Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed. But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. But the people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews and some with the apostles. When an attempt was made by both Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to mistreat them and to stone them, they learned of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding country, and there they continued to preach the gospel.
What did the unbelieving Jews do?
- “They stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers.”
- Virtually all problems begin with negativity.
Why are we so quick to be negative instead of positive?
- Most people’s negativity comes from insecurity.
- To one degree or another, everyone battles insecurity.
- Insecurity is an internal problem before it expresses itself externally.
The cure to insecurity is relational, not performance. Understanding our adoption as sons and daughters is the cure.
- Secure people tend to be positive, known by compliments.
- Insecure people tend to be negative, known by criticisms.
Don’t allow yourself to be a receiver or giver of negativity.
- Negativity stirs people up.
- Negativity poisons people’s minds.
- Negativity starts small but has big (and bad) results.
What should you do to replace negativity with positivity?
- Recognize the lie… Renounce the lie… Replace the lie.
- In Acts 14:3, it says they spoke “boldly for the Lord.”
- They didn’t back down or waver.
- They were granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands.
What was the result? Tragically, the people were still divided (verse 4).
- This is why we must stop negativity early in the process.
- This is why we must not allow negativity to be a stronghold.
- The author of love is the source of unity.
- God’s heart is for His people to be perfected in unity (John 17:23).
Don’t minimize negativity.
- Negativity isn’t a minor problem; it’s a major problem.
- Negativity starts verbal, but it frequently becomes physical (Acts 14:5-7)
God’s people must quit being known by negativity and criticism.
- This is 100% opposite of God’s heart.
- This is 100% unacceptable and must be stopped.
- This is dividing our churches.
- This is ruining our reputation; God’s reputation.
- We’re supposed to be known by love.
- Love is not known by complaining.
- Love is not known by criticizing.
Here’s the deal: If nothing changes, nothing changes.
- Change happens best and fastest when it starts with the leaders.
- It’s time for church leaders to stand up and speak up for positivity.
- That doesn’t mean there’s not a place for truth in love.
- It does mean Jesus doesn’t leave people wounded.
Personal Application: Take the positivity challenge!
- Commit this issue to prayer.
- Commit to replace negativity with positivity for one month.
- Commit to replace criticisms with compliments for one month.
- Evaluate and share the difference after one month.