Okay, I just wanted to share this mind-blowing thought process that I’ve been noticing/thinking about alot lately. (Well, it has at least been making my mind blow with thoughts/applications/etc. 😉 xD) It’s just so incredibly, wonderfully amazing how much God has for us in His Word! And when He continues to reveal more and more to us, it’s just such an amazing and precious thing. (Most of the time I wonder how I couldn’t have noticed these things before…but I guess that God knows best, and He chooses to show us these things in HIS perfect timing! 😁)
Okay, so….where do I even start? I guess I should probably start with the verse (well actually the phrase) that started this whole train of thought.
5 But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.
6 And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also;Acts 17:5-6
Okay, you may be wondering why I find these two verses so amazing. But go back and read thru them again, slowly. And take special note of that last phrase.
Wow. Think about that for a second!
“These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also.”
Who is talking in this phrase, and who are they talking about? Well, if you go back to the verses above for context, you’ll see that the people who said this were “the Jews which believed not”, and they were talking about “Jason and certain brethren.” Sooo…this was the unbelievers describing the Believers!!
Think about that! The unbelievers described the Christians as the ones who turned the world upside down. How much of an impact do you think these early Christians must have had on their culture to be described as turning the world upside down?! They were so on fire for Jesus, so passionate about their faith, that they couldn’t contain it inside of them. They let it spill out to everyone around them, so much so, that the unbelievers no longer felt comfortable in the world around them! The Christians were destroying their sense of comfort in their sins by brining the light of Jesus to drive away the darkness. And the unbelievers hated them for this.
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.~John 3:19-20
But what an amazing testimony this is! That the Believers were so diligent in spreading Christ that those who did not believe described them as turning their world upside down!
Could the modern American church be described this way?
For the most part, no. I don’t think that most of the American “Christians” would be described by the culture as “turning the world upside down.”
But why not?
Let’s go look at another passage that will help us answer this question.
41 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.
42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.~Acts 5:41-42
Look at that!!!
This is talking about the disciples. This was right after they were put into prison for preaching Jesus. Right after they were let go with the warning “Don’t speak in the name of Jesus.” And not long before this was when they had boldly declared “We ought to obey God rather than men.” These disciples were being persecuted for preaching in the name of Jesus! And what was their response? ‘Okay, we won’t preach Jesus anymore’?
Look at those verses again! After all this, they left rejoicing that they were counted WORTHY to suffer for Jesus! And did they stop there?! No!! They STILL went about and ceased not to preach Jesus! They didn’t let persecution stop them!!!
Could that be said for most American churches?
Today, so many Christians have given into compromise. If it avoids conflict, okay, we’ll do what the culture is telling us to do. You don’t like that part of the Bible? Okay, we won’t preach about that. You think that God’s okay with that sin? Okay, you can live in it. You think that we can add all of the culture’s ideas to the Bible? Okay, we’ll make it fit!
Dear Believers, don’t you realize that the Bible is the Word of God?!
We CANNOT change the Bible because of what we think it should say! We can’t let the culture infiltrate the church and destroy our foundation! We stand on the foundation of the WORD OF GOD. What we believe stems from the Bible, NOT the other way around! The Bible can not be changed just because of what we want it to say!!
Our foundation is the Bible, and….”if the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3)
The early church in Acts influenced the culture. But here in America, the culture has influenced the church. THAT is why we can’t be described as “turning the world upside down”, because the world has turned the church upside down!!
Dear Believer, we MUST stand on the Word of God without compromising, and from that will stem our witness for Christ!
8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.~Acts 1:8
These were some of Jesus’ last words to His disciples before He ascended into Heaven. Go back and read that again.
How were the disciples able to be such bold witnesses for Christ? They were given the Holy Spirit, and with that, came POWER. The power to be witnesses for Christ! We have to Holy Spirit residing within us, so we have that same power to be witnesses for Jesus!! All that we have to do is obey Him, and go out into the world!
And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.~Acts 8:1
I find this passage especially amazing. Do you remember back when the disciples were with Jesus in the garden? The same disciples who had said that they would stay with Jesus…even to death?
Well, they didn’t. They scattered when the persecution came. But look at this verse…
When there was a great persecution came on the church at Jerusalem, everyone scattered….except the apostles. Jesus gave them the strength and courage to stay….even in the face of persecution. What a difference from when they were in the garden! Here’s that power coming into play!!
But what about the rest of the church at Jerusalem? They scattered. Well, the story’s not over yet for them…read verse 4.
4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.~Acts 8:4
Those that were scattered went everywhere preaching the Word. The fire that had been started in Jerusalem was fanned brighter by the persecution, and started to spread to the world.
Persecution is one of those things. It’s hard to go through…very hard. But it fans the fire of your faith and makes it brighter. It also refines us, conforming us more to the image of our Savior.
6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:~1 Peter 1:6-7
10 But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.~Job 23:10
Okay, so….what is my point in all this?
Well, looking at the modern American church today, I see that we have far to go to be like the early church in Acts. Their faith was a fast-spreading fire that nothing could quench. And if we would only have faith like them…to stand on God’s Word no matter the cost, we would be influencing the world for Christ the same way the early Believers did. We would be….turning the world upside down.
And that’s my desire…to see an unquenchable fire like that start again today. For us to be influencing the culture for Christ instead of letting the world influence us. We need to be so on fire for Jesus, so brightly burning that the whole world sees.
Here’s a really thought-provoking verse from Luke….
8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?~Luke 18:8
Will He? When Jesus returns, will He find faith on the earth?
Let’s make sure that He does.
Let us have faith like the early church, dear Believer, an unquenchable, brightly burning, radiant faith.
Let’s shine for HIM!
💖 Always in Christ,
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.~Matthew 5:14-16