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Jealousy vs Joy

Authentic Church - Acts  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  51:54
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this morning we will be looking at the responses to Paul’s faithful biblical preaching
as you can see from my sermon title and the text, it ranged from jealousy and outright persecution to rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord to genuine saving faith
I have intentionally used the term “faithful biblical preaching” because our tendency is to think that good preaching will always result in polite listening if not joyful acceptance
Faithful biblical preaching will almost always stir up opposition. (1Cor 1:23-24)
1 Corinthians 1:23–24 ESV
23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
the Gospel was offensive to the Jews and to non-Jews it was laughable!
The question is not whether faithful biblical preaching will stir up opposition but how potent it will be!
in light of this there may be a strong temptation to remove the offence
the problem with much preaching today
it is either unbiblical
false teaching abounds: HWH, God speaks outside of his Word, contemplative prayer,
or it is unfaithful
it re-interprets the bible using modern day ideas and philosophies
forcing culture’s ideas of right and wrong, good or bad, blessing or cursing on the bible
rounding off the hard edges of the gospel - sinner friendly churches
or it is not preaching
it does not explain or make known what God said at a particular time and place and make the right applications to today
focus on entertainment rather than enlightenment
Christian chats vs. expositional
God blesses unapologetic preaching which is faithful to his word
makes no apologies for God, what he has done or what he will do
reminds us of our need to stay vigilant against our enemies: world, flesh and devil
encourages true believers with promised mercy and grace
we’ve been looking at the Apostle Paul’s sermon preached at the synagogue in Pisidian Antioch on his first missionary journey
he’s given them irrefutable proof that Jesus is the One Promised by God who would forgive their sins and free them from everything the Law was powerless to do
how did his hearers respond?
let’s start with Paul’s closing words:

Paul’s Warning

Acts 13:40–41 ESV
40 Beware, therefore, lest what is said in the Prophets should come about: 41 “ ‘Look, you scoffers, be astounded and perish; for I am doing a work in your days, a work that you will not believe, even if one tells it to you.’ ”
Paul ended his gospel message with a warning
watch carefully
don’t treat lightly what I have said
don’t quickly forget
James 1:23–25 ESV
23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
having been given such convincing arguments they would be under greater judgment than if they had never heard!
note the warning of Heb 6:4-8
Hebrews 6:4–8 ESV
4 For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. 7 For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. 8 But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.
Bible Truth: God will judge people according to the knowledge they possess. The more knowledge the greater the judgment.
this is especially true for those who preach the gospel! (James 3:1)
quote in v.41 from Hab 1:5
Hab lamenting the terrible state into which the Jewish people had fallen: violence, injustice and oppression were rampant and it looked to Hab that God was doing nothing
Hab to God: “don’t you see? why don’t you do something?”
God’s response, “if I told you what I was about to do you wouldn’t believe it”
God was going to bring the Chaldeans against his people
judgment was coming of such a kind that was unthinkable
so it is with all who hear the gospel and refuse to repent
a greater judgment will fall on them than if they had never heard
Paul recognized that to the Jewish mind the thought of Jesus as their Messiah was inconceivable!
how could a man who was convicted as a blasphemer and an enemy of the state and crucified with common criminals be God’s Anointed One?
it was unthinkable, it was abhorrent, it was impossible
thus Paul quoted God’s word to Habakkuk, “I am doing a work in your days, a work that you will not believe, even if one tells it to you.”
Fact: The natural response to God’s work is scoffing.
a mocker whose disdain results from a contemptuous view of their object (and their own supposed superiority or worth).
source of unbelief: that Jesus could be God’s Anointed and their own pride
much unbelief boils down to these two factors
Fact: If the Gospel makes sense to an unrepentant sinner it is not the gospel!
every unbeliever naturally rejects the gospel because it is incomprehensible and therefore foolish
1 Corinthians 2:14–15 ESV
14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one.
scoffers will perish, they will die in their sins
the opposite of a scoffer is a believer

