Acts 14 Faithfulness to Follow Christ Amidst Opposition


The Apostles had finished their work in the Antioch of Pisidia in a great storm. Can that be true, a sweet word of God, which so violently impassions men and divides quiet cities into hostile camps? It would seem as if the heavenly word would surely bring heavenly peace along with it, and seal its divinity by composing into enduring rest all controversy and discord. That is our narrow and sophistical reasoning. The Son of man came not to send peace on the earth, but a sword. Do not think that I have come to send peace on the earth; I have come to send fire. That is the idea which we have lost. Now that the Apostles have come to Iconium, they will act in a different manner. We correct ourselves by our mistakes, and thus we make today nobler than yesterday; but we find that such was not the case. There, in little beautiful Iconium, we have angry division, despiteful usage, and stoning ! How is this? There must be an explanation beneath it all, otherwise we had better let Christianity alone.

Why this propagation of a fighting faith? Why this inauguration of controversy which brings with it stoning, imprisonment, fire and blood? This is the way of Christianity. It will not let people alone. Hence we find these histories throwing some light upon Christian doctrine. It was not a little puzzle to please the fancy, nor a pyrotechnic display around which the children gathered, and which they hailed with childlike pleasure and gratification. It was something very different. Christianity is not a suggestion; there is no “If you please” in the lips of Christianity; it saves, or slays. It builds high heaven, sunlighted and eternal, or it digs deep hell, and plunges into it all wickedness and unrighteousness, all rebellion and perverse disbelief.

We are always open to suggestions if men will timidly whisper them and mealily refer to them circuitously, and in language which will admit of any number of modified interpretations; we are not the men to disdain them; but Christianity comes in and puts its foot down soundingly on the Church floor, and lifts itself up, and says, “What is this?” and then unfolds, in royal tone and noble speech, its revelation; and though smitten in the face, it lifts up a countenance, marred and broken, of indestructible beauty, and repeats the revelation which has thus been brutally received. What wonder if it came upon sleepy towns like the rushing of a thunderstorm, unparalleled, at midnight? Christianity is not a compromise; it does not come saying, “I can complete the line which you have drawn”; it does not propose to give a little and take a little, and make a quiet pacific arrangement with anybody; it comes with instruments that mean digging up and pulling down, and blowing all to pieces the proudest and strongest fortresses of man’s trust. We are always open to a compromise; we are willing to meet difficulties, and to adjust them by apparently fair and equitable concessions, but Christianity concedes nothing, admits nothing; Christianity insists upon having everything; it receives no suggestions, makes room for nothing else; it fills the whole space of the mind and heart.

If any man will live godly in Christ Jesus, he shall suffer persecution”; the persecution itself may change in form and method and tone, but righteousness can never confront unrighteousness without a battle.

Joseph Parker

Heart Preparation
Read Acts 14. Notice how the apostles were often welcomed with his hostility when they proclaimed the gospel. Are you afraid to share the gospel for fear of what others may do or say to you? Who alone should you fear?

Posted on: October 31, 2013 - 9:54PM

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