Rightside-Up Living In An Upside-Down World
We are reading from Acts 17 in which the setting is that of the Apostle Paul’s visit during one of his missionary journeys to Thessalonica where he ministered in the Jewish Synagogues. And he proclaimed boldly to them that this Jesus Whom he was preaching about to them was indeed the crucified and risen Christ, the Anointed One, the King (Acts 17:3).
A number of the people in the city, both Jews and Greeks, were converted to Christ. But you will notice in Acts 17:5 that a number of the Jews became jealous, and formed a mob to set the city in an uproar. They have now arrived at the home of a man named Jason who apparently was prominent in the invitation that had been sent to Paul to come, and where Paul was residing during his three week crusade in Thessalonica.
Now we read Acts 17:5-7,
“But the Jews became jealous and taking along some wicked
men from the market place, formed a mob and set
city in an uproar; and coming upon the house of
Jason, they were seeking to bring them (Paul
and Silas plus others) out to the people.”
“And when they did not find them, they began dragging Jason
and some of brethren before the city authorities, shouting,
‘These men who have UPSET THE WORLD have
come here also;’”
“’and Jason has welcomed them, and they all act contrary to
the decrees of Caesar saying that there is another
THEY HAVE UPSET THE WORLD
Where we read in Acts 17:6 the charges brought against Paul, Silas, Jason and other converts to Christ, the overall complaint was,
“They have UPSET THE WORLD.”
The word in the Greek more literally means:
“They have TURNED THE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN.”
“THESE FIRST CENTURY CHRISTIANS WERE BOLD IN CHRIST AND
SO EMPOWERED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT, THAT IT SEEMED TO
THE THESSALONIANS THAT THE ENTIRE WORLD WAS
BEING SET ON ITS HEAD.”
And their bottom-line rationale for saying that these Jesus-converts had made everything UPSIDE-DOWN AND TOPSY-TURVY, as they stood before the Roman authorities, was to accuse them of saying,
“There is another King, and His name is Jesus.”
By the way, that has always been and will always be the grating issue of all time, namely the sovereign Lordship and Kingship of Christ. The world and even the modern church- world tries to duck that issue like the Jewish people in Israel today try to hide from rockets and shrapnel every day. And when men can no longer avoid the issue, they will attack those who represent King Jesus. Then they report them to pagan authorities to bring sanctions against them.
Here is where the cross is dragged over the cobblestone streets of the Via Dolorosa, and where the hammer strikes the nails through the hands and the feet of the Messiah. This is why they put over Jesus’ head on the cross in angry sarcasm and mockery:
“THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
If you will:
“THIS IS WHAT WE DO TO THOSE WHO CLAIM TO BE KING
OF ANYTHING AND ANYONE.”
WILL THE REAL REBELS PLEASE STAND UP
It is very significant to note that those who had little respect for the government and the laws of the Roman Empire, were nevertheless eager to use them to their advantage in order to get their way. Neither the Jewish people nor the wicked rioters respected Caesar but hated him and considered the Roman government an oppressor.
And yet, in much the same way as they formed a Kangaroo Court and used the Roman Government of Judea, Pontius Pilate, to get rid of Jesus, we find them doing the same thing here in Thessalonica. They quickly formed a mob of rebellious and wicked men from the market place and stirred everyone into an uproar. Then they accused the Christians of doing precisely what they were doing themselves.
“IF THERE WAS ANYONE WHO HAD REBELLION IN THEIR HEART
AGAINST AUTHORITY, IT WAS THE ONES MAKING
If you will:
“HERE IS ANOTHER CLASSIC CASE OF THE POT CALLING
THE KETTLE BLACK.”
This is the tactic of Satan in all of the persecution of Christians down through the ages to this very day.
THE DNC – A 21ST CENTURY THESSALONICA
In the light of this mob, think about 2012 Charlotte, North Carolina in the 21st century. The 2012 Democratic National Committee in full session suspended the rules of the convention and inserted language regarding God and the State of Israel back to its platform. They had to vote three times to do it – and they had to lie to deem it passed, even though it was clear that the measure did not pass a voice vote in the chamber.
The original 2012 Democratic Party platform had excised all mention of God and Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel.
The DNC voting about God and Israel is probably the most demonic and tragic moment ever seen on real live U.S. TV. The speaker finally on the third vote said the yea’s win, when the nay’s were equally represented if not more. Then the nay’s BOOED God just as in Revelation where the God-haters curse God, as we read in Revelation 16:9
“…and they cursed the name of God….”
