The title I just want to share this with you was put on my heart this past weekend during my study about the early church. I’ve been studying the book of Acts for the last four weeks and the Holy Spirit led me to go back and re-read a couple of the chapters. The book of Acts was never one that I got into studying before, but I’m so glad that I got into it.
Many scholars call this book the Acts of the Holy Spirit. It’s so fitting because there is so much focus on the power, filling, and work of the Holy Spirit.
It’s unfortunate that the body is divided because some chose to cherry pick scriptures from Acts and teach things like we must be baptized and speak in tongues in order to be saved.
This is why the way we interpret scriptures and their context is very important. When interpreted correctly (although we may differ on some things) it should bring us closer in love. When interpreted incorrectly it divides the body of Christ.
Foundational doctrine and truths such as what is the gospel, how we’re saved, if Jesus is God, and the belief in the triune Godhead (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) shouldn’t be compromised. This would mean at the core that we don’t share the same beliefs.
Sadly, when we do believe the same things, we are still divided in the body of Christ. The early church was not like this. They moved in unity. Even when there were things that needed to be explained and cleared up, they worked together to get to the truth. They didn’t have New Testament scriptures like we do now.
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As professing believers, we are not standing with one another as Christ instructs. Politics, race, and our opinions should not divide us if we are studying the same truth. We are to be connected and united with the head—which is our faith in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We were all once sinners destined to eternal separation from God, but Jesus Christ changed the narrative of that story through his finished work of salvation. This makes not one of us superior above the other.
The Pharisees felt otherwise. They thought they were something special. They were vicious people that were certainly united in their cause to deny the deity of the Messiah and kill all who believed in Him. They never took the time to learn the truth. They were too prideful to accept being wrong.
In their pride they cut themselves off from the only ONE that could save them. Can’t you see why God hates pride?
Throughout the new testament it is important to note how often we see the Pharisee’s trying to kill people that don’t go along with their doctrine of law and traditions of men. They did it to our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ—the Messiah, and the world will continue to do it to us.
This is why we should make every effort to clear up conflict that divides us from the body of Christ. When united we can be strong just like the early church.
The apostle Paul was from this vicious Pharisee sect and succeeded at persecuting the early church.
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In his years of being a so called perfect law obeying Jew, he thought that he was in the right. Clearly there was much error in his doctrine as he didn’t see the Messiah in his self-righteousness. His passion for killing those that loved and believed in Jesus grew until he was literally thrown off his high horse and arrested with the grace of Christ on the road to Damascus. He then believed, became saved, and grew in wisdom (Acts 9).
The commentary I’m currently studying Be Dynamic-Acts 1-12 (The BE Series Commentary) by Warren Wiersbe, stated this, Saul tarried with the believers in Damascus and no doubt learned from them…He discovered that they were loving people, underserving of the persecution he had inflicted on them, and that they knew the truth of God’s Word and only wanted to share it with others.
Wow! Can you imagine how Saul (whom later became Paul) felt once he learned how his actions tortured innocent people that only wanted to share the truth about King Jesus? They were passionate about the truth and were doing what God wanted them to do and they were executed for it.
Stephen, the first martyr in the faith, spoke with such grace and elegance. He only wanted to share the good news too. Scholars note that Paul (formerly Saul) was at the front line ordering the hit/stoning against Stephen. This speaks of the ranking Paul had in the sect of these vicious vipers.
Soulfuls, I only want to share what God wants me to share with you—that’s it!
My intent is never to bring harm to you. This ministry was created as an additional resource to what you are already doing to grow your relationship with the Lord.
It does not mean I know everything; it simply means that I share what the Holy Spirit wants me to share.
That’s why it’s important that I operate under the direction of the Spirit opposed to my own flesh.
Acts 9:21-22 NIV says, All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.
As for Paul, he took to the truth. He ran with it and nothing was going to stop him. His new assignment (spread the gospel to the Gentiles) was a big one and God wanted him in that position (Acts 9:15). The blood of the Lamb transformed him from chief sinner to a lover of souls. He would now suffer for the name of Christ.
Acts 9:23-24 NIV says, After many days had gone by, there was a conspiracy among the Jews to kill him, but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him.
As with any good thing, the devil wants nothing more to destroy it and keep you from learning the truth. Soon Paul would be sought out to be killed by the very Pharisee’s he used to roll with. How tragic!
All he wanted to do was share the truth with the lost.
You will face opposition when you walk in the light. This demonstrates that you are walking the right path. This resistance (while simply sharing the truth of the Word of God with someone) is going to happen because the devil is working to keep it from penetrating the hearer’s soul. So, don’t stop keep going strong.
The sign of a true saint is we don’t get violent when it comes to what we believe. We may get annoyed and passionate when trying to share the faith with someone that wants to be irate—but we don’t get violent.
We just want to share the truth. If people do not receive it, we dust ourselves off. This walk won’t be easy just because you believe in the Christ. The Bible speaks of how we will be persecuted too.
Get your strength from God. He will give you everything you need to stay in the fight.
Stop tearing down the other when we disagree on doctrine.
Stay consistent in your study.
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