Paul the Apostle – Wayne Barber/Part 18
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©1992|
|We find Paul in another precarious predicament in this study. He’s always in trouble. If you want to find Paul in the New Testament, find the local jail or find a riot somewhere. Paul is usually right in the middle of it. He’s a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ and because of that, a lot of persecution comes his way.|
Ephesians 1:1; Acts 22 and 23
Paul: The Messenger – Part 7
We find Paul in another precarious predicament in this study. He’s always in trouble. If you want to find Paul in the New Testament, find the local jail or find a riot somewhere. Paul is usually right in the middle of it. He’s a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ and because of that, a lot of persecution comes his way. He is still technically in the custody of the Roman soldiers. Remember, God had told him to go to Jerusalem and go to Rome. He has come to Jerusalem. He has been falsely accused, and he’s been chained by the Roman soldiers. Something unique happened in Acts 22:25-29. We looked at it a little bit before. Let’s look at it again.
In verse 25 it says, “And when they stretched him out with thongs.” That is not exactly right. It should read “for the purpose of the thongs.” They were going to whip him. “Thongs” describes the whip they would use. It was a piece of leather with long leather strips flowing out of it which had pieces of metal in the end. That was the “thongs.” They stretched him out to whip him.
The Roman soldiers had been convinced by what this religious crowd had told them, that Paul was the guilty one. Out of all the all religious people there, Paul was the only one who was right before God. It had confused the Roman soldiers. So, they make a terrible oversight. They forget something. Let’s read the text. “Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, ‘Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman and uncondemned?’” Oh, they’ve got problems. You see, Paul had already told this commander he was from Tarsus of Cilicia. He should have understood that Paul was a Roman citizen because Paul spoke Greek and Hebrew. I’m not real impressed with this commander. It doesn’t appear to me that he’s got it all together because somehow he overlooks this.
Well, they have already chained him and they have seen him beaten. You cannot beat or chain a Roman citizen until he has had a trial. In other words, he is innocent until proven guilty. They’ve got big problems. “And when the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and told him, saying, ‘What are you about to do? For this man is a Roman.’ And the commander came and said to him, ‘Tell me, are you a Roman?’ And he said, ‘Yes.’“ Now watch. “And the commander answered, ‘I acquired this citizenship with a large sum of money.’” That was one way you could become a Roman citizen, by paying a large sum of money. Well, look what Paul said. “But I was actually born a citizen.” Oh, no. That meant he was a pure Roman. This man got his citizenship by paying for it, and he’s the commander of the army. “Therefore those who were about to examine him immediately let go of him; and the commander also was afraid when he found out that he was a Roman, and because he had put him in chains.”
There is a principle here. If we overlook it, we have missed something that is wonderful. God knew Paul was exactly the right man for the job. He wanted him to take the message of judgment to the Jews there in Jerusalem, but also to the Romans. You see, God knew that Paul was a Roman citizen. He also was a Jew by birth and even was a Pharisee at one time in life. He knew exactly what Paul needed to accomplish the task that was His business, not Paul’s, there in Jerusalem.
The thought came to me as I was studying this. I would like to encourage your hearts with it. None of us are perfect. Paul was not perfect. You can write it down. God knows your weaknesses. God knows your faults. However, when you are in the middle of where He wants you to be, your strengths and all that you have to offer to Him is exactly what is required for whatever it is that God is up to.
Let me say it another way. I think sometimes of my weaknesses. One of them is writing notes. I get notes from people that just bless me. When I do, I think, “Why don’t I ever write any notes?” I don’t like to make a lot of phone calls. I used to call my mother collect on her birthday. I didn’t really think of it being bad. There is something missing in me. There’s a lot of things missing in me. I don’t show my gratefulness one to one like I wish I could. I’ll try to say it from the pulpit. There’s just a lot of deficiency when I look in a mirror. Every day I look at Wayne. There is one thing that comforts me. When God called me, He evidently knew what He wanted to use in this area to accomplish His work with His people. Even though there are a lot of things that are wrong, whatever is right must be exactly what God required or He wouldn’t have called us to begin with. Now that’s encouraging to me.