And, Revelation 16:10-11
“…men gnawed their tongues in agony and cursed
the God of Heaven….”
More than that, in 21st century America, as in 1st century Thessalonica where the rioters were accusing the Christians of being the rabble-rousers, Janet Ginzberg, writer and producer, stated on C Span in her diatribe against pro-lifers,
“America and the anti-abortionists need to quit having a
love affair with fetuses.”
She then affirmed her great and compassionate stand as pro-children, and that if we really love our children, we will give the parents the right to mercifully choose whether they will kill certain unborn children or not. Millions in America agree with her, as young mothers surrender their children to infanticide and the fiendish claws of the abortionists are then sunk into their tender flesh. Then murderous mothers go home and take a shower after aborting their children in the attempt to wash their children’s blood from their hands and body. much as Pontius Pilate tried to wash from his hands the blood of Jesus..
But nonetheless, the Ginzberg point is this:
“IT IS THE PRO-LIFE CHRISTIANS WHO ARE THE
“IF PRO-LIFERS REALLY LOVE LIFE, WE WOULD PUT CHILDREN AWAY
QUIETLY AND CONVENIENTLY MUCH LIKE IS DONE WITH
UNCLAIMED DOGS IN DOG POUNDS.”
You talk about:
“RIGHT-SIDE UP CHRISTIANS BEING FAULTED BY THE KILLERS OF
BABIES IN AN UPSIDE-DOWN WORLD.”
Or again, listen to the “Gay Rights Activists” who rant and rave that it is not the gay lifestyle that is wrong, and that it does not hurt society, and that it is not perverse. Rather, they march and cry out that what is perverse is all of those “Heterosexual Frothing Fundamentalists” and “Right Wing Radicals” who try to make everyone conform to their “Fascist Agenda.”
You talk about:
“RIGHTSIDE-UP HETEROSEXUALS BEING FAULTED BY THE PERVERTS
IN AN UPSIDE-DOWN WORLD.”
The parallel is too obvious to miss:
“AS IN 1ST CENTURY THESSALONICA, EVIL MEN WITH EVIL INTENTIONS
APPEARED BEFORE AUTHORITIES TO USE THEM IN GETTING THEIR
WAY AGAINST THE KINGSHIP OF CHRIST BY FEIGNING
LOYALTY TO CAESAR.”
“IN 21ST CENTURY CHARLOTTE, EVIL MEN WITH EVIL INTENTIONS
APPEAR BEFORE THE AUTHORITIES OF THE DNC TO USE THEM
IN GETTING THEIR WAY AGAINST GOD AND HIS CHRIST AND
ISRAEL BY FEIGNING LOYALTY TO THE AMERICAN WAY.”
The fact is, they hate everything about the Christian foundations of historic America, the true American way, and “One Nation Under God.”
You talk about:
“RIGHTSIDE-UP CHRISTIANS IN AN UPSIDE-DOWN WORLD.”
AN UNINTENDED ACCOLADE
The Christians in Thessalonica were walking RIGHTSIDE-UP, but their anti-Christ persecutors said that they these Christian subverters were actually UPSIDE-DOWN, and that they were actually turning their world UPSIDE-DOWN too. Remember what they said in Acts 17:6,
“They that have turned the world UPSIDE-DOWN
Of course, they had inverted vision as we shall see in a bit, so they could not see that who they called UPSIDE-DOWNERS were actually RIGHT-SIDE UPPERS. What the Jews meant as a scathing criticism and condemnation was actually an inadvertent and high praise.
States the great preacher of the Word, John MacArthur of Grace To You Ministries, “Now, let me say that that’s amazing. It’s amazing, just the statement itself, that any man or any men could be men who so affected the world that the people said, ‘They’re turning it upside down.’ That’s tremendous. I mean, there are people who live their whole life and the world doesn’t even know they’re alive. There are Christians who have absolutely no effect on anything. Here were two people of whom the world said, ‘They’ve turned us upside down.’
But if you think that’s amazing, get this. They’ve only been to one town, Philippi in Europe, and already through the events of only a few days in one town, the world is convinced these men are turning it upside down. And the rumor has drifted all the way to Thessalonica, which is over a hundred miles away. When you turn the world upside down in your lifetime, that’s gonzo! When the world says, ‘You’re turning it upside down,’ and you’ve been around a few weeks, that’s really gonzo.
