Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: ANNOYED (04/05/18)
TITLE: Be Moved and Speak
By Raymond Bouchoc
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About two months passed from the time Jesus had risen from the dead until the events found in Acts 4. Life returned to normal for most people. Jesus had been crucified, and, so, He no longer caused a ruckus everywhere He went. Nevertheless, rumors circulated that made the leaders of Israel uneasy. As days turned into weeks, however, the rumors did not slip into quietness. Instead, they exploded with a fury that twisted in the hearts of those leaders in their rejection of Jesus.
The day of Pentecost had come, and the disciples preached with a fervor and authority they did not possess before. The Spirit of God moved on the hearts of thousands to follow Jesus, and the control the leaders thought they had dissipated before their eyes, like vapor rising from boiling water.
To make matters worse for the leaders, Peter and John performed a miracle as they went into the temple, healing a lame man. As people crowded around to see, they preached about Jesus, yet again.
Agitated, the leaders arrested Peter and John. In Acts 4:2, it says that the leaders were “greatly disturbed” (NKJV). The Greek word behind this translation, used here and one other place in the New Testament, means that they were burdened and provoked by the actions of Peter and John.
The leaders, refusing to take to heart the message of the gospel, felt its impact as it cut them to their hearts. It didn’t matter what the disciples did after that, the feelings Jesus stirred within them resurfaced through the ministry of the disciples.
Expect a response from the sharing of the gospel. Some people may respond positively. Praise the Lord for positive responses. Narrow is the way that leads to salvation, however, and, more often than not, the response will be negative. Jesus said to expect this, “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also” (John 15:20, NKJV).
The leaders took note of the disciples, because they boldly vocalized the word. If they had been quiet, the leaders would not have been irritated with them. The louder the message is proclaimed, the greater the response will be.
With threats, the leaders commanded Peter and John not to preach in the name of Jesus again. Peter responded with that great verse Christians should take to heart when sharing Jesus, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge” (Acts 4:19, NKJV).
While unbelievers may get irritated with believers sharing the gospel, believers can get annoyed, too. In Acts 16, it was Paul who shared the gospel. A sorceress latched herself onto Paul and Silas, following them around and crying out, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation” (Acts 16:17, NKJV). On the surface, what great advertisement!
Even though the words were true enough, the spirit in which the sorceress spoke conflicted with the ministry of God’s Spirit. After this went on for several days, Paul finally had enough, “…Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, ‘I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.’ And he came out that very hour” (Acts 16:18, NKJV).
For the second time in the NT, the Greek word here translated “annoyed” occurs. While normally a negative word in Greek and English, the irritation and anger conveyed by it served as a proper response by Paul. The world may become annoyed at the Christian for sharing his faith, but the Christian should likewise be irritated and angered by the sin of the world and by the spiritual forces that stand opposed to God.
So, Christian, look at what is happening in the world around you. Be moved against the sin and against the animosity towards God. Rise and speak, even though the world may not like it. Speak with conviction, yet with love and compassion. Speak.
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