Paul and Barnabas were beginning to do the work God had planned for a Millennium. Since Abram left Haran, It was always God’s mission to raise a nation of priests and evangelists to reconcile fallen men to creator, father and friend. Still while the work among the Jews and gentiles was making a huge difference, the opposition to their efforts was certainly rising.
While one would assume the opposition would come from the ignorant and the unchurched, in fact, the opposition was coming from the leaders in the very community that God called to lead the movement. The Jewish religious leaders were to be the ones to carry the message of God’s love to the world–yet, as with the time of Jesus ministry, they rose to be the most vocal and defiant enemies of God. As with any opposition, they started small and quiet, but, as God grew the church, the enemy raised the number and stakes for the opposition.
In current culture, the Church is faced with rising opposition as well. In our case, the movement to remain holy and relevant is meeting opposition from the politically correct in its leadership. Certainly, God is being openly opposed in the halls of Government; but, he is also being marginalized in the pulpits. Issues of the Bible’s inerrancy, the churches stand on marriage and life all bring out religious opposition. As such, the more evangelical and fundamental part of the church are being opposed by the mainline church.
We can expect to face increase opposition and even persecution unless God’s core message reemerges as revival sweeps the land. Should that happen, do not be surprised if the torch bearers of the persecution come from within the ranks of religious leadership–the enemy always strikes hardest from within; not from without!
God Bless You
As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people invited them to speak further about these things on the next Sabbath. 43 When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God.44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45 When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy. They began to contradict what Paul was saying and heaped abuse on him.
46 Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. 47 For this is what the Lord has commanded us:
“‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles,
that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”
48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.
49 The word of the Lord spread through the whole region. 50 But the Jewish leaders incited the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region. 51 So they shook the dust off their feet as a warning to them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.