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August 22, 2018, 6:54 AM

Unstoppable Force

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

“They never stopped…” (Acts 5:42).

Gamaliel was right in his comments in Acts 5:21-42. If God is not in the Christian movement, it will fail. If He is, to oppose it is to oppose God, and “fighting against God” is ultimate folly (v. 39). You might as well forbid the sun to rise, the tides to flow, as to forbid evangelism in Jesus’ name. Prison, flogging, martyrdom all failed to check the surging gospel work of the early church. “But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men,” reads verse 39. “They never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news,” reads verse 42. In between, stern orders from the court, reinforced with savage beating, from which the Christians went away “rejoicing”! Let’s look at this unstoppable force.

First, an unstoppable power. Verse 30 declares, “The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead.” The fathers had experienced the mysterious and mighty power of God at work in their lives: witness the Exodus, the conquest of Canaan, the return from the Captivity. But all earlier interventions and deliverances pointed forward to this greatest of all events – the resurrection of Jesus who had died for the sins of the world. What sin and the grave cannot stop is unstoppable power indeed.

Second, an unstoppable people. Verse 39 announces, “You will not be able to stop these men.” Others had been stopped. Theudas and Judas the Galilean are given as examples – brave men who “led a band of people in revolt.” But they were killed, their followers dispersed, and “it all came to nothing” (vv. 36-37). But these Christians – “they never stopped”! What made them different? The answer is found in verse 32: “We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.” What made the difference? First, “The Holy Spirit” – the very life and power of the risen Lord – indwelled their hearts and energized their lives as witnesses to Jesus. They were not on their own! Second, obedience! “We gave you strict orders,” said the Sanhedrin. “We must obey God rather than men,” answered the apostles (vv. 28-29). Orders from God, to which they were loyal, made those early Christians invincible. The measure of our effectiveness will be the measure of our obedience to God in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Third, an unstoppable proclamation. Verse 42 states, “Proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.” “The gospel,” Paul said, “is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16). When God’s good news is preached, things happen. Despite the stubborn opposition of blind men, sinners hear the message and turn to Jesus, finding the joy of forgiveness and the peace of reconciliation. The content of that “good news” is “Jesus is the Christ.” When John the Baptist was asked who he was, he answered, “I am not the Christ” (John 1:20). That is every man’s confession – I am not the Deliverer. I cannot save myself or anyone else. Every man, that is, but Jesus! He is the Savior of the world. He has purchased our freedom from sin with the blood of His cross. And so, they couldn’t be stopped – not by jails, or stones, or threats, or floggings, or even death! They were an unstoppable people, filled with an unstoppable power, making an unstoppable proclamation. What they were, we can be! However, that will require that we’re filled with the Holy Spirit and obey Him!

Let’s pray: Almighty Father, may we be fully surrendered and an unstoppable force for You! Amen.

You are Loved!

Pastor Jason Stevens

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