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Today’s Christian Culture vs. The Early Church

In this blog post, I would like to talk about Acts chapter 23. Paul is right now before the Sanhedrin council and states that he has lived all his life in good conscience with God. However, we see that the high priest, Ananias, does not believe that and asks for people to stone Paul. Paul responds in verse three by rebuking the Ananias for trying to appear righteous outwardly but being corrupt inwardly. This reminds me of Jeremiah 5:31 (ESV) which says, “the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their direction; my people love to have it so, but what will you do when the end comes?”. This was a problem in then and today. We got false prophets and teachers in the world today, and I would say it is far worse today with the impact of social media. We are warned that in the end days that there will be a great falling away, that has already started years ago even before the start of the century we are currently in, and it is only going to get worse. Yet people who profess to be Christians love what these false teachers say and do.

Modern Christian Culture and the Broad Way

I believe it is evident not just here, but in the many letters, Paul wrote that he was strong in the gift of discernment. He relied on the Holy Spirit to discern good from evil. Sadly, today many Christians do not take five seconds to even double-check what they are hearing from the pulpit or hear on ‘Christian’ radio. We live in such a digital world, that people’s credibility is determined by how many followers they have or how popular they are. Jesus warned us of this in Matthew 7:13-14 (ESV), “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”. I am 100-percent convinced that a good majority of what we see in main-stream Christianity will not lead one to the narrow gate. Why do I say that? Well, Jesus said, “those who find the narrow gate are few”. Just because its what you see at the Christian bookstore does not mean it will line up with Scripture. Am I saying every minister is going to be 100-percent perfect? Absolutely not, but we must learn where to draw the line at as Christians. Look at the world around us right now, we are getting so close to the second coming of Jesus Christ. Now is not the time to be messing with what is popular to the world with a dip of the Bible in it. We must be real and genuine believers; we are called to be different than the world.

Pharisee’s vs. Sadducee’s

After Paul calls out the high priest, he then states he is a son of a Pharisee and believes in the resurrection of the dead. There is a huge debate between Pharisees and Sadducees, we even see this in the four Gospels. After Paul said this the scribes of the Pharisees say they find no evil in Paul and to let Paul go and not fight against God. This led to tension between everyone, and the guards have Paul taken out and put in the castle. Just looking back on Paul’s life right now, he has had it very rough. He has suffered much physical and emotional harm from people, yet he never threw in the towel. Are you and I ready to give a defense for the Gospel? Or are we just going to back down? Romans 1:16 (ESV) tells us, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”. We are not to be ashamed of the Gospel.

Books of Acts Destroys the Modern Name it and Claim it Prosperity Gospel

As Paul is in the castle that evening, the Lord spoke to him. He told Paul that he will also bear witness of the Gospel in Rome, and to be of good cheer. God knew that Paul would face opposition and challenge. It was not in God’s plan for Paul to have his best life on this earth. Paul faced much persecution and eventually was beheaded. Yet in America, modern Christianity promises us our best life now with the name it and claim it saying, “I am a victor, not a victim”. How many of us are truly willing to be beheaded or take a bullet for the Gospel? Really be honest. Because in America I believe we have developed a form of lukewarm Christianity and would not be prepared at all for major persecution. The church in America has lacked Biblical boldness and has more of an ego than anything else. We have gotten too far from the place where we have let our culture influence how we look at the Bible, rather than letting the Bible influence our overall mindset.

Wake Up Church

I am not trying to be condemning here, I am trying to wake people up to the truth. Jesus will return one day, and He has eyes of fire that you do not want to mess with. Now is not the time to be playing games. We need to live with the mindset of truly not being ashamed of the Gospel. Paul did whatever it took to obey God by preaching the Gospel everywhere he went. Are we willing to do whatever it takes with what God has called you and me to do? We need to step it up. More people are fearful of a virus and following all the guidelines than they are fearful of God and following all that He commands of us.

A Conspiracy is Formed

Continuing with Acts chapter 23 we see that the following day over 40 people formed a conspiracy to take an oath to not eat anything until they killed Paul. Things begin to get even more serious; people are taking oaths to kill Paul. Paul’s nephew ends up going to the commander and telling him privately about this manner.   We see that the commander gathers up 200 men the take Paul safely to Governor Felix. The commander, Claudius Lysias lets the governor know, by a letter, about Paul’s accusations and that he was sending him over because he was a Roman. When Paul arrives at Caesarea, he is put in Herods Praetorium while they wait for his accusers to arrive.

Jesus is All We Need

 Again, as we look at the life of Paul, he did much traveling and he has been around the block when it comes to persecution. We must put ourselves in the shoes of those who do missionary work in hostile countries. I have great respect for anyone who goes to do missionary work in hostile countries. A couple years ago I went to a Voice of the Martyrs Conference in West Virginia and heard many missionaries speak on their experience with persecution. They all had one thing in common when they spoke, they were all filled with true joy. James 1:2-4 (ESV) tells us, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”.  We count trials joy because it produces steadfastness, it grows our faith in the Lord. Psalm 107:9 (NASB) tells us, “For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, And the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.”.  We need to come to a place that no matter what goes on in our life that Jesus is all satisfying. Because if we lack that as our mindset, we will lean towards the sinful means of this world to satisfy us.