It’s possible for a few discontented people to contaminate, to infect with their discontentment many other hearts, and thus reap a harvest of unhappiness.
Alright, thank you very much. And here we go again on fourteen-and-a-half minutes of some very sweet fellowship around the Word of God. Some of the sweetest fellowship this side of Heaven is that which we enjoy when we get together around His Word. Isn’t it true? The way to get along with people is to get together with them on the basis of God’s Word. Have you ever thought about that? Try it out.
Acts chapter 14. “It came to pass in Iconium.” Now they’ve come to this new town, they left Antioch, they came to Iconium. “They went both together.” That’s Paul and Barnabas, “into the synagogue, and so spake that a great multitude, both of Jews and Greeks believed. But the unbelieving stirred up the Gentiles and made their minds evil affected against the brethren. Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands. But the multitude of the city was divided, part held with the Jews and part with the apostles. And when there was an assault made, both of the Gentiles and also the Jews with their rulers to use them despitefully and to stone them, they were aware of it and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and unto the region that lies round about, and there they preached the Gospel.”
Okay, let’s look at this passage, shall we? It came to pass into Iconium that they went both together. They are still working together. Remember the value of togetherness, will you? One shall chase 1,000, but two shall put 10,000 to flight. The ratio there is 10 times as much power comes when you’re linked up with a praying buddy, co-worker. They went both together. Peter and John together, going into the temple at the hour of prayer. The disciples were all together, they were gathered together to pray. They were together on the day of Pentecost, they were together in their witness. This is one of the keywords of the Book of Acts. Look for yourself and see how often it is used, especially in the early chapters of Acts, okay? Remember to work with people, will you? You can do so much more with people, praying with them, believing God with them, working with them, and weeping with them. You can do so much more with people than just lone wolfing it by yourself. And it says, “They so spake that a great multitude, both of Jews and Greeks believed, but the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and made their minds evil affected against the brethren.”
Now, remember that you will always have some who say yes to Christ and others who say no. And those who say no to Christ inevitably are going to focus their unbelief on you, because the only object that they can focus upon is you. They can’t reach the Lord Jesus to oppose Him, but because He dwells within you, because He controls your life, you become the focus of their opposition. Learn, therefore, not to take this personally. You know, that’s a wonderful lesson to learn. It takes you off the hook emotionally in a wonderful way. When people oppose you because they are unbelievers or because they are carnal people or because they simply will have nothing to do with God and His work and His will, just remember that they aren’t picking on you because they dislike you personally, so much as it is that they have no other object upon which to focus their dislike for the Lord Jesus. And if you just remember that, it keeps you from feeling sorry for yourself and enables you to be more consistently bold for the Lord Jesus.
Okay, now what did they do? They didn’t quit. It’s says long time therefore, I don’t know how long a time it is, but it was quite a while. If the Bible says a long time, it’s a long time. They kept on quite a while and lived there speaking boldly in the Lord and God backed them up. It says he gave testimony unto the Word of His grace and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands. Now, you don’t have a record of miracle in some of these other places. There’s no record of miracle in Antioch of Pisidia, for instance. And in some of the other places where Paul and Barnabas went, there isn’t any record of miracle. There was one however, in Lystra, and we’ll get at that in a little while. The impotent man that was healed, but in certain places and in certain times, God specially implemented His Word by, it says he gave testimony to the Word of His grace. In other words, He backed it up and granted, signs and wonders to be done by their hands.
Now, the question is, when should you expect a miracle and when should you be content not to have one? And the answer is, leave that with God, leave that with God. A person who is full of the Holy Spirit will know what God wants him to do at any given moment. You may not know what God wants you to do 10 years from now, but a person full of the Holy Spirit will know what God wants him to do at any given moment, and God reserves the right, therefore, to back up what you say with the necessary power to make it credible. There is no credibility gap with spirit-filled people. There is often a great credibility gap with earnest Christian workers who are not spirit-filled. You end up not quite believing what they say. But for a person who is full of the Holy Spirit, God reserves the right to do whatever is necessary to ensure the credibility of what is being said. In some cases, as in this one, He’ll back it up with signs and wonders. In other cases, He will simply add the power to the words that are being said, so they fall into the hearts of hearers with a tremendous God-given impact.
Now, don’t you and I take upon ourselves the responsibility for saying when God is gonna do the unusual. Just be ready for it. The disciples said, “Why could not we cast out the demon?” He said, “Because of your unbelief, albeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” You’ve gotta get ready for God to work. Be ready for God to work in an unusual manner any time. Expect Him, however, always to back up your spirit-filled witness for Jesus Christ. How God implements it is up to Him, but it will always be true that He backs you up, that He makes your word credible. People will know that you’re saying the truth. And they’ll say, as did the woman to the prophet so long ago, she said, “Now, I know that the Word of the Lord in thy mouth is truth.” This was said to Elijah, and he’d been living in her house for a year as a guest. And she knew, because there was a miracle which introduced them initially, the miracle of the stretching, you may say, of that little bit of a flour and that little bit of oil. And God provided for their food for all of this time, a miracle sustenance. She had seen this but then there came the crowning evidence, and she says, “Now, I know that the Word of the Lord in thy mouth is truth.”
God will see to it that people who watch you and me and who listen to us will say, “I know God is speaking through those lips.” The Lord implements your testimony and makes it credible. Expect Him to do that today if your life is filled with His Holy Spirit. Now, if you’re still fighting God about something and the war has never been settled between your poor carnal heart and God, get that done today. Yield to your blessed Lord until you know that your whole life is under His control, and that the spirit of God has perfect entrée into every room in your heart house, so to speak, and then watch Him implement what you have to say to people with the power of the Holy Spirit. Now, notice the progression both of good and evil. In verse one it says a great multitude, both of Jews and Greeks believed, but the unbelieving stirred up the Gentiles, made their minds evil affected. Well, in spite of that, the apostles kept right on, giving testimony into the Word of God’s grace, signs and wonders were done by their hands, but now it says the multitude of the city was divided.
A few people, in verse two, who were disobedient and unbelieving, have now made certain that there’s a harvest of discontent and unbelief in a whole city. Likewise, a few people who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ have found others who also believe on Christ. And then the next progression of evil is an assault, where there was an assault made by Gentiles and Jews with their rulers to use them despitefully and to stone them. And it says they fled to Lystra and Derbe and so on. Now, be warned about this and also be encouraged. First, be warned in realizing that what the writer to the Hebrews calls a “root of bitterness” spring up and thereby many be defiled. It’s possible for a few discontented people to contaminate, to infect with their discontent many other hearts, and thus reap a harvest of unhappiness. Grumbling is contagious.
Judas Iscariot grumbled about the sacrificial gift that Mary brought, the alabaster box. And he grumbled and he said, “Why was not this ointment sold for 300-pence and given to the poor?” This he said not because he cared for the poor but because he carried the bag and dipped into the till. That’s a liberal reading of the original text there. But here’s the key, here’s the key phrase; after he got through grumbling, it says, likewise also said they all, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. How about that, you know?” Unbelief is contagious. These people started with a few unbelieving people, they got half of the city following them in unbelief.
Now, you have your choice, ladies and gentlemen. Today, whether you’re going to spread the contagion of unbelief, or whether you are going to spread the blessing of faith, either one can be spread by you. Which is it going to be? Is it gonna be the contagion of unbelief, or is it gonna be the blessing of faith? You make up your mind today which it will be, and I trust that every one of us listening will be the kind of person who transmits the blessing of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Let God’s blessings flow through you today.
Now, let’s pray. Dear Father, make us the kind of people who spread blessing today. I ask in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, 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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