Year 2 Day 82
Read - Acts 21v27-36
Message - Scott Woodburn
The prophet Agabus had not lied. His word was true. He warned Paul that a visit to Jerusalem would end up with his imprisonment. It began with Jews from Asia recognising Paul and immediately stirring up the crowd. They said “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who is teaching everyone everywhere against the people and the law and this place. Moreover, he even brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.” (v28)
They had assumed (incorrectly) that Paul had brought Trophimus the Ephesian into the temple with him. For many Paul was a disgrace, trampling all over the traditions of the past. To use a name familiar in certain quarters of Northern Ireland, Paul was a Lundy. He was once a true blue Jew but had turned his back on the faith and it seemed he was now seeking to destroy Judaism.
The city was in chaos as a result of Paul’s presence and many sought to seize him and kill him (v30-31). Thankfully the Roman tribune heard the news and sent his men to stop the beating of Paul. Yet the crowd was so violent that the soldiers had to carry Paul into the barracks as his opponents shouted “away with him” (v36).
Such anger and such fury. Where does it come from? In Paul’s day, as ours, there are unseen spiritual forces who rage against the church of Christ. All it took in Jerusalem was the presence of Paul who was held up as the poster boy of anti Jewish sentiment. Soon a crowd had gathered fully prepared to beat Paul to death.
Brothers and sisters we must always be on guard against the enemy. In the history of own fellowship of Edengrove the congregation once split over a minister and pews were ripped up and used as weapons against one another. On a lesser scale we’ve all heard slanderous gossip and we’ve sighed when we’ve heard about the turmoils in other fellowships.
All of this finds its source in sin and Satan. Paul would warn “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6v12)
Most of us (praise God) will never experience aggressive mobs or warring fellowships but all of us must be prepared to work hard for the peace and unity of the church of Jesus Christ. We can be sure of Satan’s hatred of the church but we can be sure too that if we resist him, he will flee from us (James 4v7)
The Jerusalem crowd wanted nothing of Christ and to do away with Paul. Our cry is different. To Satan we shout “away with you!” and in our souls we cry “we want to see Jesus!” (John 12v21)
We must decrease.
Christ must increase.
May it be so in our church.
Q87 What is repentance unto life? Repentance unto life is a saving grace, whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, doth, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God, with full purpose of, and endeavor after, new obedience.