The Mob And The Rule Of Law

Photo by Florian Olivo on Unsplash

I never know what I’m going to preach until God puts it on my heart. This morning I was searching the Internet for news. The major news networks do not give news, but opinion and bias. I just want to be informed. Anyway, in one of my news feeds I found an article entitled “Tennessee In National Spotlight With Harsh Penalties For Protesters”. The article, written by Nikki Junewicz, focused on a bill passed by our state legislature. Bill 8005 passed in the Tennessee House with 71 Ayes, 20 Noes. The Bill passed in the Tennessee Senate with 25 Ayes, 4 Noes. Governor Bill Lee signed the bill into Law August 20, 2020. The Law “revises certain criminal laws concerning vandalism, assault, disorderly conduct, rioting, obstructing traffic, camping on state property, and other offenses; authorizes the TBI to investigate certain offenses”.

Every citizen in Tennessee should appreciate this law, especially after watching other cities across America burn as rioters and looters “peacefully protest”. Camping on state property is not allowed, and is punishable by up to 6 years in prison and a fine of up to $3000. Aggravated Rioting is now a felony, with prison time up to 15 years, and fines may be imposed up to $10,000.

This bill does nothing to limit our First Amendment privileges. The First Amendment to our glorious Constitution states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

America is great because, as citizens, we can PEACEABLY assemble, and PETITION the Government for a redress of grievances. When people riot, they are causing lawlessness. When humans come together and allow the flesh to take over, when humans begin to disrespect property and other people, this destroys the structure of law that makes our nation great. Martin Luther King Jr did much to advance the Civil rights of American citizens, and did so without tolerating rioting, arson, or looting. I quote from the article:

Democratic Representative John DeBerry of Shelby County is not backing down in his support of the law, taking a firm stand against the protests, condemning those who compare them to the Civil Rights movement. ‘I saw it, I saw men and women stand with courage, integrity and class and they changed the world, because what the world could see in them was the lie that was being told about them,’ says DeBerry.

That’s why DeBerry says destruction of property should not be tolerated. ‘The way they did it, they had on their suits, their ties, their shirts, their hats, they locked arms and they marched peacefully and Dr. King stood for that which was peaceful,’ says DeBerry.

I heartily endorse any person to peacefully – PEACEFULLY – protest, whether I agree with your viewpoint or not. This is the glue that maintains our Republic. But rioting and burning, toppling statues and destroying public property, these are not the actions of citizens, but of a mindless mob. The Bible says:

1 Corinthians 14:33 God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

If God is not the Author of confusion, then riots are not God endorsed, nor do riots promote an atmosphere where the Gospel of Grace can be shared. Mobs and riots are not new. The Way of Christ is not well liked by the lost world. Our Lord Jesus came to this earth to teach us the Way of Grace and Peace. Our Lord Jesus came and gave His life for us all so that we could become citizens of the Kingdom of God. Riots, looting, burning, killing, these are all symptoms of lawlessness and devilishness. These thing are not conducive to the Kingdom of God.

Christians Are Never to Be Part Of The Mob

In Acts chapter 19 the Apostle Paul is sharing the Gospel throughout an area called Ephesus. When Paul first entered Ephesus we read:

Acts 19:1-3 … it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, 2 he said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. 3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.

The Apostle Paul found twelve men who were “disciples”. They were acquainted with John the Baptist’s ministry, and were baptized by John in the Jordan River. These men had never met Jesus, though they heard John preach that the Christ was going to come. Paul informs these men that they must believe on Christ Jesus (verse 4), that Jesus has come and given Himself for their sins. The men believed, and were baptized in the name (under the authority of) the lord Jesus (verse 5).

Paul then headed to the Synagogue at Ephesus. The “Synagogue” was the local assembly of believers in Judaism. Paul, Himself a Jew, entered the Synagogue not just a day, but the Bible says:

Acts 19:8-10 {Paul} spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. 9 But when {many} 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. 10 And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.

Paul continued to share “The Way of Christ” in the Ephesian Synagogue for about three months. As the religious members of the Synagogue began to vocally try to stir up the “multitudes” against Paul, the Apostle left the Synagogue and rented a place to speak, the school of one Tyrannus. No one knows who Tyrannus was, but that’s not important. Paul used the resources God provided, and stayed in Ephesus for two years, sharing “the Word of the lord Jesus”. The Bible tells us:

Acts 19:17-20 … the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. 18 And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. 19 Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.

As Christ was peaceably preached by the Apostle – not by riot nor by force – the Gospel went forth. Nothing good ever comes of rioting and burning. Paul followed “the Way of Peace”, which is what Jesus calls us to. As Zacharias prophesied:

Luke 1:78-79 … the dayspring from on high {a title of Christ Jesus} hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Paul did not raise up rioters when the Synagogue was denied him. He found other avenues, and continued to share “the Way of Peace”, the message of the lord Jesus Christ. As hearts were changed people began to leave the cult of Artemis, the Ephesian fertility goddess, and began to come to Christ to be saved. As they did this

the people who came to Jesus did not burn BUILDINGS in Ephesus, but their own occult BOOKS and means of false worship. Those who turn to Christ walk with Christ.

