May 13, 2020
Scripture Passage: Acts 23
If you are criticized for standing for the Lord Jesus Christ, the Bible says, “Rejoice and be exceeding glad. Great is your reward in heaven.” (Matthew 5:12) This may seem easier said than done, however.
Scripture tells us that we will be criticized if we live for Jesus. How can we cope with criticism and have peace in times of persecution? Consider the apostle Paul, who was criticized for following the Lord Jesus Christ, and yet he went through it triumphantly.
First, he had a righteous life that came out of a good conscience. Acts 23:1 says, “I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day…” Our conscience is that inner voice that accuses us, or excuses us for our actions. It doesn’t make us good or bad, it simply defines for us what we truly believe is good or bad. However, if our conscience bothers us, then criticism will bother us. We must ensure that our conscience is free from defilement, searing, and evil. If we ever let our conscience get warped or burnt out, we will not be able to cope with criticism in a sound, biblical way.
The second thing that enabled Paul to stand as he did was his message of a resurrected Lord.
There is tension in the Gospel: the Son of God was crucified, killed, and rose from the dead three days later. When you truly preach the resurrection of Jesus Christ, it is a disturbing and dividing truth. Either Jesus rose from the grave, or He didn’t. Which side are you on?
Adrian Rogers says, “When you take a stand for truth you’re going to have a head-on collision with error.” This truth that disturbed and divided others is what delivered Paul. God gave him a reassuring lift, with a word of courage, commendation and confidence in his time of need.
If we are morally clean and theologically pure, we will be spiritually close to Jesus in times of suffering.
When this happens, not only will we cope with criticism, we might just rejoice in it.
Have you been facing criticism for following the Lord Jesus Christ? Use the example of Paul in Acts 23 to face it triumphantly.