When this author was growing up, it was a different era. Men wore short hair and didn’t wear earrings. Women typically tried to be modest and were embarrassed if even their slip was showing. On the Dick Van Dyke Show, Rob and Laura were shown sleeping in separate beds, not naked or having sex. In the media, profanity was not used, people of Christian faith were portrayed in a good light, morality was extolled, and homosexuality was not constantly promoted. Over the years, our nation has deviated far from godly principles. This was evidenced during a 2004 Super Bowl appearance, when Janet Jackson had her breast exposed at halftime. Things have become so wicked that most of us can say, “Nothing surprises me any more.”
When Paul was arrested in Jerusalem for proclaiming Christ, he had to be put into protective custody by Roman officials. The chief priests and elders, who were supposed to lead the people into godliness, bound themselves with a curse to eat or drink nothing until they had slain Paul (Acts 23:14). Worse yet, they conspired to lie to the Roman guard by asking to question Paul for clarity-but they intended to take him by force (vss. 15-21). Nothing should surprise us about how low unsaved men would go to thwart Paul from proclaiming eternal life through the Lord Jesus Christ. There had been a long pattern of outrageous sinful behavior everywhere Paul went. Contrary to the law, the high priest commanded his men to smite Paul on the mouth (Acts 23:1-3). The Jews falsely accused Paul of teaching against Israel, the Mosaic Law, the temple, and polluting the temple by bringing in a Gentile (21:26-30). The Jews “spake evil” of Paul’s discourse when he documented for them in Scripture God’s overall plan of bringing a divine rule to the world through His promised Messiah (19:8-9). While in Thessalonica, when Paul proclaimed that Scripture specified “…Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again….the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort…and set all the city on an uproar” (17:2- 5). Paul had seen it all: lies, misrepresentations, threats, conspiracies, refusal to listen to Scripture, and multiple attempts on his life.
Dear believer, nothing should surprise you when Satan opposes your efforts to share salvation as a pure gift of God’s grace through faith alone. Expect it. No matter what, don’t be discouraged or silenced. As Paul did, keep on giving out the gospel. Some will still believe.
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