Acts 19:23-41: When Opposition Comes
February 9, 2023
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Exodus 24-26, Psalm 32, Matthew 13:44-58, Acts 19:23-41
Paul’s ministry in Ephesus is having such a large impact that it is starting to impact the economy! What can we learn from this extraordinary story?
First, when God brings revival, it not only causes excitement, it actually changes how people really live—and how they spend their money. Time and time again down through history, the work of God has caused people to stop spending money on pagan idols and instead to invest their hard-earned income in the cause of Christ and his gospel. For our day, if revival came to the West, then we would expect that the porn industry would be massively negatively impacted, the sexual trafficking industry would close down, consumption of alcohol would drop below addictive levels, and more and more money would be given to charitable and ecclesial causes that would impact people for the glory of Jesus.
Second, when God comes with power, we can also expect, though, opposition. Because we live in a fallen world, not everyone will support the work of God. And the more impactful that work of God, the more people will oppose it. We should not seek opposition or persecution, far from it! And it is possible to live in a time of peace, and we should pray that we would. But at the same time, we should not be surprised when we are opposed, attacked, vilified, slandered, and dragged before courts, all because we are following and preaching Christ.
Third, God sovereignly protects his work. Who could have predicted how this riot would have ended? Paul was desperate to intervene, but his friends prevented him from risking his life needlessly. But in the end the events ran their course and a wise ruling was given, and the opposition was dispersed. God is sovereign over the opposition and uses it to advance his kingdom. When the prophet’s scroll was ripped up and burned in the fire by the ungodly king, that scroll was rewritten and is still with us today. When the ungodly king bought up all copies of Tyndale’s New Testament in English to ensure that no one could read it, he inadvertently made it a bestseller and provided the funds for a very wide distribution of the book he wanted to destroy. You cannot fight against God and succeed! God uses judo, as it were, and turns the attack to the advantage of the kingdom. Therefore, we, when we are opposed, must school ourselves to trust in God and his sovereignty!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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