You may be in a situation, and you are right in the middle of God’s perfect will in your life. You don’t have to worry about what you are not. It is what you are in Christ that God wanted to begin with. It is His purpose, not our purposes, that we are fulfilling. God had a man He wanted to use. His name was Paul. Don’t deify Paul. Don’t praise Paul. Praise God for the beautiful wisdom that He had in selecting exactly the right man to reach those in Jerusalem and to reach those in Rome. That encourages our heart.
You see, we think too much of ourselves so often. We are always trying to be something else. No sir. You just need to be surrendered and let God use you and do through you what He wants to do. It’ll be exactly what fits His eternal and divine purposes, wherever you are. Well, that didn’t cost you anything extra.
Paul is taken before the Jewish Council in verse 30. This commander, he can’t let it drop. He knows Paul is a Roman now. He knows he’s messed up. He’s just got to find out what Paul is guilty of. He can’t seem to pinpoint it. In verse 30 it says, “But on the next day, wishing to know for certain why he had been accused by the Jews, he released him and ordered the chief priests and all the Council to assemble, and brought Paul down and set him before them.” Now this is a predicament. I want you to sort of enter into it in this study. You’ve got a Council that is called the Sanhedrin. That’s a better name. Perhaps you will relate to it quicker. It’s made up of the Sadducees and Pharisees. The commander goes down and picks this particular Council. It’s actually an informal gathering, as you will see in a moment. He tells them to come together and see if Paul could answer each one of them.
Let me give you an idea what this Council is like. This is the Council that had violated every sense of conscience when they had caused Jesus to be crucified. They didn’t think a thing about it. This is how ungodly, fleshly and carnal this religious Council really is. They had violated every sense of conscience when they had justified themselves by stoning Stephen. Paul was there. He was named Saul at the time. They justified it. They even sent Saul and others out to find other believers, those guilty of the Way, so they could bring them in and crucify them and murder them. This was the same Council. On the outside they were “religious,” but on the inside they were as filthy as you can possibly get. They had plotted murder. They used a traitor to accomplish their purpose. They caused witnesses to perjure themselves. They had lied. They had hated. They had shed innocent blood. They had committed crime after crime, and they did every bit of it with a seared conscience. Now Paul was going to have to answer to this ungodly group, but they were the “religious” authority.
I think one of the difficulties of being surrendered to the Lord is when you are walking as best as you know how, you’re surrendered before God, you’re walking in the fullness and the presence of God, and men appoint themselves to become an authority to question you on your motive and on your own actions. That will always be there. It’s not going to change. This is in churches all over our country. People who are either men-appointed or self-appointed to positions of authority, who don’t have a clue about walking with God, love to question and accuse falsely the people God has chosen to use.
Now how do you handle a group like that? What do you do when you are called on the carpet by a group of folks you know good and well don’t even know Christ, much less are surrendered to Him. How do you handle a group like that? They are in authority, religious authority, and you have to face them. The civil authority has told Paul, “You go.” He has to go. He is bound by law. How did he handle this ungodly “religious” group? Maybe it will encourage your heart. I want you to see how in control God really is of His people. When you are surrendered, God takes it from that point.
The first thing Paul does beginning in 23:1 is he declares his innocence before God. In doing that, he disarms their accusation. Let me show you what he does. It says, “And Paul, looking intently at the Council, said, ‘Brethren, I have lived my life with a perfectly good conscience before God up to this day.’” The way he greeted them shows you that it is an impromptu Council. He didn’t use the word “Fathers” like he did earlier when he met the elders there in Jerusalem. He didn’t give an official greeting. He gave an informal greeting. Evidently, this was a group that was thrown together from the Council to satisfy the commander’s desire to know what Paul had done wrong. Paul declares his innocence.
Now, before I go any further, his innocence regarding what? He was falsely accused of four things. In 21:27-30 he is saying, I am innocent of these charges, basically is the bottom line of what he is saying here before the Council. “And when the seven days were almost over [He’s been in the Temple cleansing himself to disarm some of the criticism by the local believers], the Jews from Asia, upon seeing him in the temple, began to stir up all the multitude and laid hands on him, crying out, ‘Men of Israel, come to our aid! This is the man who preaches to all men everywhere against our people.’” Now these unbelieving Jews from over in Asia, probably the Ephesus area, said Paul had preached against the Jews. Oh no. He had written Romans three months before, and in Romans 9, he shows how he feels. In that chapter Paul says, “I wish myself to be accursed so that my brethren could come to know Christ.” He would never preach against his people. That was a false accusation.
