In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life
in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
(2 Timothy 3:12)
“The church needs to be shut down and closed,” and so it was.
As had been made clear for years the congregation had refused time and again to repent of making me their Holy Spirit.
Thus, the Lord directed that each member go and find another church.
The results of such discipline from the Lord was as one would expect. Mixed.
A few repented and sought God more eagerly.
A few more just faded off into the background.
A few more, as is no shock to the godly saints who follow God, turned angry and bitter. Decades later these few would be used by Seattle’s slave-Christian Prosecutors to exploit as “evidence” that was completely unrelated to an actual crime.
The biblical example of this is found in the book of Acts. You know, that book everyone should be living because it is called the book of A-c-t-s.
One persecution many will face if they let God make them holy is found in Acts 14. So heads up and do not let it silence your living and sharing the Full Message of the gospel.
As we will see this example is also why so many select special scriptures or partial gospels to be preached these days.
Partial gospels are preached because those who proclaim them will never become gods that are stoned. Such can remain as gods but never face the possibility of being stoned unless they fall into great sin.
Here we see Paul preaching and living with power the full gospel message. His good life and powerful deeds done by the grace of God are witnessed by all. While not all will perform miracles all who obey God’s voice will be given the Holy Spirit which will manifest itself with God-given wisdom, God-given holiness, and God-inspired holy actions. When such individuals remain holy, only doing what God’s will is, this will often not conform to the wishes of those around them.
When things turn sour by those multi-level marketing hatred both Paul who did a miracle and Barnabas who did not do miracles will share equally in the persecution because their holiness is from God.
In short, the people looked up to Paul and Barnabas even calling them both “gods” yet later would stone them to death because they would not be the preachers they wanted them to be or declare what they desired to hear. Indeed, I am well familiar with persecution because I do not teach what is acceptable but my “tone” is also an object of objection. All who follow hard after Jesus will face the same.
Since I was held in high esteem by some those who when giving court testimony declared they gave up being a Christian because it was “too difficult” and would “rather go to hell” spread the slander that I thought I was someone special.
King County Prosecutors would then prey upon this lie by asking others, “Does Timothy Williams have a special relationship with God no one else can have?” There were so many outrageous lies declared by governmental officials I will be here all day long listing them. So let us move on.
What is important is that if I did not claim to be someone special I would not now be persecuted. Praising men and women happens all the time on all levels of society. Indeed, King County Prosecutors consider themselves to be on a special “holy mission.” And I just quoted them.
Not only did I and even now not claim anything special, but like Paul and Barnabas will tear my clothes, going out of my way to prove I am nothing special. I live and fully believe because the sufferings of the cross have thoroughly convinced me of what I wrote in the book Insanity in the Church – I am no one special.
Alright all ready, here is the point. Because Paul and Barnabas demonstrated by the tearing of their clothing that they are not gods they will be stoned and left for dead at a later date.
Whether a pastor’s congregation is healthy in the Lord or not, there will always be some who leave or are rightly driven away that stir up hatred against the true humility of the Lord in a person’s life.
Satan has plenty of individuals and “discernment” ministries that he can prompt to persecute those humble in the church.
And make no mistake about that, unclean spirits whisper hatred into many a willing ear. To one degree or another all who are given the grace to be humble will be persecuted. Prepare yourself today in God’s grace for such opposition.
As Paul and Barnabas found out it is a difficult matter to keep individuals from viewing you as someone special.
Paul and Barnabas demonstrated they are all too human while pointing to God’s goodness it is said they still found it “difficult” to stop the adoration.
Paul and Barnabas attempted to direct everyone’s attention to the basic everyday goodness of God so that while eating and drinking they would think only of God’s greatness. As a side note warning consider that many a ministry that preaches only sections of scripture often exploit their many miracles to gain a following. Be on guard.
They, Paul and Barnabas, preached: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.
Such preaching and lowliness of spirit is going to cost Paul and Barnabas dearly. Had they accepted the praise then the town could also be proud of themselves. Paul and Barnabas by rejecting the praise of men were demonstrating that all men must humble themselves and reject the pride of man. This aspect of the gospel the town just will not accept.
