“Shutting up The Naysayers”
- Those of you have been faithful to our Wednesday night and Sunday afternoon services remember our study of chapter 10 and the vision that God gave to Peter and the vision of God given that was given to Cornelius.
- In chapter eleven we see Peter repeating the account to the Jews (of the circumcision) and in a minute we will discuss the results.
- Note the title of today’s message from God “Shutting Up the Naysayers.”
- “Shutting up” is a term that means to silence someone. It also has the meaning of doing something or saying something that causes people to be quiet.
- Now here is a new word for the deaf… “naysayers.” What is that?
- First of all, this word is not found in the KJV Bible.
- Webster’s Dictionary defines it as …one who opposes, refuses or denies someone or something habitually (Has a habit of doing it).
- How many of you have met people like that? Haven’t you met someone who is always looking for negative things in your life? Isn’t it funny or rather peculiar that they always do that when you are excited or wanting to rejoice about something.
- Folks, this is the devil at his finest. If anyone speaks negative towards the children of God, you can bank on the fact that they get their encouragement from the pits of hell. Satan is behind it. He is “the accuser of our brethren.” (Rev.12:10)
I. Peter Defending the Grace of God
A) The core of naysayers
- I want us to notice, pay attention very intently to the first 2 verses in Acts 11.
- Acts 11:1(KJV)…And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God.
- FIRST – Notice that the apostles and brethren (Christians, believers in the gospel of Jesus Christ, our brethren) that happened to be in in Judea preaching and teaching… “heard.”
- What did they hear? They heard…that the Gentiles (uncircumcised, and considered to be uncommon), “…had also received the word of God.”
- How did they hear that? I’ll tell you how they heard that… they heard it through the old-fashioned form of news called “The Devil’s Gazette.”
- What is “The Devil’s Gazette?” It is GOSSIP. Negative speaking about others.
- This form of news is so often in the mouths of those who believe themselves to be above reproach. They think they are better than the other so-called believers in Christ. These are “naysayers.”
- “Naysayers” are busybodies. People who do not work. People who are bored and they do nothing but go around and spread rumors, gossip, or trashy stories of other people.
- Solomon reminds us of these people who God hates in Proverbs 6:18…An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, 19) A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
- Why does God hate these people? Because God loves to build up that which is tore down, repair the broken, mend the torn apart.
- Naysayers do the opposite. They tear down, break things, and destroy anything that belongs to God. They are of the devil.
- SECOND – The second thing about naysayers is this… Look at verse 1
- What do you see wrong in this verse? What is it that is not right in the sight of God? Here it is “…they that were of the circumcision contended with him,”
- The word “contended” is a form of the word “contend.” To contend with someone is to fight in combat or opposition. Argue is another word for contention. Acts 11:2) And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him,
- There are those that have to argue every point you try to make. They are never people who encourage, or “edify” but rather discourage and tear down.
- Do you know who these people were here in Acts 11:2 that are contending with Peter? The Jewish believers in Christ. The brethren.
- They were upset because Jewish customs were blatantly breached. I mean it’s one thing to say Jesus is the Son of God and the Messiah the Jews had long awaited for, but Jesus friend and Lord of the Gentiles too? NO WAY!
- Do you know something else? This is an act of childlike selfishness saying something like … “He’s my friend not yours.”
- Look at verse 3) Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.
- These believers are mad because Peter broke tradition. Peter broke a mere law of Jewish ethics. Now Peter is considered to be unclean by the “Holier than thou” leaders. He has “cooties,” stay away.
- This is the core of naysayers. If you do these three things then you are a “naysayer.” 1) Gossip 2) Argue or oppose the man of God. 3) Cause trouble.
- May I also say that the man of God is not perfect. He is a mortal human being the same as you. If God’s man is doing something wrong, don’t worry about it and focus on what you are supposed to be doing. God will judge the man of God in His time.
B) Peter gives a testimonial
- Now look at Acts 11:4) But Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it by order unto them, saying,
- I want us to take note on two words… “rehearsed” and “expounded.”
- What did Peter “rehearse (review again)?” He repeated the account of what had happened to him in relation to God’s new order. “expounded” means that he gave a detailed account in chronological order as to God’s dealing with him. This is a testimony.