As we look at these two individuals, Paul and Silas, the amazing consequence of their ministry in Europe can really be based on some very, very key factors. There were reasons that they did what they did and there were reasons that they had the effect that they had. Somebody said one time:
‘THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO WATCH THINGS HAPPEN, AND THERE
ARE PEOPLE WHO MAKES THINGS HAPPEN. THEN THERE
ARE PEOPLE WHO DON’T KNOW WHAT’S HAPPENING.’
These were people who made things happen. Every time they took a step, the world shook. They had an effect. They mattered.
One writer said, ‘There are only two people that count in the modern world, a committed communist and a committed Christian. Everybody else is along for the ride.’ Some people are just sort of – I used to call them kind of “eternal ding-a-lings.” They just never amount to anything. They just go along. They float. (Klingenberg comment – They have as it were helium balloons tied to their backs. They’re in limbo, inside churches and outside.)
Then there are people who count. There are people who make waves in this world. There are people who upset the system. There are Christians who disturb the comfort of sinners. Paul and Silas were those kind of people.
You know, God always has had those kind of people. God always has had people who made waves. God’s always has had people who upset Satan’s apple cart, who took a placid, sinful situation and threw it into chaos.
Elijah, poor Elijah made waves all over the place. He was always hassling Ahab. Ahab would have made a black mark on a piece of coal. He was bad and he had a woman that was just as bad by the name of Jezebel. But it came to pass when Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him in I Kings 18:17,
‘Is this you, you troubler of Israel?’
In other words:
‘You’re the guy messing up the system.’
Well, I love Elijah’s answer. He says in I Kings 18:18,
‘I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have
because you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord,
and you have followed the Baals.’
Elijah made waves.” (End of MacArthur quote)
Paul, Silas, Jason, and the other followers of Christ were making waves in Thessalonica. Big waves! Christ the King waves. Tsunami waves! They made things happen for the Kingdom of God! They made history for Christ, history did not make them. They did not just watch history unfold, but rather, were powerfully part of the unfolding of history for God.
American Christians had the awesome and critically urgent opportunity to make history for God and for His Christ in the 2012 presidential election. Before them the door had been opened by God to turn the nation right-side up, a nation that is spiritually, morally, politically and every way upside-down. They failed! They defected! They joined with the vast-numbers majority of the anti-God upside-downers.
Mike Oppenheimer of Let us Reason Ministries writes in his November-December Newsletter, “Election 2012 was the most decisive election of our lifetime (so far). The numbers were shocking. The exit polls showed us that over 6 million Christians voted for Obama’s reelection.
(Klingenberg comment – There are denominations, not just churches, but entire fellowships who today spiritually and morally remind me of old ruined, rotting, and rusting cars, tires flat, batteries dead, and fungus growing on the windows as if they had been moldering for years. The great apostasy has been that fast and massive.)
Fewer people voted than in 2008 (about 125 million) compared to 2012. Just under 115 million voted in our presidential election. 132 million voted for the winner on American Idol (though some were voting several times, hmm), it does say something about where our focus as a country is. But what is the focus of the church? Is it numbers or disciples?
There was a clear distinction between the two candidates on key issues that often decide the peoples vote. Abortion and gay marriage! To think 6 million professed evangelical Christians voted for a President who supports abortion on demand (which is still the killing of unborn children). Obama supported redefining marriage (supported the same-sex marriage ballot initiatives that had success in Maryland, Maine and Washington).
Christians who supposedly claim the Scripture as the final authority were not neutral on these issues. They did not vote on the values that seem to be important to their faith. They didn’t vote their belief system they are to live by. Why? The answer is simple, these believers either left their Biblical convictions before voting, or they never did have any Biblical convictions to begin with?” (End of Oppenheimer quote)
Many of God’s people went to the voting booth with the same sense of urgency of a fireman climbing up a ladder to perform a rescue from certain death. Millions of other church people went into the voting booth, and left behind a voting-smell equivalent of the child who dirties his diaper only a few seconds after having been taken into a car. In other words, churchgoers stunk up the election for Satan and for Hell. They literally made history for the devil.
No, it wasn’t at all that Paul, Silas, Jason and the brothers and sisters in Christ had turned Thessalonica on its head. No, for Satan had turned everything there upside-down long ago, just as he had done throughout the entire world. Like those plastic cows and canisters that say “MOO” when you turn them upside-down, so mankind has been turned upside-down by Satan, and having been turned on their heads, they point down and say “UP.”
