In Corinth, as in every other city, Paul encountered opposition from certain Jewish people when he began to declare Jesus was the long-sought Messiah. This element hated the truth intensely, to the point that when they heard Paul had begun preaching in a city, they would follow him there to confront him. More than once, Paul had been the target of a murder plot. He had been stoned and left for dead.
The questions undoubtedly troubled Paul as he lay in bed at night: Would Corinth be like all the other cities? When would the opposition turn into seething hatred? Was a death trap being set for him yet? Would tomorrow be the day?
One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision and told him, “Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent! For I am with you, and no one will harm you because many people here in this city belong to me.” So Paul stayed there for the next year and a half, teaching the word of God. (Acts 18:9-11 NLT)
Tell the Truth to people who don’t want to hear it and eventually — inevitably — you will encounter resistance and opposition. Certain elements will lash out with intense hatred. Violence comes easily to spiritually blind people. They love their darkness. You’ll even meet these people in the church. Ask any pastor.
Jesus was plain about it: “When the world hates you, remember it hated me before it hated you. The world would love you if you belonged to it, but you don’t. I chose you to come out of the world, and so it hates you. Do you remember what I told you? ‘A servant is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you!” (John 15:18-20 NLT)
It’s not hard to understand why lost people would hate the truth, but worldly people in the church resist the truth that God calls his people to revolution. Even earnest believers may be reluctant to rock the boat. When the world is being good to you, it’s difficult to risk your security. Even if life isn’t all that easy, why make matters worse?
We make matters “worse” because, while the world loves darkness and hates light, Jesus is the light — and he calls us to be light. If we aren’t being light in the darkness, we aren’t being his people.
Powerful people are deeply invested in the status quo. There’s good money in oppression — really good money. For them to be powerful, others have to be weak. What do you think will happen if you start training weaklings to be warriors? Start proclaiming liberty to their captives and freedom to their slaves and see how they respond.
You cannot serve God and preserve the status quo. The Lord is the God of Transformation. His agenda for the world is change. He created the world in fellowship and light; the Enemy has filled it with alienation and darkness. The Father’s deepest desire and eternal intention is to banish the darkness, overthrow the Oppressor and bring his lost children home. … The Father’s work is finished in heaven, but not on earth. Darkness reigns in many quarters. God’s lost children cry out in pain. The Father will not rest until the last of his children is returned to his arms. We must not rest until he does. To make camp is to stop following the Father. source
We don’t have to be stupid about how we declare the Truth, but we must not allow fear and timidity to stop us either. When the questions keep you awake at night, quiet your heart before the Lord and hear him say, “Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent! For I am with you.”