The more you rejoice in the Lord, the more you give Him a chance to fill your life with Himself.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello, friends. How are you? I wanna continue with you, if I may, in studying the Book of Acts and we’re in Chapter 13. This has been an interesting chapter. It started with a prayer meeting. It has continued through various experiences of triumph and tribulation. And now in just the ending of the chapter where we’re coming right down to the end of it now while Paul and Barnabas have been preaching, they got almost the whole city, it says, together to hear the Word of God. This is Antioch in what was then called Pisidia, and somebody got envious however, and when they saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy and spake against those things, which were spoken by Paul contradicting and blaspheming.
Well, what’s the answer to opposition? Holy boldness, not compromise but holy boldness is the answer to opposition. It says they, Paul and Barnabas, waxed bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you, but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.” Incidentally, whenever you refuse the word and the will of God, you judge yourself. Always remember that. God isn’t picking on you, but whenever you refuse his will and his word, his purpose and his love, you’re judging yourself. Well, when the Gentiles heard this, that Paul and Barnabas were gonna turn specifically to preach to them. It says they were glad and glorified that the Word of the Lord and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed, and the Word of the Lord was published throughout all the region. That’s about as far as we got the last time.
But it says but the Jews stirred up the devout and honorable women and the chief men of the city and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas and they expelled them out of their coasts. This is an interesting verse now that’s coming up, Verse 51, but it says but they shook off the dust of their feet against them and came unto Iconium. This is a switch on the old story, you know, you can’t fire me, I quit. [chuckle] What is the response? Look down here now. Now, let’s see. What is the response to opposition? More boldness. Go back in the 13th Chapter and look at this. It says when they came to Paphos, the sorcerer, Elymas the sorcerer, withstood them, what was the response to opposition there? The power of the Holy Spirit, Saul filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him and said, “O full of all subtlety and guile and so on,” and the deputy, when he saw what was done believed, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord.
The response to the opposition of Satan is the fullness of the Holy Ghost and keeping right on with the message, okay? Then the response to the opposition that’s based on envy is more boldness, more boldness. First, if the devil is opposing you, be sure you’re full of the Holy Spirit and go on, he’ll see it through. If people are envious and opposing you because of just human nature, envy and malice, it says Paul and Barnabas waxed more bold and said, okay? Now if the opposition comes because of intrigue, Verse 50, their opponents stirred up the devout and honorable women and the chief men of the city and raised persecution.
Okay. If opposition is coming because of intrigue, simply turn your back on it and keep preaching the Gospel. They shook off the dust of their feet and came unto Iconium. You are never at a loss in the face of opposition if you are in the business of obeying God. The opposition that is raised by Satan is countered by the power of the Holy Spirit. The opposition that is raised by human nature of faults like envy and malice is countered by holy boldness. The opposition that is raised by intrigue is countered by the simple ignoring of it, turn your back on it and keep on preaching God. Isn’t that great? [chuckle]
Well, try it on for size today, friend. Oh, I’ll tell you it works. Probably one of the most frustrated persons is the one who tries to answer all his critics all the time. Because as a matter of fact until he sinks into anonymity and the oblivion reserved for mediocre people, he will be doing nothing other than answering his critics. God doesn’t call us to win arguments, he calls us to win battles over the powers of evil and win souls for Jesus Christ, and that makes a great deal, believe me, a great deal of difference.
What do you suppose would be the net result of all this opposition? They’re in Antioch, while the last verse of the Acts Chapter 13 says the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Ghost. Now the proper reaction, the proper reaction to opposition is joy, not depression. Now, this is a hard lesson for me to learn because humanly, when I’m in difficult situations, I tend to get down and get discouraged, don’t you?
And yet, the Bible is categorically opposed to this human tendency. For instance, you’ll read in the Scriptures, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into different kinds of testings and temptations.” Why? Because you know that this is being done to test and strengthen your faith and that God is doing something in your life, faith, experience, hope, hope maketh not ashamed. The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. This is Paul’s progression in Romans 5.
You know that God is doing something and so Paul says wherein we greatly rejoice though now for a season if need be, we are in heaviness through manifold testings that the trial of your faith, this is Peter rather, that the trial of your faith being much more precious than of gold that perisheth might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ to whom having not seen you love in whom, though now you see him not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. So you rejoice in Christ, you rejoice in hope, you rejoice in trials, you rejoice under testings, you rejoice just because you’re told to rejoice says Paul and again I say rejoice.
Well, the normal reaction therefore, normal, not average, normal, New Testament reaction to pressure and testings is joy. Now, how do you get that way? Most of us live on such a human plane that when we’re tested we get down and discouraged and depressed. I do, do you? Well then, how do you get to this business of really rejoicing? Well, I found that the only thing that cures a depressed and discouraged mood is to tell God about it and then start to praise him, praise God. You know in the darkest of situations, there’s still a great deal that you can thank God for, isn’t it true?
So now the next time you get down and discouraged and that may be right now for some of you, the next time you get down and discouraged maybe right now, start praising the Lord for what he means to you, for what he’s done, for the way he’s blessed you, for the way he’s guided you, for the way that he’s protected you, for the way that he has answered prayers in days past, praise him for his promises, praise him for his word, praise him for his precious son, the Lord Jesus, praise him for salvation, praise him for the gift of the Holy Spirit of God, the extension of deity right into your life. Praise God and you’ll find that your mood lifts and instead of being discouraged, you are encouraged in the Lord. That’s what it means where it says David encouraged himself in the Lord his God, not in circumstances, but in God. The disciples, it says, were filled with joy.
Right in the face of opposition? Yes. When people were threatening them and expelling them? Yes. When pressure was being brought to bear from every angle? Yes. They were filled with joy. Why? Well, because they were in touch with the lord of joy. He said, these things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you and that your joy might be full. Your contact with God has to result in joy or it isn’t real, it’s ersatz, it’s bogus. If your contact with God doesn’t result in real joy, something is missing there, check on it, check on it.
The disciples were filled with joy and it says with the Holy Ghost. Because the more you rejoice in the Lord, the more you give him a chance to fill your life with himself. Joy in Christ opens the door to more control by the Holy Spirit. We are controlled by the things we enjoy. Isn’t that true? You see a person that weighs 320 pounds and you know that he enjoys eating. You see a person who is a successful ski racer or ski jumper, you know he enjoys skiing. You see a person who is a professional photographer you know that he enjoys taking pictures. Our lives are controlled by what we enjoy, right?
Okay, if you enjoy your Lord, you will find that the Holy Spirit of God is controlling your life more and yet more. That’s the simple logic of enjoying your Lord. And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Ghost. Now today, try this, put this on for size, will you? I’ve given you two things that you can put a handle on. One, how to meet opposition, meet the opposition of the devil with the power of the Holy Spirit, meet the opposition of envious people, human nature of faults like envy, malice and all the rest of it simply by more boldness in the Lord Jesus, meet the opposition of intrigue by ignoring it and turning your back on it and going ahead to preach Christ. That’s one thing you can do, how to meet opposition.
The second is how to have this tremendous experience of joy and a spirit-filled life. First of all is the learn to rejoice in God by praising Him. And second, as you rejoice in the Lord, remember that it’s what you enjoy that controls your life. The Holy Spirit of God can control your life and your personality, that’s great truth, isn’t it? Okay, try it on for size today, and see whether you don’t find it real in your life, as well.
Now, let’s pray together. Dear Father, as the day goes on, may we be conscious of Thy nearness, Thy presence, Thy power, Thy love and I ask in the name of the Lord Jesus, amen. Amen. God bless you, dear friend, all the way. That’s all for now.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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