Accusations Against Truth Teachers

Text: John 15:18-21

Speaking the truth will make you the enemy of some (Galatians 4:16; Amos 5:10). Some made false accusations against Jesus (Matthew 9:32-34; 26:59). Jesus warned His disciples that it would happen to them. It happens to us today as well. This lesson will examine some of the accusations made against truth teachers in the book of Acts in the hopes that it may help us prepare for potential accusations that will be made against us today.

“They Are Full of Sweet Wine” (Acts 2:13)

  • This was in response to the miraculous gift of tongues by the Spirit (v. 4) – some were amazed (v. 12), while others mocked (v. 13)
  • This charge was absurd – only the third hour of the day (v. 15); well-reasoned sermon demonstrated soberness
  • This charge was dishonest – ignored the sound (v. 2), sight (v. 3) & crowd reaction (v. 6-8); this was a divinely given sign from God (Acts 1:8; Mark 9:1)
  • People today will sometimes resort to accusations that are absurd (no reasonable basis) & dishonest (ignoring previously given evidence) in order to divert attention away from the truth

“We Have Heard Him Speak Blasphemous Words…Against God” (Acts 6:11)

  • Blasphemy is “impious, and irreverent speech against God” (ISBE) – this was the accusation against Stephen
  • What actually happened was that Stephen spoke against their concept of God – suffering Savior, Christ
  • We can be accused of speaking against man’s false concepts of God – ex: God is love and therefore will not punish man for sin; God has no Son (major doctrine of Islam)

They Are “Proclaiming Customs Which [Are] Not Lawful (Acts 16:21)

  • In Philippi, Paul cast a spirit out of a slave girl & her masters were upset – so they brought false charges against him (similar to what happened in Corinth – Acts 18:13)
  • We may be accused of teaching or practicing things that are contrary to the laws of the land
  • The charge may be true, depending on the laws (Acts 5:29)
  • The charge may be false, but this won’t stop the enemies of the truth from trying to use the law and the force of civil authority against us, as they did with Paul in Philippi

“These Men…Have Upset the World” (Acts 17:6)

  • Paul came to Thessalonica & preached (v. 1-3) – he converted some Jews & many Gentiles (v. 4)
  • Jews became jealous, came after Paul, but settled for Jason (v. 5-6) – their charge: they have “upset the world” or “turned the world upside down” (KJV)
  • Shows us three things about Paul’s teaching – it was bold (2 Corinthians 3:12), public (v. 2; Acts 20:20), and effective (otherwise there would be no reason to try to stop them)
  • In a sense, this was like Ahab’s charge to Elijah (“Is this you, you troubler of Israel?” – 1 Kings 18:17) – Elijah was innocent & Ahab was guilty of this charge
  • Since the beginning, the world has been turned upside down by sin (innocence, fellowship with God, peace with God all lost) – preaching the gospel is meant to restore what was lost and set things aright (Luke 24:47; 1 John 1:3; Ephesians 2:16-17)

They Contradict “Undeniable Facts” (Acts 19:36)

  • There was “no small disturbance” in Ephesus stirred up by Demetrius (v. 23-27) – Paul’s preaching threatened their livelihood (v. 25-26); they craftsmen were enraged (v. 28), city was filled with confusion (v. 29), 2-hour uproar (v. 34)
  • The town clerk calmed them down, accused Paul of denying “undeniable facts” – yet there was no evidence for these “facts,” they were mere legend; it was a dismissive charge, suggesting that the gospel/preacher is not to be taken seriously
  • Probably the most common example of this today is in teaching about Creation & evolution – to many, evolution is an undeniable fact; they dismiss & ridicule any who don’t accept it; yet there is no evidence to prove it, it is unprovable
  • There is evidence for God creating all things (Romans 1:20; Psalm 19:1; Hebrews 3:4) – believing in Creation requires faith (Hebrews 11:3), but so does evolution; not a “leap of faith,” but faith based upon evidence (Hebrews 11:1)
  • There is a bit of truth implied in the town clerk’s statement – what we say does not change what is true; no matter what we say, truth is still truth (Romans 3:4)

He “Preaches to All Men Everywhere Against…the Law” (Acts 21:28)

  • Paul preached primarily to the Gentiles (Acts 9:15; 21:19) – some Jews weren’t happy about this (v. 27-28)
  • They accused him of preaching against the Law – similar to the blasphemy charge against Stephen (Acts 6:11); he didn’t preach against the Law, but against their concept of the Law
  • The Law was designed to lead them to Christ (Galatians 3:24) – God’s intention was always to save the Gentiles (Genesis 22:18; Isaiah 62:2)
  • We are sometimes accused of preaching against the Old Law because we do not accept the Sabbath day, tithing, and other things mentioned only in the OT – we believe in the OT (2 Timothy 3:16); it is useful (Romans 15:4), but only to a limited extent (Colossians 2:14)

He “Stirs Up Dissension” (Acts 24:5)

  • Accusation of Tertullus against Paul – similar to the accusations of the Jews in Thessalonica against Paul (Acts 17:6) and of Ahab against Elijah (1 Kings 18:17-18)
  • We are often accused of causing trouble or stirring up dissension – we expose false teachers (Romans 16:17), exercise discipline (2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14), and have to deal with strife (Matthew 10:34-36)
  • Division is not to be blamed on those who hold fast to the truth, but on those who deviate from it – Why? … our primary fellowship is with God (2 John 9-11); fellowship with man comes second, therefore those who break from God, we must necessarily break from them

“You Are Out of Your Mind!” (Acts 26:24)

  • Paul was telling of his conversion & apostleship to Agrippa when Festus interrupted him – this was a desperate charge by one who had no answer for Paul
  • Paul easily refuted this charge – sober truth (v. 25); cited public evidence that even Agrippa knew about (v. 26); cited the Scriptures/prophets (v. 27)
  • We may be charged similarly today – make sure it’s a false charge
  • How? … be sure you know the truth and can explain it accurately & convincingly
  • This is a process, but we must work at it (1 Peter 3:15)

“Undoubtedly This Man is a Murderer” (Acts 28:4)

  • Following the shipwreck, Paul & the rest ended up on the island of Malta (v. 1) – while gathering wood, Paul was bitten by a poisonous snake (v. 2-3)
  • The natives concluded that he must be a murderer & was receiving just punishment (v. 4) – but Paul was fine (v. 5); this is what Jesus spoke about (Mark 16:17-18)
  • People often jump to conclusions based upon circumstances in their ignorance of the Scriptures – God must be against us or for other churches based on size, contribution, circumstances, etc. – these are not a proper gauge of God’s approval
  • We only know what God has revealed (Deuteronomy 29:29) – good & bad things happen to all (Ecclesiastes 9:11)
  • Rather than jump to conclusions seeking some alleged message from God in life’s circumstances, we must seek God’s message in the place we know it will be found – His word (1 Corinthians 2:10-13)

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