Read: Acts 21
Doing the will of God takes courage.
There is often a misconception associated with Christianity that nothing bad ever happens to Christians on earth. If things are going wrong, then God must be mad at us. That is not what we see in Acts 21 though. Paul was doing the will of the Lord and sinful people hated him and beat him.
We see in our passage today how Paul is determined to go to Jerusalem, even though people are telling him what will happen if he goes (v. 10-12). Paul arrives in Jerusalem, visits James, and performs a Jewish rite of purification. He then goes to the Temple, gets accused of false accusations (v. 28), gets beaten (v. 30-32), and then gets arrested (v. 33).
What sticks out to me: the accusations of the people in Jerusalem were false. First, they accused Paul of bringing a Gentile into the Temple (v. 29), when in reality, the guy was just walking with Paul in the city. Second, there was no clear reason amongst the people as to why they were beating him (v. 34a).
What I think we can learn from this is that Satan is going to do whatever he can to stop the advancement of the Gospel. He will rouse up sinful people to disgrace the name of Jesus. But here is the good news, Satan won’t win. In China, one of the most persecuted places for Christians, the Gospel is exploding. People are coming to know Jesus in the midst of difficult earthly circumstances. The Christians there understand what it means to take up your cross daily and follow Jesus.
I pray that our church would be filled with people who are courageous in doing the will of the Lord. It may get difficult. It may cause problems. But Jesus is worth it.
How are you being courageous to do the will of God?
By: Brice Stockton
Good word today Brice! Suffering for our faith is something many American Christians have never experienced and don’t understand. Millions enter comfortable worship centers each Sunday, hear the sermon, sing praise music, and then leave expecting to do the same thing in another 7 days. Brice, you are absolutely right about the persecution in China and the millions coming to know Jesus. Tina and I have some dear friends who served as missionaries in China for 25 years. They held secular jobs while growing and encouraging new believers in an underground church. The government became suspicious of their activities and they were expelled from the country several years ago. They are continuing their work in China from the US and report that Christianity is flourishing.
Persecution for the church will grow more intense as the return of the Lord draws closer. I’m convinced a period of suffering is coming for American Christians and I pray we are ready for the challenge. Our culture is changing rapidly and becoming more hostile to the truth of God’s word each year. The foundational biblical beliefs we hold dear are considered “hate speech” to some. I’m glad to be part of a church like CPC that boldly proclaims the Gospel and is preparing warriors for the battle that lies ahead.
I love this chapter! It shows the heart of the church. It’s such a privilege to be a part of this family - the church of Jesus Christ!
Philippians 1:29: For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him
I pray that believers will always remember this, no matter how bad it gets. It is a privilege to suffer for Christ. So many things are happening in this country that I never thought possible. I believe there is a potential for the cultural attitudes towards Christ followers to get increasingly dangerous. We need to be prepared for what is to come.
Please, precious heavenly Father, strengthen us and help us to hold you more dear than anything.