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SAYING IS BELIEVING
"Some of them were won over and joined ranks with Paul and Silas, among them a great many God-fearing Greeks and a considerable number of women from the aristocracy. But the hard-line Jews became furious over the conversions. Mad with jealousy, they rounded up a bunch of brawlers off the streets and soon had an ugly mob terrorising the city as they hunted down Paul and Silas.
"They broke into Jason's house, thinking that Paul and Silas were there. When they couldn't find them, they collared Jason and his friends instead and dragged them before the city fathers, yelling hysterically, 'These people are out to destroy the world, and now they've shown up on our doorstep, attacking everything we hold dear! And Jason is hiding them, these traitors and turncoats who say Jesus is king and Caesar is nothing!" Acts 17:4-7 (The Message).
They're at it again! The unbelieving Jews seem to have been tarred with the same brush the world over. Were the Thessalonian Jews infected by those coming from other centres that had already heard and reacted against Paul and Silas, or was this a fresh wave of persecution? These European Jews appear to be just as hard-hearted as the ones in Israel and Asia Minor.
They didn't want to get their hands dirty, so they hid behind the street hooligans and relied on them to cook up lies and get the city fathers' backs up against Paul and Silas while they stood watching in the background. There was no truth and no conscience in the accusations and behaviour of the mob. Since Paul and Silas were not available to face the music, they grabbed the first people they could find to victimise with their lying hysteria.
This is the typical modus operandi of the devil -- turn up as much heat as possible so that people are not interested in the light. It was through experiences like these that Paul was able to understand and write about Satan's tactics and teach his beloved converts how to deal with him. He recognised that, behind the trouble he experienced from unbelievers, both Jews and Gentiles, was an unseen, sinister enemy who was out to destroy both him and his work because he was allied to the God whom the devil hates.
The devil's language is lies and his method is deception. Jesus called him 'a liar and the father of lies,' and that was no libellous indictment. Those who are under his influence because they refuse to believe and receive the truth are themselves subject to the lies with which he infiltrates their minds.
The big problem is that those who speak out lies actually believe what they are saying is true because they are saying it. This happens in politics. Representatives of government make grandiose statements and then believe them simply because they have said it. This happens in my country. Anyone with half a brain laughs at some of the claims made, knowing very well that there is no substance to them but, at the same time. knowing that the speaker thinks that, because he or she has made the statement, that makes it true.
How are we to counter these attacks? Paul had learned that it was not his role to fight. The war has already been won. Jesus exposed and defeated the devil on the cross. Our weapon and defence is the truth.
Lies have no substance and cannot endure. It is the truth that prevails over lies. As soldiers in the army of God, we have only one instruction, "Stand!" We are to hold our position, standing on and protected by the truth. By submitting ourselves to God's word and His authority, we put the devil to flight since he cannot take God on and win. If we stand on and believe the truth we are indestructible because "the word of the Lord endures forever."
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