- A testimony is when someone gets up before others and tells of a true experience in their life that will help others who may experience the same thing.
- It is all about helping one another, lifting up one another, comforting one another, and etc.
- Peter’s testimony in Acts 11:5-17 is a blow by blow review of the account we studied weeks ago in Acts 10:1-23 and verses 28-33.
- Here is Peter’s testimony beginning in verse 5 and we won’t spend much time on it as we already have done so recently…
- Peter’s location – verse 5) I was in the city of Joppa
- Peter’s daily activity – praying:
- Peter’s interruption of God – and in a trance I saw a vision,
- Peter’s vision from God – A certain vessel descend, as it had been a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came even to me: 6) Upon the which when I had fastened mine eyes, I considered, and saw fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
- God speaks to Peter in the vision – 7) And I heard a voice saying unto me, Arise, Peter; slay and eat. 8) But I said, Not so, Lord: for nothing common (lawful according to Mosaic Law, no eating of split hoof animals) or unclean (not lawful, and split hoof animals) hath at any time entered into my mouth. 9) But the voice answered me again from heaven, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.
- God repeats the vision 3 times for clarity – 10) And this was done three times: and all were drawn up again into heaven. 11) And, behold, immediately there were three men already come unto the house where I was, sent from Caesarea unto me.
- Peter gives the testimony of Cornelius for support – 12) And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man’s house: 13) And he shewed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter; 14) Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved. 15) And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.
- Peter remembers the Word of the Lord – 16) Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. 17) Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?
- Peter’s testimonial reads more like a sermon to me.
- Note the last part of Peter’s recollection of Jesus’ words in verse 16… John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.”
- Note the different baptisms?
- With water – This water baptism is a picture of Jesus Christ death, burial, and resurrection as is our death and burial of our sins to be resurrected in a new life with Christ Jesus. This is the REPENTANCE that John the Baptist preached about in Matthew 3:11a…I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance:
- With the Holy Ghost – But the rest of that verse 11b, says…but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: The Holy Ghost baptism is with us at salvation. The moment we make a decision to have Jesus be the Lord of our life, the Holy Spirit moves in and takes up residence in our body (…Ye the temple of God, I Cor. 3:16) and convicts us of wrong doing, and the Lord’s leading.
C) When they heard these things
- I want us to pay close attention here in this next verse as we break it down…
- Acts 11:18) When they heard these things,” You know as well as I do that not everybody hears the same thing. Not everyone is on the same page. Some are daydreaming and some perceive what they heard differently. May I say that I believe that everyone present at this particular moment in time “heard” every word that Peter preached. The Holy Spirit has that ability to be in hearts everywhere. He certainly has the power of God to do whatever to whomever. Not only did they “hear,” the words of God through the voice of Peter, but they understood it perfectly. The Holy Spirit of God gives to us understanding and wisdom. Note James 3:17… But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated (willing to yield), full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. Do you know how I know the Holy Spirit of God moved through these people’s heart? Look at the results after hearing the words of God…
- “…they held their peace,” before the sermon, they were contentious, and reading Peter the riot act. Now what? They hold back what they wanted to say. They became “…peacable, gentle, willing to yield to the Spirit of God, merciful to the Gentiles, non-partial, and not hypocritical.”
- “… and glorified God,” They gave God the recognition and glory for what the Holy Spirit had done through Peter. This is what an “Old Fashioned Revival” is all about. You hear the word of God preached, you get your toes stepped on (get under conviction), go to the altar and bawl your eyes out in repentance over what you have been doing. There is no repentance anymore in the house of God because everyone is trying to justify their bad actions and open rebellion with flimsy excuses that carry no weight with God. People that do that… have their judgment day coming.
- “… saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.” The Jews now are basically saying… “Welcome to the Kingdom of God.” What does it mean… “granted repentance unto life?” It means that God grants (awards) eternal life (in heaven) to those who repent of their sin. The Jews were awarded that always but now the Gentiles can be awarded the same grace of God that the Jews enjoy. Praise the Lord Jesus Christ!