That is to say:
“SATAN TURNED THE ENTIRE SPIRITUAL AND MORAL WORLD
TOPSY-TURVY, AND THREW THE WHOLE
CREATION INTO CHAOS.”
This all started right after God said to man in Genesis 2:16-17,
“From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree
of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the
day that you eat from it, you shall surely die.”
I mean, God could not have made Himself clearer in His prohibition. This was the kindergarten equivalent of:
“DON’T RUN, DICK, DON’T RUN. DON’T GET THE BALL.”
Nothing is more irrational and more wicked than for intelligent beings to oppose and disobey the SOVEREIGN GOD who gave them their beings. Duh!
But as you recall, Satan turned God’s Word UPSIDE-DOWN, and when man believed Satan’s totally inverted words and promise of immorality if not divinity through eating from the forbidden tree, the entire world of man’s mind and thoughts was reversed so that darkness looked like light, wrong looked like right, and hell looked like Heaven.
It was Satan’s VERBAL BLACK MAGIC which:
“REVERSED ALL OF THE IMPRESSIONS OF SENSE AND
AMUSED MAN’S MIND WITH ANTI-TRUTH
FANCIES AS FACTS.”
Now then, these Christian WORLD UPSETTERS had come with the Word of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ into that very INVERTED WORLD of Thessalonica, and were turning people and society into spiritually and morally CONVERTED AND RIGHTSIDE-UPPERS.
To the Thessalonians, WRONGSIDE-DOWN was RIGHTSIDE-UP, and RIGHTSIDE-UP was WRONGSIDE-DOWN. They had grown so accustomed to having spiritually and morally inverted vision, that everything that was DOWN appeared UP to them, and everything that UP appeared DOWN to them. Everything that was WRONG appeared RIGHT to them, and everything RIGHT appeared WRONG to them. Sound Familiar!? Oh does it ever!
Thus like modern-day Americans, so too the Thessalonians:
“THEY WERE IN THE PASSIONATE PURSUIT OF WHAT IS EVIL,
AND IN AN EQUAL NEGLECT AND HATRED
OF WHAT IS GOOD.”
If you will:
“THEY MADE EVIL PASS FOR GOOD, AND GOOD
PASS FOR EVIL.”
Thus it was that they reacted to these Christian revolutionaries and said in Acts 17:6 KJV,
“…these that have turned the world upside-down have
come hither also.”
Strong words! Frightened words! Angry words! These Jesus people appeared to them like creatures from a distant planet who had come to threaten their entire way of life and turn the entire world system upside-down.
Medical scientists did an experiment some years ago on VISUAL ADAPTABILITY. They designed a special pair of glasses, and they gave them to the subjects who were to wear them day and night. In short, these glasses were configured in such a way that they essentially turned everything and everyone upside down.
When the people first put on the glasses, seeing everything upside-down made it utterly impossible for them to keep their balance or function normally as human beings. There were some that could not stand up for even a few seconds, and when they took a step they would fall flat on their faces.
Hear this and try to see it if you can without getting sick:
“UP WAS DOWN, DOWN WAS UP, LEFT WAS RIGHT, RIGHT WAS
LEFT, AND THEY WERE NOW LIVING IN A WORLD OF EXACT
OPPOSITES FROM WHAT THEY KNEW ALL OF THEIR LIVES.”
(By the way, Satan can do that very thing to church-goers. In fact he is doing it through pastors.)
So now with the floor where the ceiling should be, and the ceiling where the floor should be, they simply could not function. Life had become functionally impossible. And they were not allowed to take the glasses off at any time during the experiment.
But then an amazing thing began to happen. As time went by, they began to adapt to their upside-down, topsy-turvy world of TOTAL REVERSALS. They began to get used to seeing their feet walking upside-down on the floor where the ceiling should have been. They began to adjust to reaching left and seeing it on the right.
Now, get this, within a period of 2 weeks, they had for the most part fully adapted to the point where they were walking and eating and moving about with freedom. They came to be accustomed to their world of reversals, and in fact you would hardly know that they had any deficiency or disorientation whatsoever.
Now hear this:
“THEY WERE SEEING EVERYTHING UPSIDE-DOWN AS
RIGHT-SIDE UP, BUT IT DIDN’T
MATTER ANY MORE.”
