Acts 5:22-42 – “But when the officers came and did not find them in the prison, they returned and reported, 23 saying, “Indeed we found the prison shut securely, and the guards standing outside before the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside!” 24 Now when the high priest, the captain of the temple, and the chief priests heard these things, they wondered what the outcome would be. 25 So one came and told them, saying, “Look, the men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!”
26 Then the captain went with the officers and brought them without violence, for they feared the people, lest they should be stoned. 27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them, 28 saying, “Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!”
29 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. 31 Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”
33 When they heard this, they were furious and plotted to kill them. 34 Then one in the council stood up, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in respect by all the people, and commanded them to put the apostles outside for a little while. 35 And he said to them: “Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men. 36 For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody. A number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was slain, and all who obeyed him were scattered and came to nothing. 37 After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census, and drew away many people after him. He also perished, and all who obeyed him were dispersed. 38 And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; 39 but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it — lest you even be found to fight against God.”
40 And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. 42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.” NKJV
I’ve used a very long passage to make a short statement. In today’s world, we are, more than ever, coming to the place that we have to choose to obey God or man. This is true in our daily lives, on the job, in social gatherings, in personal relationships, and in politics. The enemy will desire to destroy us if we proclaim that our commitment and responsibility is to God not man and that we, at the risk of our own personal safety, will obey God first and foremost.
In this account, there was a plot to kill the disciples but there was one voice of sanity and reason in the enemy’s camp that I pray exists somewhere today in our government, churches, and relationships. Gamaliel advised – “If this is of God, you cannot overthrow it lest you be found to fight against God.” Sadly, those who fight against God and do not believe in him have no fear of opposing the Almighty God! We need to fully trust God and believe what He speaks to us through His Word and Spirit to our inner man. If we stand firm in following the Lord, it is my belief that God will open the eyes of some in the enemy’s camp and cause them to realize, as He has throughout human history that it is futile to fight against God. If they persist they do so at their own peril and it is no longer them fighting us it is them fighting God Himself and that is a battle they cannot win.
So, in this New Year be encouraged that if we follow the directive of the Lord WE WILL BE VICTORIOUS! I am excited about what I know God is doing and is about to do! I have more excitement and anticipation as 2018 unfolds than I’ve had in a very long time! BLESSINGS!