Gospel Haters

One of the most primal emotions is jealousy. There are many acts that arise from jealousy. Our text (Acts 17:13-15) today evidences one act that springs from jealousy – hate. The word hate has been around for a long time. Dictionary.com defines hater as one who dislikes intensely or passionately; feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward; The Urban Dictionary defines hater as a person that develops a strong dislike for another, solely basing their own opinion on personal judgment rather than objective merit. The formation of a hater’s contempt commonly arises from jealously and/or resentment.

In most cases when someone is a “hater”, the issues are really not that important. The hate arises over trivial matters that are otherwise insignificant in the scope of life. That is not the case in Acts 17:13-15. What we see there are Gospel Haters. Let’s listen to the Word of God

10 As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 12 As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.

13 But when the Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God at Berea, some of them went there too, agitating the crowds and stirring them up. 14 The believers immediately sent Paul to the coast, but Silas and Timothy stayed at Berea. 15 Those who escorted Paul brought him to Athens and then left with instructions for Silas and Timothy to join him as soon as possible.

Verses 10-12 offer us a contrast to which we must view the Gospel Haters. In the post The Charge of Hearing Christ Proclaimed, the plaudits for the Bereans were shared. The focus of the post today is how the Gospel Haters responded to the gospel of Jesus Christ. One thing about “haters” is that they don’t let things go. They are sour responders. Earlier in Acts 17, there were some Jews who did not like that people were believing the gospel message. When they learned that Paul and Silas were still preaching the gospel, they came to Berea to cause problems for them. In fact, the text from verse 13 says that they began agitating the crowds and stirring  them up. In essence, they gave cause to a disruption then fueled that flame in efforts to derail Paul and Silas’ efforts to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. That’s a Gospel Haters.

Even in Acts 17:13-15, we do not see a new phenomena in terms of haters. This has been the case for a long time. We see it with Cain and Abel, with Saul and David, with the king of Israel and Micaiah, with John the Baptist and Herod and especially with Jesus. When one proclaims the gospel, you can expect to have someone to hate you. Jesus said in John 15:19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” There are many other statements made about Gospels Haters.

The one thing that we need to remember is that the only reward worth being hated for is for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. People will hate us for all kinds of reasons, but the only one that truly matters is if we are taking a stand for Christ and proclaiming His Name as the only Savior and Lord. Who hates you and why?



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