Bill Harrell, interim pastor
First Baptist Church, Wrens
When most people come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, they think everything will now be alright and that their spiritual problems have been conquered. This is what the “health and wealth” boys will tell you. They lead people to believe nothing else will go wrong in their lives because they now have Jesus. In fact, they tell people that if you are having your old problems and trials, you are not right with God.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is Daniel in the Old Testament and Peter and John in the New Testament passage under consideration show us in a stark way that true spiritual warfare actually commences when one gets right with God
The reality of opposition
In our natural, unsaved state, we are going the same way on the road of life occupied by Satan. That’s the reason he doesn’t really bother the lost person much. They are on the same path. But when one changes direction by committing their life to Christ they are running into Satan face-to-face.
You are now going in the opposite direction from him. That’s when the war begins. We need to make sure we tell new Christians the war is just about to begin but Christ has already won that war. However, they should expect that battles will have to be fought daily.
Daniel was in this position because he was totally committed to God. Opposition came. Paul and John were totally committed to God in Christ. Opposition came. We’re no different and shouldn’t expect our experience would be different from theirs. New Christians should be told to make sure they put on their armor.
The simple fact is if we, as Christians, are not experiencing opposition we’re not doing much to disturb Satan. We are not “turning the world upside down.”
When we begin to live the Christian life things get really tough for a committed Christian. There will be warfare at work, frustration with friends, and probably fighting with finances and family. There will be trouble with temptations and tribulations. But, we must realize spiritual warfare is no different for us than it was for Daniel, Peter, and John.
Satan has never changed his tactics because human nature has not changed. He gets a new batch of people to work his wiles on about every 20-30 years. He doesn’t need to change his approache. They will always work on human beings.
Our defense is to make sure we trust the same One Daniel, Peter, and John trusted. He has not changed and will carry His people through. We might not understand all we will experience in the battle, but must be assured: we will never win without being on God’s side.
The response to opposition
As the Biblical story recalls, Peter and John were going into the temple when they were asked by a lame man to give him some money on which to live (Acts 3:1-11). Peter and John didn’t have money to give but they had something much better. Through a miracle they gave the man the ability to walk. He would no longer have to beg for a living.
After this event, the authorities were perplexed as to what to do. The next day Peter and John were called before the Sanhedrin and told they could not even speak of this man Jesus again. In verse 19-20 they got their answer from Peter and John when they answered: “Whether it is right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”
These men had the boldness to stand for what is right just as Daniel did. We are obligated to do as God says rather than men. Peter and John had the evidence on their side. The formerly lame man was healed and it was obvious.
In today’s world, Christians are often called upon to compromise and neglect what God says in order to get along in a sinful, politically correct world. But, the time comes when God’s people must stand with God rather than men.
Peter and John went back to their people and praised God for what He had done. They gave all the credit to God. When we stand in the face of opposition in this world and win the battle, we must make sure our pride doesn’t spoil it. We must make sure we recognize we are nothing in the transaction. God simply used obedient human beings to get His job done.
The proper response to opposition is to keep going with God. Keep your eye on the target. Don’t be afraid and deterred. Focus on who He is and what He wants you to do. Neither should you fear consequences.
Remember this: nothing takes heaven by surprise and we should always be aware that God knows our situation. And, if He knew our situation even before we were confronted with it, He has made a way for His faithful servants to win through it.
Responding to opposition
God rewards faithfulness. Verses 29-31 speak of their absolute boldness to follow God. There is never a victory until there is a battle. Many Christians want a victory but never win a battle in order to claim a victory.
God wants us to exhibit our absolute confidence in Him. When we do that it is called boldness. I am concerned that in this modern day, the Spirit isn’t falling as He would like to because we aren’t close enough to God to trust Him enough and be bold. Peter, John, and the others decided nothing was going to stop them from doing what God wanted.
We, as God’s people, should always follow what He says. When we do His Spirit will fall on us as it did in verse 31. Our boldness will prove of our trust of Him When Opposition Strikes.