It seems the most shocking things can come out of people’s mouths these days and—if said with enough volume, emotion, or authority—be considered credible (at least by some). While this can be unsettling and even defamatory, we need to realize it’s nothing new and God knows all about it.

 * * *

In Matthew 5:11-12 (using the New Living Translation), Jesus said:

God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.

Jesus gave those who chose to follow Him a sizable heads up about their belief in Him being met by unbelief in others.  And that unbelief would result in mocking, persecution, and all manner of false and disparaging statements about them.

We may know this, but wouldn’t you agree the creative accusations which flow out of spiritual hard-heartedness are sometimes beyond belief?

Let’s look at the first allegation raised against the church on the very day God’s Holy Spirit came upon Christ’s followers—with an eye to ourselves becoming wiser and more Christ-like in handling thinly veiled or blatant hostilities.

* * *

On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.

At that time there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem. When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers.

They were completely amazed. ‘How can this be?’ they exclaimed. ‘These people are all from Galilee, and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages! Here we are—Parthians, Medes, Elamites, people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, the province of Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the areas of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism), Cretans, and Arabs. And we all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done!’ They stood there amazed and perplexed. ‘What can this mean?’ they asked each other.

 But others in the crowd ridiculed them, saying, ‘They’re just drunk, that’s all!’

 [Acts 2:1-13, NLT]

 * * *

“They’re just drunk…”

Of course! That explains it. Everyone knows when people get inebriated they think and speak clearly, becoming fluent in multiple foreign languages they couldn’t speak before.

 

* * *

Notice how quickly the smear campaign against Christ’s followers began after the Holy Spirit came upon them. The church was born and within the hour its people were being maligned for the glorious work God was doing!

* * *

How did this newly, Spirit-filled body of believers respond to the group after some floated the ridiculous, ‘They’re just drunk’ notion?

Naturally they took to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and U-tube, blasting everyone who accused them of being drunk.

They authoritatively declared the scoffers were the devil’s mouthpieces.

In hurt and dismay, they left—determining the opposition didn’t deserve to know what God was doing.

They sought out life coaches to help them map out plans to feel happy and whole.

Oh, wait…

The believers weren’t doing what comes natural.

They were functioning supernaturally; in the power of God’s Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:14 records, “Then Peter stepped forward with the eleven other apostles…” (Side note: Okay, this verse does happily remind me of an old Newsboys song, Stepping Up To The Microphone.) These Spirit-filled believers, rather than retreating, unhesitatingly came forward and selflessly engaged.

Our friend Peter boldly addressed everyone present: “Listen carefully, all of you, fellow Jews and residents of Jerusalem! Make no mistake about this. These people are not drunk, as some of you are assuming.” He added, “Nine o’clock in the morning is much too early for that!” It may be Peter’s words were met with a ripple of laughter. (Acts 2:14-15)

We can learn from this! The false accusation was briefly acknowledged, logically addressed, and then dropped in order to showcase the relevancy and specificity of God’s Word to what the crowd had just seen and heard. (Acts 2:16-18).

* * *

 When we also are controlled by God’s Spirit, supernatural goodness occurs.

Please make time today for an unhurried read and contemplation of Acts chapter 2. More than a historical record of the birth of the church, it reveals what we might expect when empowered by God’s Holy Spirit before, during, and after our faith is met with stalwart resistance.

We supernaturally attest to the wonderful things God has done. The fruit of the Spirit spills out of us, even when we’re treated unfairly. We direct attention to the relevancy of God’s Word with whomever God gives us audience.

Peter’s empowered response on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-36)  led to loving confrontation:

‘So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, who you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!’ Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what should we do?’

Peter replied, ‘Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away—all who have been called by the Lord our God.’

Then Peter continued preaching for a long time, strongly urging all his listeners, ‘Save yourselves from this crooked generation!’

Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all.

 (Acts 2:36-41)

* * *

Have any of us mastered Jesus’ call to be happy when people ridicule, persecute, or lie about us? Likely not. But just as God’s Holy Spirit has the power to enable a diverse crowd of people to hear the wonders of God in their own languages (and turn a professional fisherman into a successful fisher of men), He can empower any Christ follower to trust Him in all things. We can love God with all of our hearts, minds, and souls andyes, be absorbed in the needs of others in the same way we tend to self-absorb.

God isn’t surprised when we run into unbelievable unbelief, and neither should we. But remember: God’s Spirit has the power to change cruel and hard-hearted people into joyful lovers of Jesus Christ, even as He stockpiles great rewards for those who faithfully serve Him in hostile situations.

Alsothrillingly!the Holy Spirit continues to occasionally dismantle language barriers when God’s people selflessly love others and speak of His marvelous works.

* * *

Consider God’s encouraging truths, transmitted through Peter, whenever you face aggressive unbelief:

The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

(2 Peter 3:9)

June

June

People Lover. Author. Blogger. Speaker. Forgiven Much & Wild About God. Learn about June's latest book on her website.

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