“But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.”
No matter what day you live in, you are always going to have people who do not want anything to do with walking in the old paths. Paul certainly experienced this firsthand. In the verse above, there were those who wanted nothing to do with the way that Paul preached and lived. They hated the way that Paul preached and lived so much that they referred to it in a disdainful way by calling it, “that way.” “That way” that these people were talking about was the way of the Scriptures. “That way” was the way that Jesus taught the disciples to live. “That way” was the way that Paul’s life was changed. These people may not have liked “that way,” but it was “that way” that is the only way for lives to be changed.
What is sad is that you will find those who call themselves Christians are the biggest critics of “that way.” It is sad that many who criticize “that way” are those who once used to walk in the way but are now the greatest detractors of those who teach and preach “that way.” You must never let the voices of these critics slow you down are cause you to change what the Scriptures teach. The verse above shows several reasons as to why people would criticize “that way,” which is the way of the old paths.
First, they criticize “that way” because of their hard heart. One thing you will learn about those who criticize is that you will never change them because their heart is hard towards “that way.” A hardened heart is a choice. It is a choice to become stubborn and obstinate towards “that way.” In fact, those with hardened hearts towards the old paths are simply rebels who try to cloak their worldliness in Christianity.
Second, they criticize “that way” because of their unbelief. The critics of the old paths have chosen not to believe in the old paths. It is not that the old paths don’t work, it is that they don’t want to believe in them. My friend, you will never change someone who doesn’t want to be changed. It is a choice not to believe in “that way” as much as it is to choose to believe in it.
Third, they criticize “that way” because of a desire for a following. You will notice that those who didn’t follow Paul were those who had to make their voice known among the multitudes. You will always find that the voices of criticism will never keep their negative thoughts to themselves because of their desire for a following. You will often find that the critics are those who are often filled with pride and will choose the largest medium to criticize in hopes of getting a following.
Fourth, they criticize “that way” because of their dislike for separation. It is interesting that Paul’s critics “departed from them.” The critic’s desire is always leaning towards the world. If these people were so right, why didn’t they continue to walk in the way of the Scriptures? Those who criticize the old paths are only revealing their desire to live in the world, but they try to appease their conscience by having worldly, religious worship.
My friend, don’t worry about the critics of “that way.” Don’t let their voices stop you from doing what you are supposed to do. Ignore them and stop trying to change them. The greatest way to silence their voice is to keep walking in the old paths and reaching the lost for Christ.