Monday, April 11, 2016


The Book of Acts =>growth of Christianity=>conflict with the Jewish community

Gospel is:  #1.  offensive - (sinners, separated from God)
                #2.  intrusive - (evangelistic - written into DNA of the faith)
                #3.  exclusive - ( the "only way"0 - if don't come through Christ, don't get there

It challenged their 1) religious beliefs - (temple, Law)
                            2) social norms - (traditions, culture) - for the Jewish people, their religion was their way of life.
                            3)  political practices - (how things run, AND who's in charge!!) - challenged the high priest's authority.

So, Christianity was, at least, annoying, and maybe threatening!!!

IF it was accepted and practiced, it would TRANSFORM THE JEWISH CULTURE!
(ie:  the traditional, accepted, Preferred culture)

So, the growth of Christianity resulted in:
I.  Conflict with Jewish Community
and ALSO -
II.  Conflict with the Gentile Community as well!!

Why?  For the same reasons!!! - Acts 19:1, 8-20, 23-20:2 - Ephesus = city of magic, so God used extraordinary miracles.  Had a large temple to Artemis (Diana) - goddess of fertility.  Was a huge tourist attraction, and very important to the economy.

Offensive                Intrusive               Exclusive
Challenges             religious beliefs      social norms - the established leadership
Threatens               traditions              culture  (lifestyle)

Jesus' warnings:  Matt. 10:34-36 - this not His plan or heart's desire, but the natural outcome.
                         John 16:1-2

What's next?
III.  Conflict with the (Roman) Empire!!!  as Christianity continues to grow.
Two add'l. accusations:  (1)  atheism - (won't worship the gods of Rome)
                                     (2) sedition - (won't worship the emperor as Lord)
(Synonyms for sedition  - rebellion, defiance, civil disorder)   

And, next:

IV.   Conflict with other people groups, governments, belief systems
examples:  Communism (Soviet Union, Chine, North Korea)

Question:  If we had a nation formed MOSTLY by Christian people, ideals, morals, values, the result would lead to far less conflict.

Question:  If that nation gradually shifted to a different world view (secularism), the result would lead to increase in conflict.
Example:  IF Billy Graham was holding crusades today, in his former, younger self, do you think the media response would be positive and uplifting and accepting?  (not likely)

New Testament writers give additional reasons (beneath the surface, internal.
Christianity is:
#1.  Morally restrictive - Rom. 1:18 -has many restrictive guidelines.  The other gods didn't care about morality.

#2.  Personally restrictive - contrast:  submit to rules on paper vs. personal, living LORD!!
                                                        argue with written Word vs. Holy Spirit convicting within.
What if personal Lord wants to take us beyond the guidelines? 
John 20:28

#3.  Demonically opposed - example:  most are on board with a "benevolent God" but not an evil being!
Rev. 12:17

Satanic kingdom is opposed to the rise ad spread of Christianity. 

Anytime you have a large group of practicing, "living the life" Christians, and a large group of non-Christians, there will be conflict!!!

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