A Hunger For More

rather than turn unbelievers away Paul’s stern warning caused them to hunger and thirst for more!
Acts 13:42–44 ESV
42 As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath. 43 And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God. 44 The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.
first, they begged Paul and Barnabas to come back the following Sabbath
begged = ask earnestly
what is your attitude to the preaching of the Word?
many of them followed Paul and Barnabas
their earnest desire for more teaching caused them to pursue Paul and Barnabas
P&B urged them to continue in the grace of God
the grace of God = the message of salvation that Paul had preached to them
continue = to stay with - same root as word abide!
Faithful cleaving to the saving revelation of God is contrasted with the vacillation which for the slightest reason lets go of the salvation found (Ac. 13:43; cf. Mk. 4:17).
2 Corinthians 6:1–2 ESV
1 Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
to receive the gospel in vain is to hear it but not have it do nothing more than arouse one’s emotions
They were exhorted to continue because of the natural tendency to fall away.
Mark 4:17 ESV
17 And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.
highlights the problem of an emotional response to the gospel
the mind must be convinced and the heart engaged before there is a change of behaviour
even after genuine faith the Christian’s duty is to keep their renewing their minds (Rom 12:2)
The Bereans of Acts 17 are an example of continuing in the grace of God. (Acts 17:10-15)

Jealousy vs. Joy, Part 2

many of you will know what I am referring to when I mention ‘the green eyed monster’
brings me back to my childhood
illustration of desert and chips being given out when I was a child
I have 2 brothers and 2 sisters and we were all eyeing what we each got to see if we got gyped
the green eyed monster was alive and well in our home!
sadly, it is often very alive and well in adults!
instead of chips and pie were eyeing one anothers’ cars, homes, clothes, vacations, careers, reputations, etc.
in our passage today we are confronted with jealousy as a one of 3 responses to Paul’s gospel message
the first response in Acts 13:42-44: a great hunger for more of Paul’s teaching about Jesus
the second response: some of the Jews were jealous
sinful jealousy in the bible:
Saul was so jealous of David he spent most of his life trying to catch and kill him
Joseph’s brothers were so jealous they wanted to kill him - instead the sold him into slavery
Jacob’s 2 wives, Rachel and Leah were constantly at each other because of jealousy
in the Corinthian church there was much strife and quarrelling because of jealousy over who was the best leader
these accounts remind us that sinful jealousy is powerful emotion which can lead to disaster for all who let it fester!
the text before us no different, in fact it presents the possibility that jealousy might lead to an eternity in hell!
[READ ACTS 13:42-52]

They Were Filled With Jealousy

“the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered” (v.44)
those at the first meeting must have been talking to everyone about Paul’s message
their excitement about the Word was contagious
HS was moving in the city
when the Jews saw the crowds of people coming to hear Paul preach “they were ‘filled’ with jealousy”
this wasn’t just a momentary tinge of jealousy, they were overflowing with it, they were overcome by it, it was all consuming
we all see this in the progression from jealousy to contradicting to reviling inciting to stirring up persecution
jealousy unchecked often leads to much greater sins
jealousy and envy can be confused, in fact they are often used interchangeably
envy: a feeling of discontent or resentment caused by what someone else possesses
Pilate suspected envy was the reason the Jewish leaders handed Jesus over to him (Mt 27:18; Mk 15:10)
Quote: Envy is a Christ killing sin! (Mt 27:18; Mk 15:10)
Definition: Jealousy is the emotion which arises when you suspect or know someone is trying to take what you believe is yours.
the Jews were jealous because they were afraid Paul was going take from them the crowd’s honour and respect which they felt they deserved
jealousy is often sinful but it may also be good
Truth: Jealousy is not always evil - God’s name is Jealous! (Ex 34:14)
Exodus 34:14 ESV
14 (for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God),
since God is the most holy, most righteous, most high, most powerful, most glorious, most loving, most kind, most gracious, he is worthy of all praise, honour and worship
when his glory is taken from him and given to another he is righteously jealous
Truth: To give to anyone else the honour and glory that belongs only to God arouses his righteous and holy jealousy.
if he were not jealous he would not be God!
we also understand this from personal experience
there are times when it is right to be jealous
it is right for me to be jealous of my wife’s affection when she puts our children ahead of me
she is right to be jealous of my time when I put my job or my hobby ahead of her
as your Pastor I am rightly jealous when I see you listening to false teachers
I am not jealous for my sake but for Christ’s honour
there was no righteousness in the jealousy of these Jews
they lusted after glory and honour and were afraid the Gentiles were going to take it from them and give it to P&B
an attitude Paul encountered more than once in his missionary journeys(Acts 13:45; 17:5)
Peter and the Apostles also encountered it in Acts 5
the crowds held the Apostles in high esteem for their many miracles and many of them were coming to a saving knowledge of Christ
the high priest and the Sadducees were jealous because they lusted for the attention and influence the Apostles were getting
sinful jealousy is very common in our world and sadly it is often found in the lives of believers
we can learn about jealousy by the sins it is listed with

