The Resistance

"And he entered the synagogue and continued speaking out boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. But some were becoming hardened and disobedient, speaking evil of the Way before the people, he withdrew from them and took away the disciples..." Acts 19: 8-9

With every presentation of the Gospel, hearts are either softened to receive it or they become hardened to the touch of it. Though Paul's reasoning and persuading turned many people around, it also turned others into his enemies. He preached Jesus as The Way, anyway.

"Some were becoming hardened and disobedient." v. 8

The Jewish synagogues were not all in lock step with their understanding of The Law, nor did they all follow one particular Rabbis teaching on it. Some were more open-minded than others. Some were more conservative in their views. They may not have used the terms for liberal, conservative, or moderate, but they had the same termites.

Paul did not offer Jesus as a way, but The Way. He did not reason and persuade with a pedagogical indifference. He preached the life-changing, life-giving message of Jesus with a passion that made a difference in people's lives.

There comes a point in every preacher's life and ministry when he knows he can no longer throw rocks at every barking dog that resents his presence and his preaching. He must feed and lead the flock. Jesus said, "My sheep hear My voice." They still do.

A preacher is often called upon to feed the sheep while fighting off the wolves. Paul gave it three months, and then decided to move the sheep to another pasture.

When people posing as seekers threaten to become heat-seeking missiles, their hardened hearts and sarcasm soaked words will poison the most genuine believer. Preachers have no choice, but to pray for a backdoor revival or remove people from being the targets of this kind of poisonous barrage.

Disarming a ticking time bomb, determined to self-destruct is a delicate operation, and rarely ends well. The process is time-consuming, and the explosion from it takes its toll on preachers and churches. Paul chose to remove the disciples from the line of fire.

This kind of decision was not an easy one for Paul. It never is for any true shepherd, but sheep need to be led, fed and protected. There are preachers who are always looking for greener pastures, but this is not about feeding sheep as much as it is lining their own wallets. They are fewer than critics would claim. Most pastors take their role as shepherd seriously and do it sacrificially. Thank God for yours today, and prepare yourself for a movement of God in your preacher's life and in yours. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!