Now after five days Ananias the high priest came down with the elders and a certain orator named Tertullus. And when he was called upon, Tertullus began his accusation, saying, “Seeing that through you we enjoy great peace, and prosperity is being brought to this nation by your foresight… Acts 24:1-2
As ministers and messengers of Jesus Christ we must not be alarmed by false accusations designed to discredit our ministry, judge and condemn, and ultimately pervert the proclamation of Truth.
Facing false accusation is a mild form of persecution and is becoming more prevalent in Christendom today. Although being falsely accused is non violent in nature, it is still painful. Not only are we emotionally scarred, but sometimes discouraged to point of wanting to give up the work assigned by God. However, this form of persecution works for the good as a part of God’s plan to bring us to another level of trust and dependency on Him to fulfill His purpose in our lives (Acts 21:1-14).
Believe it or not, our most gifted accusers are among us—our own people—church folks, and not to mention the people we love dearly. Many of our accusers are the persons we interact with daily. They are our partners in ministry, our coworkers in the marketplace, and our family members. Unfortunately, our accusers are victims that are held captive by Satan and deceived into thinking they are justified in their wrong.
In addition, the false accusations against us not only come from your brothers and sisters in the body of Christ, but they are assailed falsely because we are a threat to religious traditions, dogma and customs that tend to keep people in bondage. More importantly, we are a threat to the kingdom of darkness. We minister in the liberty of Christ and proclaim the uncompromising gospel of Jesus Christ, which is power unto salvation. When we teach and preach holiness, purification, and walking in the Spirit—not living to satisfy the appetites of the flesh people become upset. Their sinful nature rebels against the Truth, and they open themselves up to the demonic spirit realm.
Hurling false accusations are the tactics used to discourage, and are designed to destroy credible reputations. When religious systems are threatened, these accusers recruit others who will agree with their accusations, also known as ‘cliques’ in today’s society, to cause division in the body of Christ. Mind you, it was Paul’s own people that turned against him and literally tried to kill him.
Should we defend ourselves against false accusations? Your defense against false accusation must be on the basis of your integrity and your right standing with God. In essence, you must know that you are in the will of God and walking in purpose. Your testimony must be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!
In chapter twenty-two of Acts Paul stands boldly in his defense. He gives an account of his actions, and testimony to his conversion on the Damascus Road. What’s noteworthy is that Paul admits his errors of the past. This is important because people will always try to keep us in remembrance of our past mistakes. But our past mistakes are not justification for present accusations.
I’ve often heard people say they don’t have to explain anything to anyone. This may be true in some instances; but there comes a time when we must speak up to defend the faith. Paul had no problem with defending his ministry. Doing so establishes accountability and our pureness of motives. Then we become transparent with no hidden agenda, only submitted to God and committed to doing what He commissioned us to do. Paul’s mission (assignment) was to the Gentiles and this alone was cause for the Jews condemnation of him. The hatred and hostility of Paul’s own people resulted in a contracted conspiracy to have him murdered.
Ironic, Paul suffered at the hands of a mob he had once been privy to. Yet, God had a plan and purpose. Good news! God’s plan shall come to pass (Acts 23:11). Paul had to go to Rome to bear witness; therefore, he could not be killed by the Jews in Jerusalem. And God intervened and made a way of escape (Acts 23:23-24).
After their false accusations and their oath to kill Paul failed at Jerusalem they had to take the case before Felix at Caesarea. Intent on succeeding with their false accusations, they prepared themselves to be politically correct and to present a more professional false accusation. They brought along a “gifted” accuser, Tertullus. He was an orator—one skilled in oral presentation. He was articulate. Notice his approach to the governor was flattery (Acts 24: 1-2). It’s something about gifted accusers that makes them feel the need to flatter and elevate the ego of those they think are in a position to authorize and sanction their evil actions. This is a sure sign of false accusation if the accusers have to bribe others with flattery words of praise.
No matter how articulate and intellectual our accusers are they are stupid to believe that God will allow His name to be discredited by false accusations against His chosen and anointed vessels. This is why as ministers we must be accountable. We must walk in obedience. We must be men and women of integrity. Our integrity and our right standing with God are crucial to our victory! When we stand before our accusers, we cannot be intimated nor should we be ashamed of the truth, and who it is we represent. We must stand in truth and trust God (Acts 25:7-8).
This saga of false accusation went on for two years (Acts 24:27). Again, Paul must defend himself before Festus. Yet, Paul’s testimony did not change. He held to the truth. King Agrippa paid a visit to Festus, and he wanted to hear Paul’s case out of mere curiosity. Again Paul defended himself to Agrippa. He told his story from the beginning (Damascus Road). Finally, Paul arrived at Rome (Acts 28:16) as God had predestined and assured him that he would. There Paul was permitted to live by himself under guard. Only after being in Rome three days he calls leading Jews and explains to them his plight. However, his motives were to present to them the good news of the Kingdom of God and to persuade them to believe in Jesus as the promised Messiah.
In essence, the case presented by the gifted accusers didn’t stick. No weapon formed against us shall prosper; and every tongue that rises against us in judgment we shall condemn. This is our heritage as servants of the Lord, and our righteousness is of Him (Isaiah 54:17). It was all a part of the process to get Paul to his destination to fulfill his God given purpose predestined by God (Ephesians 1:1-11). Those accusations were steps that led Paul to his next assignment.
Today our accusers may not literally try to kill us, but their accusations are murderous attempts to destroy our character and tarnish our reputation. Therefore, I want to encourage you. If you face false accusations, don’t give up or give in. Keep telling your story. Tell the truth. Keep it real. Stay in the will of God and He will bring His purpose to pass. Know that your labor is not in vain. Do not grow weary in well doing for in due season you will reap, if you do not faint (Galatians 6:9). You may have to go through a long process, but the Lord will carry you through to completion. No matter how well prepared and gifted your accusers are, TRUTH is eternal, and will win in the end. You must trust God to get you to your destination in the Kingdom of God as you continue to do the work of ministry.
Queen E. F. Phillips. All rights reserved. Can be used for nonprofit only, with credit given to copyright owner.