Secondly, it says he preached to all people against the law. No, no. Paul explained what the Law was for, but he never preached against it. This was a false accusation. In verse 28, thirdly, they said he preached to all men everywhere against this place. What place? They were in the temple. “He preached against the temple,” they said. No, Paul didn’t preach against it. He just explained what it pointed to in the new covenant. The worst charge they made against him, however, is worthy of death under the Jewish Law. It comes up in the last part of the verse: “and besides he has even brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.” That was an outright lie based on nothing more than conjecture. Look at the next verse. “For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with him, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple.”
These were all false accusations made against Paul. Paul has been put before the Council, the leaders of these folks, to decide whether he was guilty or not and to decide of what he was guilty. In 23:1 he unequivocally declares his innocence. Look at what it says, “And Paul, looking intently at the Council, said, ‘Brethren, I have lived my life with a perfectly good conscience before God up to this day.’” The word for “conscience” there is the word suneidesis. It’s the word that has to do with an inner witness that God has according to one’s actions and motivations.
Let me put it another way. Paul is saying, “As far as I know, my conscience is clear before God. God is my witness of all that I do, of all that I think. He is my witness.” Paul does not defend himself. He appeals to the one who can stand in his defense. What Paul is saying is, “If you have an accusation against me, then show me biblically where it is, or you have no claim against me. If I am innocent and right before God, then I am innocent and right before you. You are going to have to show me how I’m wrong biblically or spiritually or you have no case against me.”
Boy, that was wonderful to see how he handled that. When people come at you, and they accuse you of this or that, and it is false and you know it, and you know their double lifestyle and you know they don’t know where they are coming from, don’t defend yourself. Simply appeal to the One who rules your conscience and say, “As far as I know, it’s clear with God. If He has shown you something that He hasn’t shown me, then show me biblically or show me spiritually in my life, and I’ll deal with it. If you can’t do it, then back off. You have no claim on my life.” Paul knew that he had done none of the things that they had accused him of.
Now, when he is forced to stand before those who are deceitfully religious, he simply says, “My conscience is clear before God.” Paul tells Timothy to live with a clear conscience. If you are living that way now, then you don’t have to worry about it. When you are accused, you appeal to your lifestyle. You appeal to your heart. You appeal to God who knows your heart. If they don’t receive what you say, that is not your problem. That’s their problem. God will deal with them. Make sure you are living cleansed before Him with a clear conscience so that when they accuse you falsely, you won’t have to defend yourself. You can let God be your defense.
Now you say, “Wayne, I’m not going to be in a situation like this.” Oh folks, can’t you see the application here, the principle that flows so beautifully here? When you start living your life surrendered to Christ, how many people, all of a sudden, step up into positions of either self-appointed or men-appointed authority and love to rip you to shreds with their false accusations regarding your methods or your motive of what you are doing in your life? Churches are filled with people like this. You know that. I trust that ours isn’t.
When I first came to Woodland Park, I came out of the land of the Philistines. I had been there two and a half years going on 13. When I came here I guess I must have preached awfully hard. I remember one day, about six weeks after I had been there, I was getting into my car after the service. Evidently I had preached a blistering message about something. One of the people in the church walked up to me and put his arm around me. I’ll be grateful to him for all of eternity. He said, “Wayne, I want to tell you something. We love you here, and this is not your former church. You can just relax. These people here love you.” I got in the car and went home. My wife and I sat at the table. I said, “They really do love us here.”
Can you understand where Paul has been? Man, I have been shot at. You wouldn’t believe the people out there who religiously are in positions of authority who have no clue as to what it means to walk with God. They can take the rules and rumors and absolutely devastate your life with them. What do you do when you have to handle them? You are going to have to until He comes back because the world is full of people who play games with God. They love to question the people God uses. What do you do? You don’t defend yourself. You let God be your defense. What an encouragement that is to our hearts.
There is one particular thing I love about Billy Graham. A lot of folks don’t like Billy Graham, but I can’t find anything wrong with him. I just like him. One thing I like about him is the fact that he’s never answered one letter of criticism since he’s been in the ministry. Not one. He has nothing to defend. You see, when you start recognizing it, you dignify it. That’s what you don’t want to do.
