For the second time the apostles had been imprisoned and given strict orders not to do further teaching in the name of Jesus (Acts 5:28). Now, after their third arrest and facing almost sure prospects of death, the highly regarded Gamaliel intervenes in their behalf, resulting in their release with a beating and a warning to "speak no more in the name of Jesus". The remarkable response of these dedicated men is seen in the last two verses of Acts 5. Not only did they rejoice in being considered worthy to suffer for His name, but "every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ" (NASV).
That "they kept right on" speaks volumes in regard to the faith and character of these Godly men -- and it shows us why Jerusalem (vs. 28) and the whole Roman empire (Col. 1: 23) had come to be filled with the gospel message in a relatively short time. And neither was such dedication limited to just these apostles. In Acts 2 we read of how other saints also kept right on "in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in prayers" (vs. 42). Later, when scattered abroad because of the great persecution against the church, they still kept right on "preaching the Word" (Acts 8:4). In persecution, in poverty, in prison, in palaces; in public, in private, in season and out, let it ever be said to their crdit, they kept right on teaching the gospel. Without benefit of newspaper, radior or television; without auto or airplane; without internet, even without comfortable meeting places in good locations, they kept right on! For a time many of the young churches were without elders and "fulltime" preachers, but you know what? They just kept right on! Sure, they had their "church" problems. They had squabbles, false teachers divisions, weak and sinful brethren to be reckoned with. So they reckoned; no doubt some quit. But the faithful just kept right on anyway.
The pressing need of our day is for saints like that -- men and women of such faith and character as to keep right on serving God without having to be begged and pampered; men and women concerned enought about lost souls to keep right on trying to help save them. Our need is for the abiding sense of urgency that motivated our first century brethren -- the kind that made Paul say, "I press on". Without it, we're not likely to fill even the local church with the teaching of Christ, much less our neighborhoods and cities. What a tragedy that so many who profess allegiance to such an urgent cause would do so little to advance it -- or would give up at the slightest obstacle or discouragement! -- and this in the midst of the most favorable circumstances possible. Oh we of little faith! Just think of the amazing results possible if every member in every local church would begin and just keep on doing all he knows to do for the Lord (as per 1 Cor. 15:58)! Why, we may just keep on having good results, like in the first century. Why not resolve to put away our intermittent and sputtering efforts of the past, realizing what we could do -- and then, just keep right on doing it?
By Dan S. Shipley via Gospel Power, Vol. 13, No. 30, July 23, 2006.
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