The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us, saying,
“‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles,
that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”
And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region. But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. Acts 13:44-52.
It is one thing for a man to be preaching to a crowd. It’s another thing altogether when the crowds come out to hear him. And then it goes up a level of concern when it starts to change people’s lives. That’s because the status quo usually benefits someone, and that person, or persons, don’t want you rocking their boat.
Throughout history there has been a complacent ruling class. Once Christian religious leaders became part of that ruling class, they didn’t like the status quo being challenged, either. Before the Reformation in the 1500s, the Catholic Church would tamp down heretics that spoke out against the church’s wealth and corruption. When the printing press was invented, and the Bible started being published in various languages, the church did what it could to suppress that. When reformers spoke up and got a large following, the reformers were imprisoned, forced to recant, and/or were executed. And here, in America, we have had our Great Awakenings. And every one of them had opposition from the established churches of most if not all denominations. It will be no different now.
Our preaching and teaching should oppose the status quo. That is because we live in a sin-cursed world that is loathe to acknowledge the God who created us. It’s a world that wants to redefine reality in a way that satisfies its redefined morality. And it wants you to abandon your rights and your religion, and your nuclear family, and your traditions, and your gender roles, and anything that you think is normal. And if you resist it, you will be shamed, depersoned, cancelled, prosecuted, and punished to the full extent of their ever changing laws. So, if were going to stand up to the status quo, we had better win.