Should We Go, Or Should We Stay?
Read Acts Chapter 19
Ac 19:8 Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. 9 But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus.
Paul was a man on a mission. I can imagine that he rarely did anything during the day which was not a part of that mission. His desire that all men come to know and believe in Christ was the only thing that held any importance for him. Everywhere he went, he presented a message of repentance and salvation in Jesus Christ. He did not want to waste any time. In this passage, he first presented the gospel to the Jews in the synagogue. He preached there for three months, presumably gaining some converts, since verse 9 only said “some” of them became obstinate. I find it interesting that once opposition arose, he moved on to another venue to preach and teach. Sometimes I wonder about how long we should plead with our friends who have “become obstinate.” Some of the men I have mentored have not yet “become obstinate.” They will occasionally, however rarely, talk with me. There remains a certain amount of respect for God’s word. I am grateful for that. But then there are some who have become obstinate; flatly rejecting the message of truth concerning homosexuality and unwilling to discuss it further. As Paul did, I moved on to more fertile ground. I strongly believe that they are firmly committed to living a gay life. After seeing this passage again, I feel better about that. I could continue to attempt to contact them through Facebook or some other medium, but I have a sense that it would be a total waste of time. Of course, there is an open door in my mind for the Holy Spirit to prompt a change of heart. So far, He has not opened that door. We can imagine what happened to those Jews who became obstinate in the synagogue. There is little hope that any of them had a change of heart and came to Christ at a later time. We can hope they did, but the scriptures are pretty clear that there will always be men and women who refuse to believe and slip into eternity without hope. What a sad thought. How long should we wrestle with our obstinate friends? I truly don’t know. We have no choice but to listen to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to guide us in all our decisions. The other lesson is a warning for us. We must never allow the truth of God’s word to be compromised. We as individuals must continue to adhere to the truth and we must not water it down to anyone over whom we have any influence. Just as Paul spoke boldly, arguing persuasively, so must we. There is no middle ground where God is concerned. He alone is the ultimate and only authority on truth. We are obliged to continue to deliver an undiluted message.
Prayer: Help us, Lord, to remain faithful to You and Your word. Prevent us from falling away from the truth, and prevent us from allowing our misplaced compassion for others to cause us to soften the truth. Give us wisdom to know when it is time to stay, and when it is time to move on to more fertile ground.