Summary: verse by verse through Acts

And now an inspirational reading from Shakespeare’s play Othello:

O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;

It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on;

That cuckold lives in bliss who, certain of his fate, loves not his wronger;

But, O, what minutes tells he o'er; who dotes, yet doubts, suspects, yet strongly loves!

Now does anyone understand just what in the world that means? I don’t! Except the first few words – [2] “O beware my lord of jealousy - it is the green-eyed monster.”

Jealousy is a monster within us all that when released can do some major damage in our own lives and in the lives of others. And probably all of us at one time or another have battled with jealousy.

Now let’s make sure we understand what real jealousy is, because sometimes we confuse jealousy with envy. Envy is when you want what someone else has. You want something. You want more. That’s envy.

Jealousy is when you fear loosing something. Your insecurities cause you to fear loosing something that’s important to you. You fear loosing your job to a coworker who sucks up to the boss all the time. You fear loosing your friend at school because a new, cool kid just enrolled in your class. You fear loosing your spouse to someone who’s more attractive than you. So you become jealous because of your fear of loss. And that jealousy is the green-eyed monster who will damage people’s lives if it isn’t stopped.

[John Wesley’s marriage to Mary Vazeille illustration.]

None of us need have the green-eyed monster destroy our lives.

In the passage that we’ll be going through today we’ll see how the green-eyed monster of jealousy was alive and well and was trying to kill the early church. [3] Turn with me to Acts chapter thirteen where we’ll see just how damaging jealousy can be. In doing so it’ll help us better understand jealousy and how we can actually overcome it.

[Read Acts 13:44-52.]

Paul and Barnabas show up in this city and have almost immediate success. Wherever they show up to preach the people come. So much so that it nearly the whole city showed up to hear them preach. This infuriated the Jews who allowed their jealousy to take over as the green-eyed monster moved them to do terrible things.

And at the root of their jealousy was nothing more than fear. [4] Fear that they were loosing their influence, their power and their prestige to these heretic Christians. You see, the root of jealousy is always fear.

[Read Acts 13:44-45.]

“When they saw the crowds”! These Jews could never have gotten the whole city out to listen to one of their lectures on the Torah! They probably couldn’t even keep the people they had awake when they attended the synagogues. But these guys whiz into town and that’s all the people can talk about. Paul and Barnabas this, and Paul and Barnabas that. The Jewish leaders could feel their influence slipping away and they feared obscurity. They feared irrelevance. They feared becoming yesterday’s news. They feared becoming common.

So instead of listening to what the disciples were saying to find out for themselves what all the fuss was about, they became jealous and allowed the green-eyed monster to come out and play. The root of jealousy is fear.

Sometimes our jealousy is because of the bad actions of others. Ladies, if you notice your husband spending more time with women other than you, then you aught to be jealous. Kids, if your parents keep saying, “Why can’t you be more like your sister?” You should be jealous too. And if the new guy in your office was promoted ahead of you, even though you’ve been with the company for years, there’s good reason to be jealous. You fear loosing what’s important to you. Your husband’s love, your parent’s acceptance, your job, whatever.

In situations when someone is doing something to cause you to feel jealous, you should openly talk with them and let them know how you feel. Maybe you can kill the green-eyed monster with some communication and their cooperation.

But sometimes our jealousy is because of our own insecurities. Our self-esteem isn’t what it should be. Or our faith isn’t very strong. Or we’re allowing our past to rule our present. Our personal insecurities can cause us to become jealous. (We’ll talk about how to deal with those in a few minutes.)

But no matter what the reason is for the jealousy, if we don’t get it under control, [5] the actions of jealousy are hateful. Let’s go back to the passage.

[Read Acts 13:45, 50.]

Instead of communicating their fears with Paul and Barnabas, instead of trying to work things out, instead of just allowing them to do their own thing, their jealousy moved them to try and ruin the ministry of the disciples.

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