Turning the World Rightside Up

MEMORY SELECTION: “This Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.” —Acts 17:3


YEARS prior to the time of our selected scripture text Jesus said: “He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”—John 3:18-21

And so we read in our text that Paul, as was his custom, went to the synagogue in Thessalonica and preached the Gospel to the Jews. Some believed and associated themselves with Paul. In addition, a large number of Greeks received the message gladly. But all this activity adversely affected the unbelieving Jews, and the scripture states: “But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.”—Acts 17:5

The unbelieving Jews were filled with envy, apparently because of their loss of control of the people, which of course would eventually lead to a loss of their privileged status. Their status and position in society was based upon the precepts of fear, which were devised by men, and not upon the Word of God. The Gospel freed men from the precepts of darkness.

This has been the experience of all the Lord’s people down through the Gospel Age, wherever the Gospel has been actively and aggressively preached. The unbelieving Jews found their security in the arrangement of the Law, and particularly in the traditions of the elders; and when these things of darkness were threatened by the spirit of God, which is light, they reacted violently. The same condition has been present in the nominal church systems. When established creeds, which generally reflect the darkness of the systems, are threatened with the light of the Gospel, the proponents of creedalism react violently. And so the true church has experienced persecution down through the Gospel Age.

The Apostle Paul in II Corinthians 4:8-13 describes the lot of the true footstep followers of Jesus during this present time as follows: “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. … We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak.”

In this text the apostle quoted from Psalm 116:10, which is a prophecy concerning Jesus, and it reads, “I believed, therefore have I spoken: I was greatly afflicted.” So Jesus, in preaching the Gospel of light, suffered the contradiction (opposition) of sinners. And he told his followers: “The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?”—Matt. 10:24,25

The world, during this present time, is in opposition to the truth, and it will continue to be so until the Gospel of the kingdom is preached in all the world as a witness. Then shall the end of this age come. When the footstep followers of Jesus will have been gathered out from the world, then the glorious new age of the kingdom will begin. The work of the kingdom will be to turn the world right side up.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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