- This shocking event here in verse 18 was prophesied in the O.T. (Isaiah 42:1, 6). The event being that sinners come to repentance. Isaiah 42:1…Behold my servant (the Messiah, Jesus Christ), whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. This judgment is justice for the Gentile nations.
- Isaiah 42:6…I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;
- God is saying here that I have anointed you (Israel) in righteousness, comfort, and protection and now I am offering a new and better covenant (which is Jesus Christ) to you and the Gentile nation.
- “…for a light of the Gentiles.” You should remember that the word “light” many times especially in the N.T. refers to understanding. The understanding of God and the things of God are going to be available to the Gentiles in the future (Which is after Jesus /Messiah comes)
- You want to know how to shut up the “Nay-sayers?” Give them Jesus. Give them the real service to God that He deserves. Jesus can change their heart, but you cannot do it by you yourself. We need the assistance of Jesus.
II. The Early Church (Christians)
A) The Church is scattered
- Now look at Acts 11:19…Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.
- There is a lot to be said in this verse that describes the situation that the early church was facing. Let us examine the verse…
- “Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen” These were the Jerusalem Jews that were scattered because of the persecution of Paul towards the church in Acts 8 and the stoning of Stephen was the icing on the cake that caused them to flee the area and go to the following places mentioned…
- “…travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, In Acts 8, the “regions” are described as Judea and Samaria. Here we see Luke giving us a more exact location as to cities in those regions.
- “…preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.” Here is a truth that is about to be changed. The Jews were afraid of the Gentiles and what they might do to those who still believe in Jesus Christ.
- Acts 11:20) And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. Men of Cyprus and Cyrene were Greeks (non-Jews), or preferred…Gentiles. Did you understand the fact that these were early church Gentile preachers? What were they preaching? “…the Lord Jesus.” They were teaching and preaching the doctrines (Beliefs) of Jesus Christ.
- Note verse 21) And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord. I am sure that the talk of Jerusalem and all the Jewish towns around were that they were a church of Satan following that false prophet called Jesus. You know how people are. People believe what they want to believe and think what they want to think and these people have always been a problem to the church. They honor God with their lips but their heart is far from Him.
BUT… Luke explains here “And the hand of the Lord was with them…” You know what that means? God blessed them! He made them what? “Happy” in the Lord.
- The “naysayers” were trying to omit the Gentiles. But the hand of God was stronger. They couldn’t shut them up. People will be people and as long as people are on this earth there will be “naysayers” (people who oppose you).
- Acts 11:22…Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.
- Why did they send Barnabas? He was well liked by many and equally by the Apostles. He was the one who calmed Peter and Paul. But more importantly, Barnabas was sent because he was from Cyrene and knew many people there as well as their customs and such and if anyone could support these people for the cause of Christ…it is Barnabas.
- Do you want to know how the situation went with Barnabas at Antioch?
- Read Acts 23) Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. 24) For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.
- Did you get all that? Barnabas (A man sent from God, not the church at Jerusalem) had seen God’s grace applied to these Gentiles and Jews to a point of their being excited and growing.
- Luke writes that Barnabas “exhorted” (comforted) them all. The reason he did this (purpose of his heart) was for the intent purposes of making sure that the early church did not die. He comforted and encouraged them to “…cling unto to the Lord.” Don’t change their belief because of some threat against their life or death of the church. Cling to Jesus he preached.
III. Barnabas Hooks Up With Saul
A) Seeking Saul
- Acts 11:25) Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul:
- Do you think Saul was hard to find? You bet he was. He was still running from the threats of those who remember his past.
- Barnabas was very forgiving and loved by all. Barnabas had established a good report of the Christians at Antioch. After he was confident in his good friendship and fellowship of the believers at Antioch, he went for Saul.
- I also can’t help but know that the entire time Barnabas was at Antioch fellowshipping with the brethren there…he edified Saul. I believe that Barnabas was riddled with questions by the people there and Barnabas shut them down. He edified his new brother in Christ Saul.
- This to me is the epitome of Christian behavior. We have too much criticism in the church today and not enough edification.
- Look at verse 26) And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch. This is where the term “Christians” was founded.
- The name “Christians” here means…the party of Christ, or Christ-like.