But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.” (Acts 17:6)
Today’s big question: how does the gospel affect the world?
Atheists often claim they would believe in God if He sent them a sign. Even the Jewish religious leaders asked Jesus to show them a sign from heaven, and Jesus rebuked them for their unbelief (Matthew 15:38–42).
No amount of evidence will cause the skeptic to acknowledge God’s existence, as they will create a rescuing device to reason the truth away. They “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” because they do not want to submit to the Creator (Romans 1:18). In order to remain in unbelief, sinners must continually ignore or deny the abundant evidence for God, who has revealed Himself to us through His creation and His Word.
We should not base our faith on circumstances. However, it can greatly strengthen our faith to see the hand of God working in people’s hearts and lives, and to remember the miraculous deeds God has done in the past. The book of Acts is filled with accounts that demonstrate the life-transforming power of God’s truth. As the Apostles and other believers spread throughout the region, the name of Jesus Christ was boldly proclaimed, the Holy Spirit worked mightily with signs and wonders, and thousands were being saved.
Roman governing powers did not like this “new religion” because, among other reasons, converts to Christianity did not accept Caesar as supreme ruler, declaring instead that Jesus is Lord of all. These believers valued Christ more than their own lives and considered the things of this world to be worthless. Paul later wrote about this:
But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ. (Philippians 3:7–8)
The message of the Cross is contrary to everything in the sinful system of this world. Scripture states that “the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (1 John 5:19), and mankind’s focus is on selfish pleasure. But God calls believers to live differently. “For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world” (1 John 2:16).
When Paul and Silas came to Thessalonica, they were already infamous for preaching Christ—to the extent that they “turned the world upside down”! Are you known for your faith?
Today’s big idea: the gospel message transforms the world.
What to pray: thank God for the change His salvation has made in your life, and pray for boldness to affect the world around you.