SEPARATED THE DISCIPLES
Acts 19:8 And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. 9 But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.
In order to get the full account of this event we must revert to the previous chapter and read verses nineteen through twenty one. For there we find the Apostle Paul’s first encounter with this synagogue in Ephesus. Acts 18:19 And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews. 20 When they desired him to tarry longer time with them, he consented not; 21 But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus.
Amazing, isn’t it? Back then we find them “desiring him to tarry longer,” when he could not stay. But after his return to them, and after three months of gospel preaching, they can’t get away from him soon enough! “Religion” will accommodate other religious birds of almost any feather on a level of inordinate affection. But when you interject the gospel you will find yourself standing apart from all of them. And rest assured, in all their minds it will be entirely the fault of “that narrow minded gospel preacher” that any breach has occurred! That’s what brought about the crucifixion of our Lord. Consider these verses:
John 8:37 I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. 40 But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.
Acts 4:26 The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. 27 For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, 28 For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.
And notice the very last straw that is set forth as to why the apostle “separated the disciples.” It states that when they spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them. Now before proceeding any farther, lets make sure we understand the phrase, “that way.” This is a phrase that is used by the Jews to denote the way of that “rebel,” Jesus of Nazareth, and those who followed him! It is then, a phrase to refer to Christianity! Here are some other passages that reveal the use of this phrase. Some were even used by this apostle, before his conversion, and before his name was changed from Saul of Tarsus.
Acts 9:2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
Acts 19:23 And the same time there arose no small stir about that way.
Acts 22:4 And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.
Acts 28:22 But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against.
Therefore the last line to be crossed by these dissenters, was to publicly blaspheme the way of the Lord Jesus Christ and his gospel! Dear Reader, the greatest forgivable sin is blasphemy against the Son of God! But the greatest UN-forgivable sin is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit! Matthew 12:31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. 32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
Saul of Tarsus may have once mocked the name of Jesus, but he never mocked, nor ever resisted the influences of the Holy Spirit! Acts 9:5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? Acts 26:19 Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:
Even God Himself will not tolerate this! But will Himself, make a final and eternal separation of these souls from his own presence! 2 Thessalonians 1:7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
You do understand that this clearly and unchangeably sets forth the fact that God will eternally separate from Himself and his glorified believers, everyone who obeys not the gospel? This is the point of judgment upon every soul in the human race!
Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. And the only “rule” that any religious leader has is in the setting forth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which he, himself must also obey! For he is only authorized to teach others that which Lord Christ has commanded him! Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:
Here are some additional passages from the pen of the Apostle Paul concerning this matter. It makes up a considerable portion of your biblical instruction. Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
2 Thessalonians 3:6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. 14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.
1 Timothy 6:1 Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. 2 And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort. 3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; 4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, 5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
And just what is really at stake here? Is it not the holding forth of the name which God has highly exalted, which is above every name in this world? (Phil. 2:9). That is exactly the issue! This was the issue with the Apostle Paul. Acts 18:5 And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ. And this was also the issue with Apollos! Acts 18:28 For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.
Acts 19:13 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. 15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? 17 And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.
To deny the doctrine of the gospel is to deny the Person of the eternal Son of God! He IS the Word! He IS the truth! The scriptures are not given to originate or sustain religious denominations. The scriptures are here for only one reason – to set forth the Person of the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ! John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
And to deny that word is to be absent of faith! And without faith it is impossible to please God! (Heb. 11:6). For faith only comes by the Holy Spirit awakening the ear as he resurrects the soul by sovereign regeneration, providing the effectual call which quickens the spiritually dead sinner to life! Romans 9:16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. John 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. Zechariah 4:6b Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.
The receiving of the Holy Spirit for salvation is dependent upon the death and the glorifying of the Lord Jesus Christ. John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. John 7:39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) And all true faith rests upon this foundation! 1 Peter 1:21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. Therefore the apostle knew that it was at this point he had to separate the believing disciples from those publicly blaspheming the gospel! In order to “insulate” the true believers from the encroaching error, he had to “isolate” them!
God’s men have always held this belief. Matthew 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Here John the Baptist sets forth the precedent that the gospel way is to “flee” from religious error to Christ.
Even the first gospel message preached on planet Earth included this severe warning from the Apostle Peter! Acts 2:40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. And what were some of those “other words” he had proclaimed? Acts 2:32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. 36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
Also the Apostle John warns of the presence of antichrists already in the world, known by their disbelief of the doctrine of the Lord Jesus Christ! 1 John 4:2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. 2 John 7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
There already are huge billboards provided by the “Freedom From Religion Foundation,” on our nations highways (There was one on I-20 coming from Alabama to Georgia.), that advertise that there be no more religion in America! (See http://www.alternet.org/story/142978/imagine_no_religion_atheist_movement_gains_momentum”). And according to God’s word, that will someday come to pass. Revelation 17:16 And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. Revelation 11:10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.
Therefore the effectual word goes forth from the Lord by the Holy Spirit for all true godly souls to come out from among them! Rev. 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
Just as the believers in Thessalonica had to turn from idols, in order to be said to turn to God, so we must turn from all error, in order to be said to truly abiding in THE faith! 1 Thessalonians 1:9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;
May God have mercy on half-hearted church members!
Pastor Gene Breed
June 20, 2013