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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Acts 5:38-39

And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: For if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.
For further study - Acts 5:29-42

As we come to the fifth chapter of Acts we see recorded here, continuing persecution of the early church, in fact a church less than one year old was being persecuted.

In Acts 5:17-28 we see the record of the "second persecution", with the apostles being placed in jail for teaching about Jesus Christ and "The Way". It was while the apostles were in a "common prison" that an "angel of the Lord" released them and told them to "go, stand and speak", verse 20.

The High Priest and the Captain of the Temple gathered the apostles together and told them, "you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine", verse 28. What a testimony it was for these men who were following the directions of Jesus Christ, given to them before He ascended into heaven.

Peter answered these Temple leaders, "we ought to obey God rather than man", verse 29. That is our call for today, as well, to obey God rather than men. Notice the wisdom of the one member of the council overseeing this incident, verses 34-39.

The man, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, had watched the entire proceedings and told the other Temple leaders, verse 38, "If this work is of men, it will come to nought". Gamaliel's next statement shows his great wisdom, verse 39, "but if it be of God you can not overthrow it; lest haply you be found even to fight against God".

What a profound statement. The statement was also prophetic, Isaiah 46:9-10. In retrospect we now know it was not of men but of God as Gamaliel said.

The last three verses of Acts 5 reveal how these handful of apostles spread the message of the gospel, the story of Jesus, around the world.

First of all, they rejoiced in the fact that they were to be found worthy of suffering shame for the name of Jesus, verse 41Verse 40 reveals to us that the apostles were actually beaten for preaching the gospel.

Their response to this persecution was that, as recorded in verse 42, these men went out "daily", not just on Sunday, but daily they went out to teach or preach Jesus. They also went into the "marketplace," in fact, onto the Temple Mount, to teach and preach Jesus. These men not only went "public" but they went "private" as they went to "every house" to talk to the people about the Lord.

Let me remind you once again of the message. They would "teach and preach Jesus Christ". They weren't teaching politics, social issues, war or no war, presidential elections, or any other issue except Jesus Christ, the Messiah, and what that meant to the Jews they were contacting.

This plan must have worked, look how the gospel has spread over these two thousand years. But wait a minute, the work is not done yet. We must work until He comes. We must today go out and follow the plan and preach Jesus to all people.

In fact, according to 2 Peter 3:12, we can hasten the coming of the Lord as we win people to Jesus Christ. The only reason the Rapture has not happened is that the Lord wants all to come to Him to be saved, 2 Peter 3:9. We must work the work that is dear to the heart of God, winning people to Jesus Christ for salvation.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me Lord, to be focused on the job of winning people to You and doing it in the way that You said, one by one.