The Bible is silent on the Internet. There isn’t one verse in the Old Testament or the New Testament that makes reference to the World Wide Web. Yet here we are in a time when communication over the Internet is a dominate force in our lives. In chapter thirteen of the Book of Acts, Barnabas and the Apostle Paul are sent off on their first missionary journey to spread the Good News about Jesus Christ. The best form of mass communication at the time, was to get in front of a group of people and talk to them. Surprisingly, this form of communication has something strikingly similar to Internet communication – no matter how profound your truth is, there will always be detractors. Just like the comments underneath any blog post, Paul and Barnabas encountered dissenting voices who wanted to push the conversation in the opposite direction.
Make no mistake about it, some of the dissenting voices on the Internet are tools of the devil who are trying their best to distort God’s message. This was the case for Paul when he encountered a sorcerer named Elymas.
“Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord?” Acts 13:9-10 (NIV)
If you’ve spent any time at all on the Internet reading Christian truth, you will have undoubtedly found in the comments section below, someone who fits Paul’s description of Elymas. The battle between good and evil – truth and lies, rages on. Fortunately for Paul, he was able to use the power of the Holy Spirit to render Elymas blind and send him on his way. On the Internet we usually have the ability to block those who only want to attack and disrupt. There are some who will never be able to hear the truth – they are guided by another force.
We later find the apostle Paul preaching the Gospel in a Jewish synagogue where many came to accept Jesus as their Messiah, trusting in His death and resurrection as payment for their sins. But there were others who felt threatened by this new message and resisted Paul’s teaching. Unlike Elymas, who was clearly a tool of the devil, these religious Jews were merely the victims of the devil’s distraction. While these distracted Jews may one day come to realize their mistake in rejecting Jesus, Paul and Barnabas did not linger with them. Instead they went on to preach the Gospel to the non-Jewish Gentiles as God commanded. We can’t let those trying to distract and disrupt stop us from spreading the Word. We just need to keep going.
“For this is what the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’ When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.” Acts 13:47-48 (NIV)
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