What do you do when they come at you, and they think they’ve got a handle on what you are doing when they haven’t got a clue? You just appeal to God to be the judge of your conscience. If they can’t show you scripturally or spiritually where your motive or method is wrong, they have no claim whatsoever against you.
Well, he disarms their accusations. Secondly, he confronts the deceitfulness of his accusers. He literally tears down their authority. He defuses all of their authority. He disarms it completely. Now watch verse 2: “And the high priest Ananias commanded those standing beside him to strike him on the mouth.” “Slap him on the mouth,” is basically what he said. “Then Paul said to him [I love this], ‘God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! And do you sit to try me according to the Law, and in violation of the Law order me to be struck?’”
It might help you to know who this Ananais is. Paul knows who he is. He is not the Ananias mentioned in Acts 4:7. If we are correct in the date of the writing of all of this and when this took place, this is a different Ananias. He was not out of the high priest line. You know they were born out of the tribe of Levi. They had to come a certain way. They were really born into being a high priest. This man had been appointed by a man named Herod. That’s not the Herod you think, but by a man named Herod. History tells us he was appointed to be the high priest over Israel because of his wealth. Well, he rules from about 48 AD to 52 AD. As a matter of fact, history records that in 52 AD he was called on the carpet in Rome because he was such a violent and cruel man. Reports had gotten back to them of how he had treated some Samaritans.
This was a facade. These people had already shown what they were like. They were cruel, violent people. They were appointed because of wealth and power. They had nothing to do with being a high priest. So Paul basically says, “You whitewashed wall! God is going to judge you.” Let’s look at what he says here and see if we can pick it apart. First of all, we don’t know for sure if he struck him or not. Roman law said before a man has been tried and found guilty, you cannot lay a hand on him. The Roman commander is standing right there. Would he have allowed this man to slap him? Under Roman law, he is a Roman citizen. He cannot be touched. Oh, no. Maybe he struck him and maybe he didn’t. It doesn’t say if he did or not. It just says that he was ordered to strike him on the mouth.
“Then Paul said to him, ‘God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall!’” He totally defuses the man’s authority right there in front of everybody. He just basically confronts his deceitfulness. The same words are used by Jesus in Matthew 23:27. Let’s go back over there. We’ve looked at it last earlier kind of quickly, but let’s go back over there. This is the exact same thing that Jesus said. Verse 27 says, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are all like whitewashed tombs [What is a whitewashed tomb?] which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.’“
Do you know what Paul is saying? “I know your lifestyle. You are no more a high priest than I am Santa Claus. You are not who you say you are. You are a whitewashed wall. On the inside there is nothing but a filthy lifestyle. You are in a position of religious authority which men have put you in, but you are a joke when it comes to being a high priest.”
Well, now, go on. “But the bystanders said, ‘Do you revile God’s high priest?’” Now, either Paul didn’t know who this Ananias was or he did know. I think he did know. Verse 5 says, “And Paul said, ‘I was not aware, brethren, that he was high priest.”“ It could be either way. Maybe he didn’t know. Maybe this was a different Ananias. Maybe Paul has been gone too long and didn’t know who he was. I don’t get that feeling. I get the feeling that Paul says, “I know why he was appointed. It has nothing to do with the Jewish law. He was appointed because of his power and because of his wealth.” He says, “for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’” I think Paul might have been saying, “I don’t respect that position because I know how you got there. I know the deceitfulness of your life.”
Well, one way or the other, he confronts their deceitfulness. He basically disarms the authority of the group that is bringing the accusations to his life. It is important to know that Paul was a man who respected authority, but he didn’t respect people who were in authority who had absolutely no lifestyle to back it up.
There are those times in our life when we are called on the carpet by people who have not got a clue. They are people who have no lifestyle to back it up, either man-appointed or self-appointed. We have a right, first of all, to appeal to God for our conscience. He is our Judge. He’ll defend us.
