“Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way.
Paul returned to the synagogue in Ephesus who wanted him to “spend more time with them” the last time he was there. Paul promised to return if it was God’s will and it was. He spoke boldly and persuasively for three months. When some of the people who wanted more understood Paul’s message they refused to believe it.
The leaders of the synagogue heard the truth that Jesus is the only way to obtain the kingdom of God and became obstinate. Not only did they reject Jesus, they publicly maligned Paul’s message in an effort to prevent their congregation from listening to him.
Whenever God seeks to give us more, controversy is inevitable but it’s not bad.
“God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: The Lord knows those who are his…” 2 Timothy 2:19
God knows who is his, but we don’t. God looks where we cannot see. He looks on our hearts and knows who sincerely wants him, and who is seeking personal benefit. Churches are full of self-appointed ministers whose erroneous doctrines create strongholds in our lives that prevent us from receiving more of God. When truth is spoken, the light in truth exposes them for the charlatans they really are. At that point they will repent or defend themselves. If they don’t repent controversy erupts. The ensuing battle reveals to the rest of us who is God’s and who is not.
When leaders quarrel, churches split because the congregation is forced to choose whose message to embrace. The message that left them dry, thirsty and sick or the message that quenched their thirst and healed them. They choose to follow the leader who suffers personal attacks for their good or the leader who cares more about being right than benefiting his congregation. Unfortunately, many will choose the familiar that left them dry, thirsty and sick.
The maligned leader, Paul, had no option but to take those who embraced his message that “Jesus is the Way” and leave. When Paul moved to the lecture hall of Tyrannus, God released a revival of extraordinary miracles.
LOG ON NEXT WEEK FOR PART 6: BE SEPARATE