Marvin L. Weir
In an attempt to Scripturally instruct the Jews about the Messiah they had rejected, the apostle Paul would visit the synagogues on the Sabbath. The Scriptures declare, “Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: and Paul, as his custom was, went in unto them, and for three sabbath days reasoned with them from the Scriptures, opening and alleging that it behooved the Christ to suffer, and to rise again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom, said he, I proclaim unto you, is the Christ” (Acts 17:1-3).
The following remarks by Wayne Jackson on the above Scriptures are helpful: “Those who appeal to this circumstance in an effort to find support for Sabbath-keeping today are desperate indeed. Paul “reasoned” with the Jews regarding ‘the Christ.’ The verb suggests bringing together different reasons (Thayer, 139), sometimes with the idea of a resulting dispute (Arndt, 1967, 184). Actually, it was on the order of a debate. The apostle’s method of argument, impeccably logical, was to: 1) Appeal to the authoritative Old Testament scriptures; 2) Direct attention to the prophecies concerning “the Christ;” 3) Introduce the facts of history relative to Jesus of Nazareth (e.g., His suffering, death, and resurrection); 4) Press the conclusion that Jesus fulfills the declarations regarding the promised Messiah. This must be the foundation of all gospel preaching. Christianity is grounded in solid, provable history. There are facts to be believed or else a man cannot be a Christian. No teacher who neglects this method of instruction can be effective in producing genuine converts (Acts of the Apostles, p. 202).
Christians have an obligation to “reason” from the Scriptures to affirm correct teaching and to denounce false teaching. It is a sad commentary on some Christian’s convictions that they will do neither! The apostle Paul was determined that truth would not suffer because of his unwillingness to proclaim or defend it.
The city of Athens, filled with idols and idolatry, was especially disturbing to Paul. The apostle believed in the one true and living God (Jer. 10:10; 1 Cor. 8:6), but finds himself surrounded by people who are worshipping many gods that included an “UNKNOWN GOD” lest any be left out. Such ignorance in a city noted for its wisdom was appalling to Paul. While waiting for Silas and Timothy to join him, “…his spirit was provoked within him as he beheld the city full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with them that met him” (Acts 17:16-17). As Jackson states: “The word ‘spirit’ is equivalent to ‘soul,’ that element of man which is in the image of God (Gen. 1:26). ‘Provoked’ suggests the idea of agitation—even anger (Vine, 1991, 634). The imperfect tense reveals that Paul was constantly irritated as he ‘beheld’ (present—kept on closely examining the details) the city full of idol statues.”
It is not ungodly but rather mandatory that a Christian be capable of righteous anger. The Lord exhibited righteous anger when He drove the money changers out of the temple (His Father’s house, John 2:13-17). He was angry with the Pharisees who sought to accuse Him of breaking the Sabbath by healing a man with a withered hand (Mark 3:1-6). Is there not something incredibly wrong when the spirit of a Christian is not “provoked” (ASV) or “stirred” (KJV) when evil is called good and good is called evil (Isa. 5:20)?
At every opportunity today, the homosexual agenda is being forced upon us. Our courts have ruled in favor of homosexual “marriages” and the powers that be are legislating to uphold and encourage sodomite behavior. The God-given arrangement of marriage (Gen. 2:18-24) is spurned by sodomite supporters and considered out of date. The understood and standard definition of marriage has long been, “the institution whereby men and women are joined in a special kind of social and legal dependence for the purpose of founding and maintaining a family” (Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 1996). A newer and updated Merriam Webster Dictionary defines marriage as: “(1) The relationship that exists between a husband and a wife; (2) A similar relationship between people of the same sex; (3) A ceremony in which two people are married to one another.” Keep your old books!
In years gone by, sodomy was against the law of the land and referred to as a crime against nature. In today’s permissive and degenerate society, sodomy is celebrated as “gay pride.” The sin of homosexuality—unnatural, perverted, and what God calls an “abomination” (Lev. 18:22; 20:13)—is now being thrust upon all of society with the expectation that all will embrace it!
When people exchange “the truth of God for a lie,” God will give “them up to a reprobate mind” (Rom. 1:25, 28). This includes women changing “the natural use into that which is against nature,” and men who leave “the natural use of the woman and burn in their lust one toward another” (Rom. 1:26-27).
A Christian who seeks to be “politically correct” and say that homosexuality is not his lifestyle but if others choose to live so it is their right or business, is incapable of righteous anger and stands condemned “consenting” (Rom. 1:32) or giving approval to that which is sinful. Remember this the next time you vote in an election!