The early church leaders were starting to experience the same persecution that Jesus faced. In Acts 5, we find the “religious” Pharisees objecting to the preaching that was going on, again. Evil men will always try to stop the truth.
The Pharisees wanted to stop the preaching of the truth by killing Christ’s followers. One of the pharisaical leaders had more wisdom than the others in spiritual matters. That Pharisee was Gamaliel, a doctor of the law (Acts 5: 34). Gamaliel stood up and advised the mob of blood-thirsty Pharisees, “… Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” (Acts 5:38-39).
What a good point to keep in mind for a Christian. If something is of man, it probably will not last. Often, we have ideas about what we can do for God or even ourselves. We try. We plan. We spend, but the idea does not flourish. The effort is wasted, and the goal never materializes. Often it does not succeed because the effort was not of God, and it flopped. Ministries, relationships, business enterprises, and other endeavors have not succeeded because God was not in them.
However, when God is in the matter, nothing on this Earth can stop it from succeeding. Businesses had thrived when all odds were against them because the founders sought God about the matter and were convinced, He was in it. Ministries, with all the critics prophesying doom and gloom, were baffled when it turned out to be a flourishing outreach because God was in it. Men and women have looked back on long marriages because before dating had even gotten started, they sought God’s will and way for their lives. Even when we look at how the Bible is still around despite men trying to destroy and remove it from existence. Yet here it is in every city and available to everyone. You probably have a couple in your home alone. Amazing!
How few failures and disappointments we would have if we did the wise thing first. Seek God’s direction in all of life’s endeavors. If God is for it, who could possibly stop it?
What would it look like if you preached like the apostles did? Do you believe that God can use your faithfulness? Your willingness to speak the truth even if it meant that you might be ridiculed, mocked. If God is for you who can be against you? Maybe give it a shot this week and see what speaking the truth in love to others might do.
Questions for Reflection & Discussion
- Can you recall an effort you were involved in that flopped because God was not in it? What did you learn from this experience? How will you (or did you) proceed differently next time?
- What have the apostles endured so far in Acts? Why? What is their attitude now? (5:41)
- What do you do day after day? What are you known for talking about? How does that compare with the apostles in Acts 5:42? Any changes you would like to make (or God would like you to make)?