Secondly, I believe there are also those times when you can confront the deceitfulness of the people for bringing false accusations against you. You have the right to mention their lifestyle and their own walk that is not with Jesus. You have that right at certain times. How do you do it? I’d be very careful about calling somebody a whitewashed wall. That might not be the best thing to do. You know, I would love to handle it other ways at times. I mean, wouldn’t it have been nice to say, “Come here” and drag him outside the back of the church. We would just solve the whole thing right there. That’s not the way it is. Paul simply, under the authority of God, pleads to God to be his judge and then reminds this guy of his two-faced lifestyle. He called him a whitewashed wall.
Remember this. Any time somebody ever accosts you publicly, they are not right with God, period. They have an ulterior motive and don’t have a clue as to what is going on. They just somehow don’t like it. I love the people who come to me privately. That is the way it ought to be done, under an umbrella. I never pay attention to people who accuse me in front of a group because they’ve got some other agenda they are trying to make. When they will come to you privately, that’s when you need to take it seriously and make sure that there isn’t something wrong, and that maybe God is trying to speak to your heart.
Thirdly and finally, he turned the Council against themselves. He just dismisses the whole activity. This is wonderful. You’ve got to see this. If you miss it, you are missing something. I mean, God gives him wisdom. It is incredible right. God is so creative, if you’ll just listen to Him in situations like this. God is in control of it. Look at what he does in verse 6: “But perceiving that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees.” Now wait a minute. Hold it. “Perceiving” is in the aorist tense. Does that mean Paul came to the understanding at that very minute that this Council was made up of Sadducees and Pharisees? Oh, come on. Paul had been a Pharisee for a long time. He knew what the Council was made up of, but I get the idea that God says, “Hey, Paul, psst. This is the Sanhedrin. Are you paying attention? Paul, they’ve got two groups in this room.” It dawned on him how to take advantage of their own situation.
You say, “What’s the big deal?” The Sadducees was a sect of Judaism as the Pharisees were. They were in total disagreement with one another. The Sadducees didn’t believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. They didn’t believe in any after-life at all. They didn’t believe in angels or in spirits. The Pharisees believed in the hope of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. They were totally divided against each other, yet they made up this council.
God gave Paul the wisdom. He got them fighting each other. Watch this. “But perceiving that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, Paul began crying out in the Council [I love this], ‘Brethren, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees’” In Philippians 3:5 Paul says, “I was once according to the Law a Pharisee.” Was he a member of the Sanhedrin? I don’t think so, but he knew what was going on. He knew why he was really being tried. It was because of the gospel message he was preaching, which had the hope of the resurrection built right in the center. So Paul says, “I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees; I am on trial for the hope and resurrection of the dead!”
In a little bit different sense, it would be like being in a room where the crowd was coming against you. Part were Alabama fans, and part were Tennessee fans. Right in the middle of it, God says, “Put your Tennessee hat on.” You put your Tennessee hat on, and one side says, “Alright. He’s one of us.” The other side says, “Oh no. He’s not one of us.” Automatically you just simply defused the whole issue. Now you’ve got them fighting each other. I love the creativity here.
Verse 8 says, “For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor an angel, nor a spirit; but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.” Now look at verse 7: “And as he said this, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and Sadducees; and the assembly was divided.” I think this commander ought to be commended. I mean, he hasn’t got it all together anyway. He doesn’t know. He tries to get this derelict group up to try to find out what was going on, and now he has got one royal mess on his hands. He’s got the whole room fighting each other.
Look at verse 9: “And there arose a great uproar; and some of the scribes of the Pharisaic party stood up and began to argue heatedly [Look at what they’re doing. They are taking up Paul’s case] saying, ‘We find nothing wrong with this man; suppose a spirit or an angel has spoke to him?’” Now wait a minute. The other group doesn’t believe in spirits and angels. You’ve got one royal chaotic situation.
Look at verse 10: “And as a great dissension was developing, the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them and ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force, and bring him into the barracks.” God says, “Okay, meeting is over, Paul.” Then God gets him out of there with a military escort. The Council is over. Just trust God anytime you are confronted, anytime you are put on the spot. Don’t sit down and try to figure out what you are going to say. Let God be your defense. Listen to Him. He might allow you to address the two-face people who accost you publicly. The beautiful thing is how He’ll dismiss the whole thing if you will just listen to him. He is so creative in the way that He does it.
