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Unhindered

 Acts 28:31

 

. . . preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.

The Gospel is Unhindered by: 

  • Discouragement
 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. " 
  • Language and Cultural barriers
 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.
  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 own language. 
  • Disease and Disabilities
 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; 
  • Threats from the religious establishment
 Peter and John were told to stop speaking in the name of Jesus.  The compulsion to speak was so strong that they refused.
  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 heard. " 
  • Church Corruption
 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. 
  • Church squabbles
 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." 
  • Loss of a Trusted Leader
 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!" 
  • Potential Corruption
 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. 
  • Motivated Persecutor
 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?" 
  • Racial and Religious barriers
 Until this point, Christianity was a Jewish religion.  God shatters this barrier in a vision to the Pastor of the Jerusalem Church.
  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." 
  • Traditions of the Young Church
 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.
  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?" 
  • Prison
 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." 
  • Resistance of Religious Establishment
 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.
  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. 
  • Tendency to glorify man instead of God
 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.
  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. 
  •  Heresy
 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, 
  • Prison
 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. 
  • Intellectual Barriers
 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 with them. 
  • Fear
 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 is unhindered.

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