The Day of Pentecost was past, the church (the body of Christ) was growing in numbers, and the apostles were preaching the gospel and healing the sick and afflicted in the name of Jesus Christ. But they were also facing much opposition from the same people who opposed Jesus Christ.
Rulers in the temple arrested the apostles, out of jealousy, and they put them in prison. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said to them:
“’Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.’ And when they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and began to teach” (Acts 5:20-21 ESV).
Now when the apostles were sent for, it was discovered that they were no longer in the prison, even though all the doors were securely locked. And then someone reported that the apostles were seen standing in the temple teaching the people. So, the captain with the officers went and brought the apostles before the rulers.
Acts 5:27-33 ESV
“And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, saying, ‘We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.’
“But Peter and the apostles answered, ‘We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.’
“When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them.”
Facing Similar Opposition Today
When we are teaching (preaching, sharing, proclaiming) the gospel of Jesus Christ, i.e., the same gospel Jesus and his apostles taught, we are going to be opposed, even by religious rulers (leaders, authorities) within the church (or within the institutional church).
And that is because we live in a day and time when the truth of the gospel is not being taught much at all, and it is being supplanted by a cheapened gospel of grace which makes no demands for repentance, nor for obedience to Christ, nor for submission to Jesus Christ as Lord (master, ruler).
So, when we teach what the Scriptures teach, we will have church leaders and church people, and even family members, or members of our communities, and even our government leaders who will oppose us, some strongly, and others yet at a distance, but with an evil plan in mind.
For, if you have been paying attention, there has been much talk for years now coming from our government leaders throughout the world with regard for the need for all of us to discard everything which divides us as a people so that the people of the world can all come together as one.
Well, the gospel of Jesus Christ divides the people of the world into saved and unsaved, or more specifically into those who are walking according to the Spirit and those who are walking according to the flesh, and it promises that those who walk according to the flesh will not inherit eternal life.
And if you have been paying much attention to the gospel which is now being predominantly taught in today’s churches, you will discover that most are not teaching repentance, obedience, and submission to Christ, but they are claiming that a mere confession of Christ is enough to secure them eternal life with God and salvation from the punishment of sin.
So, if you are teaching what the Scriptures teach, in context, and you are teaching on repentance and obedience, as Jesus and his apostles did, don’t be surprised when you are opposed, and when those on the other side of the fence try to coerce you into coming over to their side.
We Must Obey God Rather Than Men
This needs to be our stance, too. If we are mistreated, rejected, falsely accused, attacked, slandered, mocked, or whatever, and by whomever, because we are teaching the truth of the Scriptures, we need to not let that discourage us. We must get right back out there and keep speaking.
Also, we must not let people intimidate us into making compromises with the truth of the gospel, but we must obey God rather than other humans when other humans require that we disobey God. So, if any authority over us demands we disobey our Lord, we have to refuse them.
And we must keep teaching that salvation from sin is not the result of some words repeated after someone else or some one-time decision to “receive Jesus Christ into our hearts.” The Scriptures teach we must walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the Spirit, for if we walk according to the flesh, we will not inherit eternal life with God (Rom 8:1-17; Rom 6:1-23).
So, we must keep teaching what the apostles taught, which is that we must repent of our sins, i.e., that we must turn away from living in sin, be renewed in mind by the Spirit of God, and we must follow Jesus Christ with our lives in obedience to his commands (under the New Covenant).
But we don’t do this in our own flesh or strength. And we don’t do this to earn our salvation. We do this as part of saving faith, and as part of our salvation, because God’s gift of grace to us trains us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for his return (Titus 2:11-14).
We do all this in the mighty working, power, and strength of our God who has saved us and called us to a holy calling. And we walk in his Spirit and we do not live any longer to gratify the sinful cravings of the flesh because he saved us, and because of his grace, and because we love him.
Our Lord requires our submission to his Lordship and our surrender to his will. And that is the best place we can ever be, too. So, don’t listen to those who are telling you lies to make you feel good. Listen to the truth of God’s word, for your eternity depends on it.
For we are all going to be judged one day by what we do, not by what we profess with our lips. If we live to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life. But if we live to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction. Which one will it be?
[Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 2 Co 5:10; 1 Co 6:9-10]
There’s a Stirring
By Annie Herring
There’s a stirring deep within me
Could it be my time has come
When I’ll see my gracious savior face to face when all is done
Is that his voice I am hearing?
‘Come away, my precious one’
Is he calling me?
Is he calling me?
I will rise up, rise up
And bow down
And lay my crown
At his wounded feet
*Caution: This link may contain ads