Today’s Reading: Acts 13:42-14:7
We live in an age where we judge our success and failure in Christ’s service by the size of our church and how many people we win to Christ. This tends to drive us to try to find any way we can to win people to Christ, even if it means watering down the Word.
Success is found in faithfulness, not in numbers. Success is found in obedience, not in numbers. Success is found in the right teaching of the Word and not in buildings. Success is following Christ and not in fresh innovations or versions. If He is the same, today, yesterday, and forever so is the truth that leads to Him. That truth will not be popular if it is given straightforward without candy coatings or cultural slants for appeal.
All you need to do is check Acts for confirmation of what I have just said. All through the book, they gave the same message. Yes, they would take the people where they were and use illustrations and even some quotes from their culture to set up the message, but the message never changed. There is a God. Man is a sinner. Man deserves Hell. God loved man. God sent His son, Jesus. Jesus was God in the flesh. Man killed Jesus. God raised Him from the dead. He ascended. Repent and live. Reject and suffer eternal judgment.
Eleven short statements tell it all. At various places, different points of these sentences were expounded upon depending on the understanding of the hearer, but none of them were ever changed to make them more appealing to the hearer. As the message was consistent, so also was the response. As in today’s passages people believed, rejoiced, and were saved or folks rejected and got angry. What were the consistent results for the apostles? They were accepted and loved or jailed, stoned or banished.
John Wesley would ask his preacher boys two questions when they returned from a preaching engagement. Was anyone saved? If they answered no, he asked if anyone got mad. If they said no to this, he told them that they were not called to preach because faithful preaching of the Word will either result in people being saved or getting mad.