Acts 5 ESV
The early church lived in community with one another, caring for one another’s needs, so there was never a needy person among them. Those of greater wealth than others sold some of their properties and gave the money to the apostles who then distributed to those as they had need. But Ananias and Sapphira decided to lie about how much they sold their property for, so God struck both of them dead for lying to the Holy Spirit.
“And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things” (v. 11).
Many signs and wonders were being done among the people by the hands of the apostles. Multitudes of new believers in Jesus were being added to the Lord. People were bringing their sick and afflicted to be healed. But the religious rulers and leaders in the temple were filled with jealousy, and so they arrested the apostles 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, ‘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” (vv. 19-21).
We never have to fear opposition. Why? Because if God is in what we are doing, because he is the one who called us, and if he is not finished with us yet, and he still has work for us to do, he will make a way where there seems to be no way. For he works in ways we cannot see. He can do what we cannot do. For, He is the God of impossible situations.
And even if we have been persecuted previously for obeying the Lord and for doing what he says to do, we should not fear going right back out there and continuing to do what he has called us to do, provided that we are actually doing the will of God and not our own will, but calling it God’s will. So, we must believe that if God is calling us that he will make the way for us.
When the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard that the apostles had miraculously escaped the prison, they were greatly perplexed. For the men they had put in prison were standing in the temple teaching the people about Jesus Christ. So, the captain with the officers went and got them, but not by force, for they were afraid of being stoned by the people.
“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’” (vv. 27-32).
When we are following Jesus Christ with our lives, and we are doing what he says to do, and we are saying what he commands us to say, we are going to be persecuted, even by the church and by church leaders and pastors. For not everyone is following Jesus. Not everyone is obeying his word. Many are not. Many Christians have become worldly and they are following a gospel of men, not of God, and so they will be opposed to the gospel of Jesus.
And pastors of churches and people who claim Jesus as their Savior will come against us, and they will try to get us to stop teaching the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ because it offends people, and they don’t want to offend anyone with the truth. And so they will falsely accuse us of being hyper-religious or self-righteous or judgmental or of teaching works-based salvation because they don’t want to hear the truth.
And the reason that they don’t want to hear the truth is that the truth convicts them of their sinful practices and they don’t want to be convicted. And they don’t want to offend the people of the world with the gospel message because they are trying to attract the world to their gatherings, and they know that the gospel will turn people away because it confronts them with their sins and commands that they repent and obey Jesus.
But we who know the truth know that it is only the truth that will set people free from their slavery to sin. For that should be the goal of our faith in Jesus to be delivered from our bondage to sin so that we can now be bondservants of Jesus Christ in living for him in obedience to his commands. Our goal should be to live holy lives, pleasing to our Lord, not just trying to get a free ride to heaven while we still live like hell.
So, when we have people coming against us, even within the church, trying to silence us, trying to get us to stop preaching the truth of the gospel, we must answer back in the same way as the apostles. “We must obey God rather than men.” Amen! For, we love our Lord God and our desire is for him to obey him, and we love our fellow humans and our desire for them is to see them be set free from their chains to sin.
For, it is the will of God and the reason for which Jesus died on that cross that we die with Christ to sin and live to Christ and to his righteousness in the power of God. So, we are to repent of our sins, to forsake them, to leave them behind us to follow our Lord Jesus in obedience to his commands. Jesus is now to be master of our lives and sin is to have no more dominion over us, for Jesus set us free.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10]
All The Way My Savior Leads Me
Lyrics by Frances J Crosby, pub. 1875
Music by Robert Lowry, pub. 1875
All the way my Savior leads me,
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my Guide?
Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.
All the way my Savior leads me,
Cheers each winding path I tread,
Gives me grace for every trial,
Feeds me with the living Bread.
Though my weary steps may falter
And my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy I see.
All the way my Savior leads me,
Oh, the fullness of His love!
Perfect rest to me is promised
In my Father’s house above.
When my spirit, clothed immortal,
Wings its flight to realms of day
This my song through endless ages:
Jesus led me all the way.
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