The following week almost the entire city turned out to hear them preach the word of the Lord. But when some of the Jews saw the crowds, they were jealous; so they slandered Paul and argued against whatever he said. Then Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and declared, “It was necessary that we first preach the word of God to you Jews. But since you have rejected it and judged yourselves unworthy of eternal life, we will offer it to the Gentiles. For the Lord gave us this command when he said, ‘I have made you a light to the Gentiles, to bring salvation to the farthest corners of the earth.’ ” When the Gentiles heard this, they were very glad and thanked the Lord for his message; and all who were chosen for eternal life became believers. So the Lord’s message spread throughout that region. Then the Jews stirred up the influential religious women and the leaders of the city, and they incited a mob against Paul and Barnabas and ran them out of town. So they shook the dust from their feet as a sign of rejection and went to the town of Iconium. And the believers were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. (Acts of the Apostles 13:44-52 NLT)
What a mighty move of God! Almost an entire city comes to hear the preaching of the gospel of Jesus. Our cities are so accustomed to hearing the gospel that we are seemingly deaf to it now. We have so many denominational classifications that it literally makes me shake my head. What ever happened to the church being one? I realize that schools of thought on certain issues have created distinctions among us. However, there is only one gospel! Jesus is the only way!!! We may differ on the gifts of the spirit, free will, modes of baptism, church membership, and other things, but we must recognize the core of our message is Jesus. Jesus was God in human flesh, born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, arrested, tried, crucified, buried, resurrected, ascended, and coming again. Can I get an AMEN???
For far too long the church has been unnecessarily divided and rendered powerless. Satan knows that if we are united in Jesus Christ, we will be the most potent force on earth. The only way to stop the church is to divide it. Jesus Himself said "And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand." (Mark 3:25 KJV).
In the early history of the church that we read here in Acts 13, the church was on fire and undivided. There were no denominational distinctions. The only thing that mattered to the church was to carry the gospel to the world. The Holy Spirit had ignited their spirits and had fueled their passion.
When the truth is preached, opposition is going to arise from someone in some way. The Jews didn't like the fact that practically the entire city was coming to hear the gospel of Jesus. They were jealous. They had never seen such hunger and response to a message before. You would think that they would have been glad to see the multitudes come. Many of our churches would be torn out of frame if someone came preaching under the anointing of the Holy Ghost. What we need is a Holy Ghost revival that will stir the hearts of the saints and compel the lost to come to Jesus. I am persuaded that most of our churches are filled with religious people who have good intentions but lack the power of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps, many of the congregants don't even truly know Jesus as their Savior and Lord! Sure, they may profess it with their mouths, but in their works, they deny it. I submit to you that if a person truly knows Jesus, their life is transformed (see 2 Corinthians 5:17). How can we know the Creator and not be a new creation? Set us on fire God! Set us on fire! In Jesus name. Renew the church with your anointing! Tear down the walls of tradition and religious notion! Send a fresh wind and fire. In Jesus name!!!!!!!
Rev. Curtis Norris