When I went over to Romania the first time, I couldn’t wait to go three months before I left, but when I left I did not want to get on the plane. Stephen said to me, “Dad, why are you going? They are going to put you in jail and shoot you.” “Thank you, son. I appreciate the encouragement.” I went over to Frankfort, Germany. I got on the plane in Frankfort to fly to Bucharest. There was one other person, or maybe two on the plane. I can’t remember exactly. I knew nobody was going there for a vacation. That was for sure. I got there in Bucharest, and I was just in a cold sweat. I said, “Well, Lord, if You’ve led me over here, You are going to have to get me through this place.” Getting in is not the problem. It’s getting out.
I walked in and we went through all the different booths. This man was sitting there with an old drab green uniform on. Everything is just so poor and torn down. It’s just shoddy. I was standing there, and they gave me a little piece of paper to fill out. I prayed before I filled out that piece of paper. I said, “God give me wisdom to write the things you want me to write.” I really did, because I didn’t know what they were looking for. Nobody had talked to me about that. That was one little oversight in our conversations about going over there. How do you fill these things out? It said “Birthday,” except I didn’t see “birth.” I just saw “day,” so I wrote August 5, 1987 on the little slip. Honestly and truthfully, I didn’t see birth date on it. I think the Lord blinded me. I want to tell you why.
I walked up to the booth. I was told, “They don’t laugh over here. They don’t even smile. So, don’t even act like anything is humorous at all.” That’s hard. I have to practice that. They told me to act aloof. I didn’t have to practice that at all. I am standing there, and I hand the guy the little piece of paper. He sits there and looks at it for a few minutes, and he starts laughing. Hold it. They told me they didn’t do that. He starts laughing, and I don’t know what’s going on. I have no idea. I can’t understand him. He’s speaking in broken English. He said, “You are a little young to travel, aren’t you?” I’m thinking, “Well, let’s see. This is 1987, so I’m 44.” I couldn’t understand what he was saying. He went, “Ha, ha, ha.” He thought it was hilarious. I guess they don’t have much to laugh at over there, so anything is a help. I kept looking at him, and finally he said, “You were born August 5, 1987!!! Ha, ha, ha.” I’m thinking, “Well, if he thinks its funny, I do, too.” So I laughed with him.
Everybody was being questioned for sometimes up to two hours. He just got to laughing and said, “Oh, go on. Thank you.” I walked over and took my bags. I had bags full of medicine, vitamins and everything. I’ve had back problems ever since I tried to carry those things. Those things were right up to the very weight they would allow. I put it up on the baggage check counter. The man over at the booth is still laughing. He said, “Oh, go on. Let him go. He’s alright. Let him go.” I went right through the baggage check, right through the passport thing, got in a taxi, and I said, “This is a piece of cake.”
God is so creative, if we will just listen to Him. When you are doing what God tells you to do, it may not be a popular decision that everybody is going to like it. People who are religious will be your self-appointed critics. That’s one of the reasons our church changed from “committees” to “support groups.” Committees think the only reason they meet is to criticize everybody. No, they are to meet and support everybody, so we changed the name. A lot of people are self-appointed. A lot of people are men- appointed. The people who really want to say it are afraid to, so they appoint somebody who is more verbal. When they accost you about what you are doing in the name of Christ, can I give you a word of encouragement? Don’t defend yourself. If God is doing it, buddy, they will answer to Him big time. All you’ve got to do is listen to His direction. Sometimes He is going to let you point out their own deceitfulness. Sometimes He’ll give you such a creative way. He’ll dismiss the whole thing in such a humorous way, you’ll get a laugh out of it before it’s all over with.
Folks, listen, when you are obeying God, don’t fear anything. Who cares what man thinks. It’s what He thinks that makes the difference. When we all get to heaven, He’s not going to ask, “Wayne, what did you do to please the people at your church?” He is going to ask, “What did you do to please me?” Paul said, “When you start trying to please men, you have just stopped trying to please God.”
So we have an agenda which is His, not ours. Remember, where He guides, He provides and what He initiates, He anoints. Where are you? Is somebody accusing you? Is somebody trying to chew you up because you are doing God’s will? Don’t sweat it. Have a clear conscience with God. Let Him defend you. You don’t have to worry about them. You worry about Him. That’s the biggest thing.