Friday, November 18, 2016, 2:53 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “All Through the Night.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Acts 5 (Select vv. NASB).
Filled with Jealousy (vv. 17-18)
But the high priest rose up, along with all his associates (that is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy. They laid hands on the apostles and put them in a public jail.
The apostles were performing many miraculous signs and wonders among the people – healing the sick, and delivering from demons, etc. The number of followers of Christ was increasing, as well. And, the religious leaders in the Jewish temple were filled with jealousy. They had been jealous of Jesus, too, which is one of the reasons they had him killed on a cross (See: Matt. 27:18). Just as they had been threatened by Jesus’ popularity among the people, they were now threatened by the Apostles of Christ and their ministry among the people. And, so they sought to take them out.
So it is today. There are religious and political leaders among us whose goal it is to stop the spreading of the “whole message” of salvation from sin, and to silence the full gospel’s messengers. And, so they lie, deceive, manipulate, and twist the truth to their advantage, and do everything they can to discredit the whole message of the gospel and its messengers. They do something similarly on a global level with regard to sovereign governments, too, for their goal is not only to discredit the gospel and its messengers, but it is to do away with sovereign nations, so that they can bring the whole world together under one totalitarian global rule of government and a one-world (all inclusive) religion.
One of the angles they are apparently working now is to try to discredit independent news agencies by claiming they are fake news, as opposed to the mainstream media, which they try to convince us is the real news. But, mainstream news is largely fake news, and some of which they are calling fake news is probably legitimate, which is why they have to discredit it, though I don’t know this for a fact. I just know that they are going all out to try to discredit what is truth so that they can convince the people to believe the lies, both in the world of government and within the church.
First they tried to prove that the full gospel message was teaching works-based salvation instead of the grace of God, and they were largely successful in convincing a vast number of people to reject the whole gospel in favor of a diluted version, which does not crucify its followers with Jesus in death to sin and in resurrection to new life in Christ. And, now they are on a serious campaign to try to discredit the full (whole) gospel message and its messengers by crying “hate-speech,” “intolerance,” “bigotry,” and “uneducated; ignorant,” and the like. Their goal, again, is to bring all the people of the world together in unity under a one-world (all inclusive) religion, which accepts all religions as viable, and which accepts nearly all walks of life as good and pleasing to God (to them, a higher power).
Stand and Speak (vv. 19-26)
But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the gates of the prison, and taking them out he said, “Go, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of this Life.” Upon hearing this, they entered into the temple about daybreak and began to teach.
Now when the high priest and his associates came, they called the Council together, even all the Senate of the sons of Israel, and sent orders to the prison house for them to be brought. But the officers who came did not find them in the prison; and they returned and reported back, saying, “We found the prison house locked quite securely and the guards standing at the doors; but when we had opened up, we found no one inside.” Now when the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests heard these words, they were greatly perplexed about them as to what would come of this. But someone came and reported to them, “The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!” Then the captain went along with the officers and proceeded to bring them back without violence (for they were afraid of the people, that they might be stoned).
We must not be afraid of their threats, or their lies and deceptions, or their manipulations of truth, or their attempts to discredit us and the whole gospel message. But, we must keep speaking in Jesus’ name, and we must keep teaching the full gospel message of salvation from sin.
So, what is this whole (full) gospel? It is that, not only did Jesus die on a cross to deliver us from eternal damnation and to give us the hope of heaven when we die, but he died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. When we believe in Jesus, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life. We put behind us our old lives of living to sin and self, and we put on our new lives in Christ Jesus, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (See: Eph. 4:17-24; Ro. 6:1-23; Ro. 8:1-14; Ac. 26:16-18; 1 Pet. 2:24).
We Must Obey God! (vv. 27-32)
When they had brought them, they stood them before the Council. The high priest questioned them, saying, “We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.”
We should expect that if we are truly following Jesus Christ with our lives, and if we are teaching (sharing, preaching) the full gospel message of salvation from sin, that we are going to be hated and persecuted by those who oppose the full gospel message. They are going to put all kinds of pressure on us to try to get us to fold, to give up, or to compromise our faith and convictions, but we must remain strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Daily we must put on the armor of God (Eph. 6:10-20) with which to fight off Satan’s evil attacks against us, for truly he is the one behind all this opposition. And, even if they threaten us with death, we must keep on preaching Jesus Christ, him crucified, and us crucified with him in death to sin; and him risen, and us resurrected with him to newness of life.
They may even use the Word of God against us to try to get us to obey them rather than God, so, even though the Word of God teaches us that we must obey the human authorities over us, if any authority tries to convince us to follow them in disobedience to God, we must always obey God instead of men (or women). So, if the preaching of the gospel is outlawed, we keep preaching, because people need to hear the message of salvation so that they can believe in Jesus, and so they can be saved from their sins. As ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ it is our job to turn people from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Jesus Christ (Ac. 26:16-18). This is the essence of the gospel message.
All Through the Night / An Original Work / December 7, 2013
Based off Various Scriptures
Blessed are you when you’re persecuted
Because of your faith in Jesus Christ.
Blessed are you when people insult you,
And falsely say what leads folks to doubt.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is
Great in the heavens. You’re not alone.
When you are persecuted in one place,
Flee to another. God will be there.
You will be hated by all the nations
Because you testify of God’s grace.
Many will seize you and persecute you,
And put to death the foll’wers of Christ.
Yet, do not fear what humans may do to you,
For I’m with you all through the night.
I tell you, love your enemies with my love,
And forgive as I forgave you.
Pray for those who do evil against you.
Rest in my love and grace from above.