The Sect That Is Spoken Against Everywhere

Text: Acts 28:22

When Paul came to Rome as a prisoner, he was permitted to meet with the Jewish leaders. He explained why he was there (Acts 28:17-20). They had not heard about Paul, but they had heard about the church (Acts 28:21-22). The church was the “sect…spoken against everywhere.” Why? There are several reasons for this. As we follow the same pattern they followed, this will often happen to us – not that we should seek out trouble/conflict, but we do need to be prepared for this.

Why Was This Sect Spoken Against Everywhere?

  • It grew rapidly (Acts 2:41; 4:1-4; 5:14, 28; 13:44-51)
  • It claimed that all others were wrong (Acts 4:12; 17:22-23)
  • It condemned the religious leaders (Acts 7:51-54)
  • It threatened certain businesses (Acts 16:16-21; 19:23-27)
  • It refused to alter its doctrine (Acts 4:18-20; 5:28-29)

Do We Desire the Favor of Men or God?

  • It is possible for Christians to be faithful and enjoy the favor of those around them (Acts 2:47)
  • However, generally speaking, the world will be against us (John 15:18-19; 2 Timothy 3:12)
  • We need to strive to be faithful in order to enjoy the favor of God (Galatians 1:10; Matthew 5:10-12) – “Woe to you when all men speak well of you” (Luke 6:26)
  • We need to decide what is more important to us – that will dictate how we conduct ourselves

How to Have All Men Speak Well of Us

  • Don’t convert anyone to Christ – we may grow, but God is not adding anyone to the church (Acts 2:47); growth is the result of giving the community what it wants
  • Don’t say that others are wrong – let everyone have their own interpretation; claim there are many paths to God
  • Don’t call anyone a false teacher – this could be seen as judging someone’s motives
  • Don’t be critical of any (legal) business – if a business is legal, many believe it must be OK (liquor store, casino, etc.)
  • Don’t be afraid to compromise – people will follow those who teach them what they want to hear (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

How to Have the World Speak Against Us

  • Grow (or attempt to grow) by converting people to Christ – we can only plant and water (1 Corinthians 3:6; 1:17); we will be spoken against for evangelizing, this will increase as conversions increase
  • Show that there is a standard of absolute truth (John 17:17) – this is the only right way (John 14:6; Proverbs 14:12)
  • Refute false teachers (Titus 1:9) – dismantle their arguments so others will not follow them (2 Corinthians 10:5)
  • Show that not everything which is legal is right – what is called “good” may be evil (Isaiah 5:20)
  • Refuse to change the message (2 Timothy 1:13) – we are not at liberty to alter the gospel (Galatians 1:8-9); the world changes, but the truth does not (Psalm 119:89)

Conclusion

  • We need to be more like the early church than the churches around us
  • We need to follow the word of God rather than what is culturally accepted
  • We may be labeled as a “sect” and be “spoken against everywhere
  • We need to focus on pleasing God first – in the end, His view of us is all that matters (Matthew 25:21; 7:23)

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