However, at the end of 2 more weeks, then they had to take their glasses off, these UPSIDE-DOWN GLASSES. Guess what happened! Now they saw everything as what? Upside-Down all over again! RIGHT was where they thought LEFT SHOULD BE. UP was where they thought DOWN SHOULD BE. They suddenly couldn’t walk, they couldn’t keep their balance, they couldn’t move about. It was all wrong, so wrong that THEY WANTED THOSE AWKWARD GOGGLES BACK.
Now then, that was exactly what was happening to the pagan unbelievers in Thessalonica. More exactly:
“THESE CHRISTIANS WERE GOD’S STRONG GLASSES FORCING THE
SPIRITUALLY AND MORALLY UPSIDE-DOWN WORLD TO SEE
AND WALK RIGHT-SIDE UP IN GOD’S IMAX WORLD.”
Come on now! The longer you live with sin and the devil’s totally distorted, upside-down, reverse vision, and the longer you are under the sway of sinful and satanic visual abnormality, then you become convinced that:
“RIGHT IS WRONG, AND WRONG IS RIGHT.”
Listen now, this ole world has been in wickedness so long that sin and rot and filth seem NORMAL. Lust and violence and perversion become the NORM. This is exactly what has happened to and in America, what with the removal and outlawing of God’s Word, God’s Laws, and God’s Son.
“THIS IS EXACTLY HOW BARACK OBAMA GOT REELECTED, THROUGH
PEOPLE WITH UPSIDE-DOWN VISION.”
In America, as in Thessalonica,
“TRUTH APPEARS AS FALSEHOOD, AND FALSEHOOD APPEARS AS
TRUTH. RIGHT APPEARS AS WRONG AND WRONG APPEARS
AS RIGHT. UP APPEARS AS DOWN AND DOWN
APPEARS AS UP.”
Now then, these 20/20 STRONG EYE-SIGHTED CHRISTIANS in Thessalonica came preaching, as we read the opposition’s charges in Acts 17:7,
“…and they all act contrary to the decree of Caesar, saying
that there is another King – Jesus.”
In other words, no wonder when these radicals came proclaiming another King – Jesus, and declaring that His WAYS and His LAWS and His RULE are alone just and right, that the world would say:
“THOSE WHO HAVE TURNED THE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN HAVE
COME HERE AND ARE TRYING TO DO THE
SAME THING TO US.”
If you will:
“THOSE RADICAL CHRISTIANS ARE TRYING TO JAM THEIR RELIGION
DOWN OUR THROATS, AND IF WE HAVE TO WE WILL
SLIT THEIR THROATS.”
Hey, these whackos are turning our world and our culture upside down, inside out, and every which way but what we see as right. They are out of sync, they are out of balance, they are out of harmony with life, and they have come here to change everything around, including getting rid of Caesar with their new King. Before you know it:
“WE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO SEE STRAIGHT ANYMORE.”
Jesus Christ has come to take away sin’s and Satan’s DECEPTION – DISTORTION – INVERTED VISION. He is the only One Who can! For it is sin in man that causes all of this SPIRITUAL AND MORAL REVERSALISM, and Jesus’ cross and blood alone will take away sin’s life-destroying INVERTED VISION and give you life-saving CONVERTED VISION.
Let me put it very simply to you. There are two things that every new convert to Jesus can say, whether his completely inverted vision is due to sin, Satan, vices, bondages, or religious heresy, or all of the above. FIRST, as in the case of the man born blind, we remember his words in John 8:25,
“WHEREAS I WAS BLIND.”
SECOND, after his merciful encounter with Christ, in the same verse,
“NOW I SEE.”
You see, forgive the pun, inverted vision spiritually and morally is just another way of saying BLINDNESS – YOU CAN SEE NOTHING AS IT REALLY IS. It is all opposite, backwards, and every which way but right.
But Jesus Christ not only takes away the cause of inverted vision/blindness, but He becomes our brand new, first time ever new vision, our new sight, our seeing things as they really are. The Apostle Paul says Galatians 2:20,
“…it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.”
And now for the first time through Jesus in me:
“UP IS TRULY UP – DOWN IS TRULY DOWN – RIGHT IS
TRULY RIGHT – WRONG IS TRULY WRONG –
HEAVEN IS TRULY HEAVEN – HELL IS
And through Jesus Christ and Him alone:
“WE BEGIN TO LIVE RIGHT-SIDE UP IN A TOTALLY
UPSIDE DOWN WORLD.”
And may that world say of all of us what they said about our brothers and sisters in Thessalonica,
“THEY THAT HAVE TURNED THE WORLD UPSIDE-DOWN HAVE COME.”