“The word of the Lord spread through the whole region. But the Jewish leaders 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. So they shook the dust off their feet as a warning to them and went to Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 13:49-52
Hello friends and I hope your new year is off to a good start! I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you about a Biblical truth that the Gospel is disruptive! I’m not sure if you realize it but not everyone wants to hear the God’s great news. That’s what this Scripture illustrates for us and it’s also what I talk about in my new series “The Disruptive Gospel: A Study of Paul’s Letter to the Galatians” available on Facebook and YouTube. You can check out the first two episodes of that study right now. Today, many people look at the “good news of Jesus” as a warm fuzzy message that helps you feel good about yourself. While the Gospel certainly does make us feel better, the Bible portrays quite a different picture of our experiences in this world. The words we just read from Acts 13 describe the regular experience of Paul, the early church and even Jesus as they brought the good news to new communities. Guess what happened nearly every time? You guessed right. They were persecuted. This specific episode in Acts describes their adventures in Pisidian Antioch of a region known as Galatia in modern day Turkey. In fact, Paul and his traveling companions were fiercely persecuted at nearly every single city they visited including a place called Lystra where he was stoned, drug outside the city and left for dead (See Acts 14:8-20). That’s why I chose to look at Paul’s letter to the Galatians in my new video series. There Paul says, “I am astonished that you are so quickly … turning to a different gospel – which is really no gospel at all” (Galatians 1:6-7). From start to finish, the gospel disrupted Paul’s life. It disrupted his plans to persecute the church. It disrupted his ability to be normal. It disrupted his relationships with the Jews. It disrupted his reputation in the eyes of Gentile leaders. It disrupted his understanding of what it means to be successful. Most notably, it disrupted entire communities when Paul preached it. Wow! What on earth are we preaching today?! This is not at all a rebuke as much as it is an encouragement to life as God intended it. Preach the Gospel and don’t be afraid of what this world may take from you. Paul wasn’t afraid. Sure. The gospel will disrupt your conveniences. But in the end you will gain Christ and be the kind of difference-maker this world and your community so desperately needs. Have a great Sunday!
Have you ever felt like God was telling you to do something that would be seen as controversial in the eyes of others? How did you respond?
Have you ever looked at the Gospel as controversial? Why or why not?
What can you do to be more obedient to God in terms of taking a stand for Jesus and making a difference in the world?