Jealousy’s Relationship to the Works of Darkness

in Romans 12 & 13 Paul outlines the believer’s obligations to God (12:1-2), to fellow believers (12:3-13), to our enemy (12:14-21), to the governing authorities (13:1-7), and to society (13:8-14)
Romans 13:12–14 ESV
12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Paul contrasts the works of darkness with putting on the armour of light
note the connection between putting on the armour of light (v.12) and putting on the Lord Jesus Christ (v.14)
[review the pieces of armour in Eph 6:10ff]
Paul contrasts walking properly in the daytime with orgies, drunkenness, sexual immorality, sensuality, quarrelling and jealousy. (Rom 13:12-14)
Paul contrasts putting on the Lord Jesus Christ with making provision for our flesh in order to gratify its desires

Jealousy’s Relationship to False Apostles

2 Corinthians 12:20–21 ESV
20 For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder. 21 I fear that when I come again my God may humble me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality that they have practiced.
he was well aware that there were divisions in the Corinthian church which were marked by the sins of v.20
Paul was afraid that when he came back to Corinth he would be humiliated by their sinful behaviour. (2 Cor 12:20-21)
his instruction in 13:5
2 Corinthians 13:5 ESV
5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

Jealousy’s Relationship to Spiritual Immaturity

1 Corinthians 3:1–4 ESV
1 But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, 3 for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human?
“brothers” = Christians
though Christians Paul describes them as:
“people of the flesh” v.1
“infants in Christ” v.1
“still of the flesh” and “are you not of the flesh” v.3
“behaving merely human” v.4
Jealousy and strife in the church at Corinth were signs they were immature believers. (1 Co 3:1-4)
this fits too many professing Christians!!
in his letter to the Galatians Paul confronts those who were tempted to go back to the Mosaic law
told them they were free from that Law but warned them not to use their freedom to gratify their sinful desires
recognized human tendency to swing far in the opposite direction

Jealousy's Relationship to the Works of the Flesh

Galatians 5:16–26 ESV
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Paul identified jealousy as one of the works of the flesh which if not mortified will land a person in hell! (Gal 5:16-26)

Jealousy’s Relationship to Selfish Ambition

James 3:14–16 ESV
14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.
“bitter jealousy”
jealousy: the sinful emotion which arises when you suspect someone is trying to take what is yours
bitter jealousy: jealousy that rises out of hostility
selfish ambition - the drive for personal success without care or concern for others
success at any cost
note how blunt James is about the source of this sinful attitude
it is earthly = characteristic of the world system
unspiritual = it is godless
demonic = it is of the devil
consider the outcome where it is not put to death
disorder and every vile practice!
Although not always the case, if there is disorder or vile practice, it may have as its root jealousy and selfish ambition. (James 3:14-16)
it looks to me as if this was the kind of jealousy the Jews had at Pisidian Antioch
while sinful jealousy should not characterize the lives of believers it is something we all struggle with at various times and situations
someone gets a promotion you think you should have received
someone receives a windfall that you wish you had
someone is recognized for their service and you aren’t
a change is made and you feel like something has wrongly been taken from you