Though Paul did not lead nor start any riots, his presence caused a riot to occur. You see, when the way of Christ is shared, those bound in darkness do not like it. Our Lord Jesus told us:

John 15:18-19 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

As The Way of Christ grew, this growth effected the idolatry business. You see, there were people getting rich by selling idols of Artemis, also called Diana, in Ephesus.

When Mobs Are Formed,
They Usually Have An Ulterior Motive

Acts 19:23-24 … And the same time there arose no small stir about that way. 24 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen;

Before Paul came to Ephesus, Demetrius and the other silversmiths made quite a bit of money selling idols of Artemis/ Diana. But now that Paul is preaching Christ, God is changing the hearts of the people. As more and more people are turning to worship of the true God, less and less are buying idols.

And Demetrius is upset over it!

Money and power was what Demetrius worshiped. He could care less about the pagan worship of Artemis. So Demetrius decides to gather a mob. That’s how mobs start. You have a ring leader who is charismatic, and a charlatan.

Acts 19:25-28 called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth. 26 Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands: 27 so that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at naught; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth. 28 And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.

Notice how Demetrius works. He starts out with “Sirs”. He panders to his audience. Secondly, he focuses on the wealth that they are losing. The crowd has been disenfranchised. It has been ROBBED by that THIEF PAUL. Paul is taking food out of their babies mouths! But then, after focusing on the loss of income, then Demetrius turns to religion. The temple of the great goddess Diana {is} despised, and her magnificence {is} destroyed!”

This is how the devil works. He never comes directly at you, but sneaks up on you. The propaganda that Demetrius focuses on is money and religion – and then he focuses on the city itself. He gets the crowd chanting, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. What is the result?

Acts 19:29 … the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theater.

This is a picture of Portland, Oregon.
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This is a picture of Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Beloved, riots and destruction, with anarchy, are not new things. Lawlessness has taken over. The mob has no mind of its own, but strikes out, following feeling and anger. When the Apostle recalled this moment in his life in later writings he said:

1 Corinthians 15:32 … I have fought with beasts at Ephesus …

The mob, controlled by rage and feelings, is like a wild BEAST. That’s what the Apostle said. In Acts we see a perfect illustration of a rioting mob. We read:

Acts 19:32 Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together.

The message of the mob is noise. “Some cried one thing, and some another”. There was no focus. I listened to a video recording of a mob speaker in Oakland, California, leading the mob to chant “Death to America”. Another mob, headed by a Black Lives Matter activist, shouted he was “Ready to put D.C. cops in their graves”. Mobs have never done any good in society. It was mobs that lynched innocent Black people in the south. Notice that in the riot at Ephesus the {larger} part {did not know why} they were come together.

Elected Officials Must Disarm The Mob

When mobs form, someone must stand up and speak reason to quell it. Those who are our elected leaders must stop the mob before it grows beyond all control. It saddens me to see elected officials stand back, and do nothing when mobs form. It also saddens me when elected officials who ought to know better make judicial statements, rather than supporting the rule of law. Where lawlessness grows, society is destroyed.

Alexander, an enemy of Paul, stands up to try and calm the crowd down. But Alexander was a Jew, just like Paul was a Jew. The Bible says:

Acts 19:34 … when they knew that {Alexander} was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.

The crowd would not allow Alexander to speak. Many of our young people are taught this technique on college and university campuses. When speakers are scheduled that have an opinion different than the crowd, rather than hear out the speaker, the crowd shouts him out. There is no educating a mob. There is no good that comes from a mob.

Listen to me. When mobs form, our elected officials do not need to “become buddies” with the mob. They do not need to endorse the mob. They do not need to enable the mob, and allow them to deface public property. Our elected officials need to speak up, and remind the mob of the rule of law. The law is like cold water on the fire of the law. As Ephesus is in the midst of a riot, an elected official does his job. Read with me:

Acts 19:35-41 And when the town clerk had appeased the people, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshiper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter? 36 Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly. 37 For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess. 38 Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies: let them implead one another. 39 But if ye inquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly. 40 For we are in danger to be called in question for this day’s uproar, there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse. 41 And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.

The town clerk, an elected official, stood up to the mob. He acknowledged that Ephesus was a place where Artemis/ Diana was worshiped, and allowed. But he warned the crowd that they stood in danger of being “called into question by that day’s uproar”. The Roman Empire did not tolerate rioting and lawlessness, and would have mobilized the Roman Legion to that area had they not calmed down. I applaud our Governor and our Legislature for standing up for the rule of Law. As the Apostle said in another place:

Romans 13:1-4 … Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4 for he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

In America we are blessed to live under a rule of law. As Christians, and as citizens, we are obligated to obey the Laws, and respect our first responders who help maintain law and order. As God’s people we need to be in prayer for our elected officials, that they would realize their great responsibility is not to pander to a mob, but to protect the businesses and bodies of American citizens.

May God touch your hearts with his Word, and His Spirit. Amen and Amen!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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