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November 19, 2013, 4:57 PM

The Anatomy of Dissension


Take a look at this 


Bill Elliff

Fri, Oct 25, 2013


I have dealt with dissenters in the church for a good portion of my ministry life over the last 42 years. If you are not careful, the whole mission of a church can be hijacked and consumed by the sideways energy dissenters create. It would be just like Satan to create such diversions.

Notice how they plagued the first church (Acts 6 NASB) and how God’s servant responded.

They rise up and argue.

They “rose up and argued with Stephen” (v. 9).

Remember that there were not many more godly men in the New Testament than Stephen. This one chapter describes him as a man “of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom” (v. 3); “full of grace and power” (v. 8); “they were unable to cope with the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking” (v. 10); and his face looked like that of an angel, even when he was being persecuted (v. 15). What a man to be arguing with and concerned about!

They move in secret.

“Then they secretly induced men to say . . .” (v. 11).

Dissenters love darkness. They are unashamed to utilize darkness to spread their dissension.

They stir up others.

“And they stirred up the people” (v. 12).

Their method is always to gather a crowd to join them in their work of attacking God’s leaders.

They are unafraid to use deception.

“They put forward false witnesses who said . . .” (v. 13).

Since they are unwilling to surrender to God’s truth themselves, they are unafraid to utilize deception for their ends.

They attack God’s men.

“This man [Stephen] incessantly speaks against this holy place and the Law” (v. 13).

As one man said, if you can’t overcome the message, shoot the messenger.

They do their wickedness under the guise of spirituality.

“This man incessantly speaks against this holy place and the Law” (v. 13).

These men came off as great defenders of the faith. In reality, they were opposing the truth of God and personally unwilling to bow to the lordship of Christ. This is the heart of the issue with dissenters.

They hate the loss of their kingdoms and the status quo.

“We have heard him say that this Nazarene, Jesus, will destroy this place and alter the customs which Moses handed down to us” (v. 14).

They accused Stephen of acting against and destroying God’s real work. The very opposite of this was true. In fact, they were the ones who were in opposition to God.

So, how do you handle a dissenter?

“And fixing their gaze on him, all who were sitting in the Council saw his face like the face of an angel” (v. 15).

Stephen, full of the Spirit, kept on following Jesus and ministering in the Spirit. He was full of God, and his countenance radiated the presence of his Master. He continued to proclaim the truth (Acts 7) in boldness.

He suffered persecution and death at the hands of his opposition, but the end result was that he got to leave this old dissenting world quicker than the rest. Not a bad option!

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