Summary: In Acts 14:1-7 we read the story of Paul’s ministry in Iconium. Buried in this passage of Scripture are two nuggets of truth about our minds and about the nature of truth.
Truth and Your Mind
August 7, 2016
TEXT: Acts 14:1-7 – “And it came to pass in Iconium, that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed. 2 But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren. 3 Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands. 4 But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles. 5 And when there was an assault made both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them, 6 They were ware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and unto the region that lieth round about: 7 And there they preached the gospel.”
Illus. – of guy in White House who began well in faith, but who washed out.
How does this happen? How could fine, faithful believers fall so hard? How could it occur so quickly and with such little resistance?
I’d like us to look at two big truths tucked away in our text that will help us answer that question. These truths help us understand how to avoid the danger of washed-out Christians.
I. THE FIRST TRUTH WE SEE IN OUR TEXT IS THIS: YOUR MIND CAN BE AFFECTED FOR EVIL OR FOR GOOD – Verse 2 – “But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren.”
As I studied this verse, two key thoughts struck me:
First, understand that both Satan and God work through our minds. Think about it:
• You never did an evil deed that was not first conceived in your mind.
• You never spoke an evil word that you did not first think in the mind.
• No person ever turned from God and rejected His love who did not first decide that in his or her mind.
• You never did something good or selfless or noble which was not first conceived in your mid.
• You never spoke words of comfort or encouragement that you did not first think in your mind.
• You did not believe in Christ without first accepting the truth of the Gospel in your mind.
You see, the mind is where the action is as far as Satan or God are concerned. Of course, it doesn’t end there, because ultimately the real issue is the heart, but the heart is informed by the mind.
Second, Satan and God use people and influences to affect our minds for good or for evil.
• Satan can use wrong friends and acquaintances.
1 Corinthians 15:33 – “Be not deceived: evil communications [acquaintances] corrupt good manners [morals]. ”
Teens, this is why your parents warn you not to run around with the wrong kind of kids. They know that Satan can use people with evil hearts and evil agendas to lead you away from God and into sin and heartache.
But it isn’t just our teens. Believers ought to reach those who do not know Christ, to have them in our homes to win the right to share our faith. But they shouldn’t be your closest companions; the ones you hang out with the most; with whom you spend most of your time. That’s a recipe for danger. Paul says “evil acquaintances corrupt good morals.”
Christians who share your values and are heading the same direction you—those are the ones you should develop your deepest bonds with.
• Satan can also use wrong philosophies and ideas.
A few years ago there was a campaign where when people didn’t know what to do, they’d ask themselves, WWJD, or “What would Jesus Do?”. Well, you know what, too many people, when they need advice or counsel, ask themselves, “What would Dr. Phil do?” Dr. Phil actually has hit upon a lot of biblical principles, which is why a lot of his advice works, but it’s distressing to me how many people seek such secular, worldly solutions to their problems.
Psalm 1:1 says, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly,…”
The counsel of God is found in HIS WORD and many people are led astray by philosophies and ideas that go against God’s Word.
• Satan also influences us through wrong ideas in the media we consume—movies and TV shows and books and reading material and music.
If you don’t train your kids to have discernment, and enforce some sensible rules; if you allow them to feed on a steady diet of ungodly philosophies through unlimited access to the media, why you be surprised if they have an appetite for sensual things, become disrespectful, and become involved drinking, sex, or drugs? What WOULD you expect? Like the old computer adage: “Garbage in; garbage out.”