Monday, May 12, 2014


Acts 5:38-39, “If this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them.  You might even be found to be opposing God!”

The religious leaders had conspired together to have Jesus put to death.  But they were powerless to keep Him entombed.  He rose from the dead and sent forth His disciples.  Peter’s first and second sermons led to the salvation of thousands.  Much to the chagrin of the religious leaders the church was growing and expanding in its influence.  So they arrested Peter and John, but on account of the people they let them go (Acts 4:21).  And the church kept right on growing--“And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women” (Acts 5:14).  Again they arrested the apostles, “but during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out” (Acts 5:19).  The religious leaders ultimately found them in the temple teaching the people (Acts 5:25).  Again, they brought them before the Council (Acts 5:27).  Peter reiterated to them the truth of Christ’s death, at their hands, and His subsequent resurrection (Acts 5:30-31).  He affirmed his intent to keep on witnessing concerning Christ.  They were “enraged and wanted to kill them” (Acts 5:33).  “But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel” spoke up and intervened on their behalf (Cf. Acts 5:34f).

Gamaliel was a “teacher of the law” and was “held in honor by all the people” (Acts 5:35; Cf. Acts 22:3).  He suggested that the Council carefully weigh its decision regarding the apostles.  He spoke of other previous revolutionaries that had risen up: Theudas and Judas of Galilee.  These men had led others but they had ultimately perished and their causes with them.  Gamaliel suggested to the council that they should “keep away from these men and let them alone” (Acts 5:38).  His reasoning?  “If this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them.  You might even be found to be opposing God” (Acts 5:38-39)!  After they warned the apostles and had them beaten, the religious leaders “let them go” (Acts 5:40).

“If it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them,” Gamaliel said (Acts 5:39).  So it has been as Gamaliel predicted, and more importantly, as Jesus Himself had promised: “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).  History has proven that which Jesus declared.  Since the church was borne countless spurious causes and even world-wide revolutions have taken place.  Some of these revolutions have ascended to incredible heights of authoritative power and influence.  But their man-made causes proved to be unsustainable--worthless relics in the trash heap of history.  Not so Biblical Christianity.  Despite persecution and opposition the church continues on.  The Roman Empire tried to extinguish its light, but the witness could not be silenced.  In recent centuries communist governments sought to eradicate Christianity, only to see the church persevere and grow under oppression.  Even today, in countries around the world, Christians are persecuted and sometimes even martyred for their faith.  But their deaths only work to strengthen the resolve of their brethren, as the 2nd-century Church Father Tertullian once said, "The blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church."

Secular elitists are working to this day to silence the testimony of Bible-believing Christians.  The prince of the power of the air leads many minions (Ephesians 2:2; 2 Timothy 2:26).  Redefining sin and silencing the gospel are their key objectives.  Many are yielding to the pressure to compromise.  But Christ’s true church will never falter or fail (Cf. Romans 8:31, 37).  His Word cannot be imprisoned (2 Timothy 2:9).  His plans and purposes cannot be thwarted.  Voltaire was a famous French philosopher and an atheist. He died in 1778. Before his death he said that the Bible and the Christian faith would not be believed in 100 years. On the 100th anniversary of his statement, the Geneva Bible Society purchased Voltaire’s printing press and house and started to print Bibles there.  Don’t be alarmed or afraid of the growing choir of secular voices that are speaking ill of His church or His word.  The Lord lovingly and faithfully provides for and protects His Church.  He is even now preparing it for His return. The day is coming when the “great Church victorious” will be “the Church at rest!”

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