Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Being “Set Straight” for Jesus!

If there is anything that can get a person stirred up it would have to be when they are “kicking against the goads” of Scriptural truth! The term “goads”comes from the Greek word Kentron (κεντρα) which literally means a thorn or a prick, or as Barnes puts it, “any sharp point which will pierce or perforate, as the sting of a bee.”1 It was used by the Lord when he confronted the Apostle Paul on the Damascus road in Acts 9. Paul, zealously performing his thoughtful duty to God, or so he thought, was trying to rid the Jewish society of those pesky Christians when he was confronted by the Lord Jesus from heaven! A light shone around him and as the story goes:

4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?"
5 And he said, "Who are You, Lord?" Then the Lord said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads." (Acts 9:4-5 (NKJV)

Paul thought He was doing God’s work by rustling up believers who were of this “new Way” and were guilty of “turning the world upside down” for Jesus. His intent: either to imprison them or worse. But, the verbiage Christ uses in His rebuke strongly shows Paul’s zealousness needed redirection. One could not “kick against the goads” unless he was doing the very thing that was opposite of God’s intentions. Simply put, he was doing things his way according to his gospel. But the “goads” of the true and life changing gospel were getting painful, so Jesus appears to set Him straight.

Needing to be “Set Straight” is not an uncommon thing. In the Bible we find that Apollos, one of Paul’s partners in ministry, had to also be given instruction in order to know the truth more clearly. In Acts 18 we read:

24 Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus.
25 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John.
26 So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.
27 And when he desired to cross to Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him; and when he arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace;
28 for he vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ. (Acts 18-24-28 NKJV)

Notice that Apollos was an eloquent man, mighty in the Scriptures, zealous for God, and taught what he knew of God accurately. Aquila and Pricilla heard him speak and then afterwards took him under their wings for some discipleship. He needed to know more accurately the way of Jesus. I love that story because it accurately teaches us our role as a Christian. Had Apollos continued to speak of only the Baptism of John and no further, the listeners may have been left lacking in their spiritual knowledge.
There are times we all need to be set straight. At one time or another we have either heard, read, or been taught something that was simply not the truth from Scripture. But rather than check it out with the whole Bible, we have taken it to be gospel truth. One of the jobs of the Holy Spirit is to teach us all truth. In John’s gospel we find Jesus revealing the following concerning the future Church age:
13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you, (John 16:12-14).

Jesus was allaying the fears of His followers after He had told them he would be going away to the Father, (cp. vs. 4-5). They needed Him and His presence but were saddened by the fact He would be leaving. But the good news was He was not leaving them alone. The Comforter, Helper, Teacher, and Holy Spirit would be coming to indwell them, and all believers, in order to teach us the way of Jesus more accurately!! Aren’t you glad we have such a wonderful Guide? But if this is so, then why do so many still need to be set straight? Maybe it is because we have been listening to man and not to God. I am persuaded of this very thing. When the Barna Group2 publishes a poll that states 81% of Born Again believers and 91% of adults do not have a “Biblical World View” then it is obvious that the majority of people are simply not reading the Scriptures to test whether what they hear or read is truth.

We have an emergency in America today, a spiritual emergency. How can we expect God to work mightily through us if we cannot mightily adore and study the truth of His Word? The Holy Spirit teaches us the things that glorify Christ, yet we would rather listen and heed the things that glorify either ourselves or another! My brothers and sisters in Christ, this is not right and it should not be so. We need to drop the guards that keep us boxed in to the teaching of man and open ourselves up humbly to accept the teaching of Jesus! The simple truth is, we need to be set straight. We want the blessings of God but we shun the work of God. We have become disobedient in many of our ways and the sad part is we have desensitized ourselves to it. When God calls out to us all too often we act as if we did not hear.

There is a day coming Jesus referred to as the “Judgment of the Sheep and the Goats.” It is a judgment of the survivors of the Great Tribulation period, prior to their ability to enter into the Millennial Period that Jesus had revealed to the Apostle John in Rev 20:1-6. In Mt. 25 we see Jesus separating the nations of people like a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. Here is what He says:

31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’
44 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Mt. 25:31-46 NKJV)

Do you know who the goats are? …those who listened to anyone or anything other than Jesus. We have the opportunity every single day of our lives to experience the power of God working in our lives. We do not see it because we do not listen. In our stubbornness we want to do things and believe things our way. But as you can see above, the life and nature of the Christian is to cast off ourselves and to cling onto Christ. Scoff if you like at the teaching of Scripture, but are you willing to take the chance that you are right and He is wrong?

Today is not only the day of salvation it is the day we need to make a decision and allow God to set us straight. Won’t you listen to Him today and every day hereafter?

God Bless
Bro. Mike
"Those Who Are Wise Will Shine!  Dan 12:3


1.       Barnes, Albert, Notes on the New Testament Explanatory and Practical.
2.       "Barna Survey Examines Changes in Worldview Among Christians over the Past 13 Years," Barna Group, accessed August 19, 2010,  Available  http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/21-transformation/252-barna-survey-examines-changes-in-worldview-among-christians-over-the-past-13-years

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