated … told wicked stories, just as they used blasphemous words against the Gospel Message earlier. We have seen the sway leaders can have upon people … take in Nazism, Apartheidism, Communism, Socialism and Revolutionism … and how people were and are influenced and indoctrinated and stirred up to do things they would not normally do!

(3) Expelled. Legally these political and business leaders could expel the missionaries from their region … but the Gospel seed was planted … the Church was planted … souls were saved. They might remove the speakers, but the Word of God had taken root! This is something we ought never to forget. We preach, we sow, we care and share … and we might be stopped, but the Word of God cannot be stopped! We fight an enemy who uses every dirty trick in his book to stop God’s Gospel. He might think he succeeds because a Church closes or a Church splits or a Church becomes liberal. Yet the truth is … God’s Word is secure!

Ps 119:89 Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.

Absolutely nothing can stand against God’s Word. Know this my friend … God’s Word, the Bible is inspired, inerrant, infallible and authoritative. You are to believe the Word, love the Word, obey the Word and claim the Word daily!

Father how we long to see Your Word, in the day and age in which we live, move with great power of conviction, bringing many into the sphere where the Holy Spirit can woo them safely into the Kingdom of God, for Jesus sake. Amen.

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