Why Do Men Oppose the Gospel Acts 4:1-3 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Why do men oppose the gospel? You would expect men to accept the gospel the same way that you have – like the Jews did who were pricked in their conscience in Acts 2:37 and like the Philippian jailer did in Acts 16:30. The trouble is that most of them don’t and we can find the principal reasons for this in Acts.
Your Different Doctrine – Acts 4:1-3; 5:28; 17:18-19 – the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection and the Pharisees were not preaching the resurrection from the dead the way that the apostles were – they believed in the resurrection of Israel in Ezek 37 but they didn’t believe in the resurrection of Jesus – without his resurrection, though, there would be no resurrection in Ezek 37 – when you preach Jesus to someone who is counting on a different doctrine to save them they are going to oppose you.
Your Wisdom and Spirit – Acts 6:10 – the wisdom and spiritual power of the gospel are unlike anything men can produce with their religions and this intimidates them to no end – in Stephen’s case, the Pharisees had to get up a mob against him because the could not resist his wisdom and spirit [1 Cor 2:4-8] – when the Holy Spirit speaks the wisdom of God’s words through you, they are powerful to reprove, rebuke, correct and instruct men – if they won’t receive the reproofs of instruction they will reject the gospel.
Their Religious Zeal – Acts 8:3 – Paul thought he was absolutely right to try to stop the gospel – his religious zeal stirred him to try to exterminate the movement [Phil 3:6; Acts 9:13-14] – the trouble is that he was fighting against God and didn’t know it [Acts 5:39] – people who are religious zealots won’t even begin to listen to you preach the gospel – their objective is to stop you.
Their Demon Possession – Acts 13:8-10; Acts 16:16-18 – a demon possessed person can be either viciously opposed or cooperatively opposed to the gospel – either way they are opposed because they are listening to the devil and not to the Holy Spirit – when you preach the gospel to a demon possessed person they’ll be listening to the devil, not you.
Their Leader’s Envy – Acts 13:45; 14:2; 17:5 – religious leaders cannot stand to see their followers drifting away from them – commonly in foreign countries, priests will contradict and blaspheme the preaching of the gospel to scare their followers away from the preachers of the gospel – if the person you are preaching to is afraid of religious retribution because of an envious leader they will quit listening to you.
Their Hardness and Unbelief – Acts 19:9; 18:6 – sin hardens people against God and when they are hardened against him they are definitely going to be hardened against your preaching – the Holy Spirit will reprove them of their unbelief but they often will not believe.