The Remedy for Jealousy

the source of jealousy: an inordinate focus on keeping or getting something I want or need
how Paul dealt with it
Philippians 4:11–13 ESV
11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
focus on self vs. focus on God, the giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17)
recognized all things belong to God and he cares for us
embraced the attitude Christ preached of going the 2nd mile
embraced Christ’s teaching in Mt 6
Matthew 6:33 ESV
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
compare to Php 4:6-7
Philippians 4:6–7 ESV
6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
The peace of God is knowing that he hears your prayer and that since you have his ear you have everything you need. (Php 4:6-7)

The Outcome of Unchecked Jealousy

the jealousy of the Jews had terrible consequences
note the progression: jealousy -> contradicting -> reviling -> incitement -> persecution -> drove them out
“contradicted” what was spoken by Paul
to speak against, to answer with a contrary assertion
Paul’s main point: Jesus is God’s Promised One, through him there is forgiveness, by him the believer is freed
they were denying Paul’s message about Jesus
“reviled” Paul
the same word as blaspheme
to slander God (or some other deity) or something sacred to God.
After attacking Paul’s message their attack turned personal.
the Pharisees did this to Jesus when they attributed his casting out demons to the devil
unfortunately this is the common experience for all faithful preachers!
the truth offends and rather than repent some go on the offensive
Paul’s response was not to defend himself even though they contradicted his message and reviled him. (Acts 13:46)
Acts 13:46 ESV
46 And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles.
his main concern was their rejection of the gospel
they had been privileged to be the first to hear but having cast the gospel aside they became blasphemers!
we often associate blaspheming with words spoken but it also applies to actions
when we reject God’s purpose for our lives we blaspheme him
When we purposefully use our bodies to sin rather than to glorify God we blaspheme him.
abortion and homosexuality are blasphemy in the sight of God
By rejecting Paul’s preaching they declared themselves unworthy of eternal life and made themselves liable to the fires of hell.
though they had been made in the image of God they would spend eternity being defaced and destroyed!
God did not judge them unworthy they did this themselves!
so it is with every individual who disobeys God’s command to believe on the Lord Jesus
compare to Rom 1 where people suppress the truth in unrighteousness
their thinking: this is not worthy of me
in reality they were saying, I am not worthy of it
having slandered Paul the Jews incited devout women of high standing and leading men to do the same
the Jews used their connections with the rich and powerful and turned them against P&B
inflamed them with their own evil desire
The final outcome of unchecked jealousy: they stirred up persecution and drove God’s messenger away.
Paul’s description of this,
2 Timothy 3:11 ESV
11 my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me.
the Jews, the devout women and the leading men proved themselves to be unworthy of the gospel
hardened themselves in their unbelief
they will be astounded when they stand before Jesus
they will perish for their unbelief

Part 3

Rejoicing, Glorifying and True Faith

Acts 13:48 ESV
48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.
Acts 13:52 ESV
52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
the news that Jesus would be a light for them caused them great joy and they glorified the word
Paul quotes Isa 49:6
a conversation between the Father and the Son
the Father will raise the Son up to bring Israel back
and if that were too small a task the Father says to the Son that he would make him a light of the nations that God’s salvation would reach to the ends of the earth
Paul says the fulfillment of that prophecy was happening through his preaching
it continues to happen whenever we tell unbelievers the gospel!
contrast with the Jews who thrust the word aside judging themselves unworthy of eternal life
the result: “as many as were appointed to eternal life believed”
appointed = to be assigned
their believing was the result of their being assigned
“as many as were appointed” = not all who rejoiced and glorified the word believed
however the only ones assigned were those who rejoiced and glorified the word
Acts 13:52 ESV
52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
disciples were made in spite of all the trouble caused by those who rejected the gospel
in the midst of trouble and trial there was joy and the power of the HS
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