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. . . preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching concerning the Lord
Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.
The Gospel is Unhindered by:
At Jesus' ascension, his disciples were given a promise of power
at the coming of the Holy Spirit. They were not left as powerless
orphans, but as empowered conqueror.
ACTS 1:8 but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has
come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in
all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth. "
At the tower of Babel, God confused the tongues of the nations.
At Pentecost God miraculously restored understanding. Peter spoke,
and everyone heard the gospel in their own dialect.
Language and Cultural barriers
ACTS 2:6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together,
and were bewildered, because they were each one hearing them speak in his
All Judaism could offer the lame man was a place by the temple to
beg. The power of the Gospel gave him ability to walk.
ACTS 3:6-9 But Peter said, "I do not possess silver and gold,
but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene--
walk!" And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up;
and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened. And with
a leap, he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with
them, walking and leaping and praising God. And all the people saw
him walking and praising God;
Peter and John were told to stop speaking in the name of Jesus.
The compulsion to speak was so strong that they refused.
Threats from the religious establishment
ACTS 4:19-20 But Peter and John answered and said to them, "Whether
it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God,
you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking what we have seen and
Ananias tried to defraud the Church. God judged his motives
and removed the problem.
ACTS 5:3-5 But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your
heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back some of the price of
the land? "While it remained unsold, did it not remain your
own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is
it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not
lied to men, but to God." And as he heard these words, Ananias fell
down and breathed his last; and great fear came upon all who heard of it.
The Hellenistic Widows complained that they were not getting a fair
distribution of daily rations. The apostles recognized the validity
of the problem and empowered the seven to oversee a solution.
ACTS 6:3-4 "But select from among you, brethren, seven men of
good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge
of this task. "But we will devote ourselves to prayer, and to the ministry
of the word."
Stephen was stoned for preaching, the threats of chapter 4 were being
carried out. With his death, a proliferation of persecution resulted.
This decentralized the Church. Forcing the Christians to flee for their
safety. The spreading of the Christians resulted in the spreading
of the gospel.
ACTS 7:59 And they went on stoning Stephen as he called upon
the Lord and said, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!"
Peter was not willing to "sell" himself or the gospel. The
gospel is free to those who will submit to it, It cannot be bought by those
who wish to control it for their own gain.
ACTS 8:19-21 saying, "Give this authority to me as well, so
that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit."
But Peter said to him, "May your silver perish with you, because you thought
you could obtain the gift of God with money! "You have no part or
portion in this matter, for your heart is not right before God.
There are two ways to destroy enemies: Kill them, or
Convert them into friends. God choose to turn Enemy number
one into Apostle number 13. Saul intended to stamp out the Gospel,
he ends up spreading it!
ACTS 9:3-4 And it came about that as he journeyed, he was approaching
Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and
he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why
are you persecuting Me?"
Until this point, Christianity was a Jewish religion. God shatters
this barrier in a vision to the Pastor of the Jerusalem Church.
Racial and Religious barriers
ACTS 10:14 But Peter said, "By no means, Lord, for I have never
eaten anything unholy and unclean." And again a voice came to him a second
time, "What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy."
Cornelius would be the first gentile recipient of the gospel. Others
would follow. The Apostles in Jerusalem questioned the authenticity
of the gentile's salvation. Peter defends the obvious work of God.
Traditions of the Young Church
ACTS 11:17 "If God therefore gave to them the same gift as He
gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that
I could stand in God's way?"
Peter was thrown in Jail by Herod the King to destroy the Church.
God delivered him from his bonds.
ACTS 12:11 And when Peter came to himself, he said, "Now I know
for sure that the Lord has sent forth His angel and rescued me from the
hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting."
The Jews disputed the claims of the Gospel and were jealous of its
power. Paul and Barnabas continued to preach with boldness.
The power of the religious establishment could not stop the gospel.
Resistance of Religious Establishment
ACTS 13:45-46 But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled
with jealousy, and began contradicting the things spoken by Paul, and were
blaspheming. And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, "It
was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; since
you repudiate it, and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold,
we are turning to the Gentiles.
Those witnessing the wonders performed by the apostles began to worship
them. The apostles resisted the temptation to take credit for what
God has performed. They turned the opportunity to sin into an opportunity
to bring glory to God.
Tendency to glorify man instead of God
ACTS 14:15 and saying, "Men, why are you doing these things?
We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you
in order that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who
made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them.
The first theological conflict of the Church arose. Some were
teaching that salvation was only possible to the circumcised. Paul
sent messengers to Jerusalem to ask the apostles to rule on the matter.
They affirmed the doctrine of salvation by grace. Luther would later
articulate it as "Grace alone, Faith alone."
ACTS 15:22 Then it seemed good to the apostles and
the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them to send
to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas-- Judas called Barnabas, and Silas, leading
men among the brethren,
Paul and Silas are also thrown into jail. Again the same strategy
is used: Restrain the leader and destroy the movement. What
the opponents of the gospel did not understand is that the risen Lord is
the leader, not a man. Paul and Silas were released from Jail.
ACTS 16:25-26 But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying
and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to
them; and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations
of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened,
and everyone's chains were unfastened.
There have always been those who believed that faith is intellectual
suicide. Paul spoke to the debaters. He made known the unknown
God. Some believed.
ACTS 17:34 But some men joined him and believed, among whom
also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others
God gave Paul a special strength to cope with fear. God gave
him the courage to continue speaking
ACTS 18:9-10 And the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision,
"Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent;
for I am with you, and no man will attack you in order to harm you, for
I have many people in this city."
Chapters 19 to 26 tell how the gospel cannot be hindered by imposters,
timidity, slander, trials, oppression or natural calamity. The gospel