This is no false humility that lifts them up while they act aw-shucks about the praise from the worldly and spiritually immature.
This is true humility given by the Holy Spirit that will end in them being dragged outside the city, stoned, and left for dead.
Talk about losing your congregation. Many an honest pastor in the godliness of the Lord will testify on the Great Day to being dragged outside their congregation, rejected by the city’s ministers alliance, and stoned. As Jesus said: Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. (Luke 6:22)
If you find yourself in such excluded company because the Holy Spirit has blessed you by turning you from your pride, rejoice in the Lord you are in good company.
Stoning Their Gods
How strange congregations can get …and fast.
One moment they are ready to call you gods, and in the next several days they will stone you for not letting you idolize them. Men and women will adore the false-humility of Seattle’s King County Prosecutors but will pronounce guilty upon a pastor that walks in the true humility of Jesus. (I was never charged with a crime. King County Prosecutors performed a proxy-prosecution because like out-of-control-prosecutors across the United States they believe the lie that the ends justifies the means. Evidence is clear and overwhelming the guilty verdict was against me, not the person on trial. see www.justicealone.org)
At least in Paul and Barnabas’ day the “discernment ministries” had to travel from other towns to cause trouble. Now with the Internet mobs, persecutors and “discernment ministries” can form and act with evil in seconds. Indeed, like Seattle’s King County Washington Prosecutors they can advertise for liars to help in their prosecutions through news outlets day after day. There is a reason prosecutors never prosecute liars that help them. However holiness is not one of the reasons.
As a Christian if you live and declare the Full Message of The Truth the reality is everyone including yourself will be offended. Some of the offended will attempt to drive you out of town rather than give up their pride in Zeus or Hermes.
So we read an old, old story that Paul faced again and again. Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over.
The end result was their little stones of scripture quoting and spreading false reports resulted in destruction of Paul’s labors. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead.
If you desire to be a preacher ask God to strengthen you by making you weak and dependent on His power because you are going to need it! If you expect to be able to carry on without giving up then you will desperately need the perseverance of Jesus.
If you desire to persevere in the self-less love of God you have need to beg God for it now because you will be tempted to hold back the Full Message so as not to be persecuted.
Pray with Paul the following scripture if you dare to have any hope to carry on in spite of such severe opposition.
How many there are who just do not like being told that what, or who they worship is “worthless.” Whether that be “worthless” idols such as Hermes or Zeus or a “worthless” way of life few rejoice in the Truth.
Seems everyone has to be told it is good news that they must repent, turn from doing their own thing, unbelieving their pet doctrines and to leave behind worthless idols such as false humility, pride, and an unclean destructive life.
Such is the darkness of sin that we have to be told that what is being declared really is good news. Paul and Barnabas will state in desperation: We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them. In the past, he let all nations go their own way.
Opposition from those whom you preached to and opposition from old enemies who follow you around refining and hardening their skills to stir up a city against you will very much require the love and perseverance of Jesus to keep on preaching and living the Full Good News Message.
May the Lord direct your hearts into
God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.
(2 Thessalonians 3:5)
Those who walk now in their perseverance and love will find God’s power lifting them up even if they are left for dead. You will find yourself like Paul and Barnabas getting back up, shaking the dust off your clothes, ignoring the pain from being stoned, and going on to the next city to preach the gospel and suffer all things for the elect. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. (2 Timothy 2:10) They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.
How very sad it is. If our “gods” do not preach what we want to hear, be what we want them to be, and conform to what our idolizing mind and hearts desire, we will drag them out of our cities and stone them.
With merciless anger we will throw stones in hot anger, make sure they cannot meet any longer as a church, and only feel satisfied if they are left for dead.
Truly sinful man will stone their gods if such fail their expectations.
If anyone does not love the Lord–a curse be on him.
Come, O Lord ! (1 Corinthians 16:22)
He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed and called out, “Stand up on your feet!”
At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.
When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!”
Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker. The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them.
But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting: “Men, why are you doing this? We too are only men, human like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them. In the past, he let all nations go their own way. Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.”
Even with these words, they had difficulty keeping the crowd from sacrificing to them.
Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe. (Acts 14:8-20)