"Do not teach in the name of Jesus! Don't speak at all in His name!" That was the command of the Jewish council to Peter and John after the apostles had been teaching in the temple about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:18). These former fishermen, however, continued to teach about Jesus. In fact, all the apostles continued to serve as witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus Christ so that the council once again acted and imprisoned them (Acts 4:33; 5: 14-18). The council was furious and would evern have liked to kill these troublesome teachers, but they feared the react ion of the common people (Acts 5:27-33). The council had the apostles beaten and commanded them again not to speak in the name of Jesus (Acts 5:40).

Why was the council so anxious to silence these men? The teaching of the apostles disturbed the council just as the personal teaching of Jesus had made the religious leaders angry. The Lord identified their hypocrisy and showed them to be blind leaders. Rather than change their behavior, they plotted to kill Him and eventually put Him on a Roman cross. After His resurrection and ascension, the apostles who were guided by the Holy Spirit continued to preach the gospel of the kingdom.

The Jewish high priest and the rest of the council were to discover that these twelve men whom Jesus had called to be witnesses would not "go away." It would take more than threats and beatings to silence these men. In fact, their determination to teach and preach the message of Jesus Christ was shared by other early disciples who were scattered by
the Jewish persecution, but continued to proclaim the gospel wherever they went (Acts 8:1-4).

Those pesky Christians! As they taught the principles of the kingdom of heaven, they taught against sinful behavior. They taught against homosexuality (Rom. 1:26-32; 1 Cor. 6:9- 11), theft (Eph. 4:28), profane speech (Eph. 5:3-5; Col. 3:8), drunkenness (Gal. 5:21), lewdness (Gal. 5:19), etc. Many people who wanted to continue in such behaviors without
criticism often resented the preaching of the gospel.

There are those in our country and in our day who would like to silence the voices which preach from the Bible the need for righteous conduct. Organizations promoting homosexuality do not want to hear that homosexual behavior is the acting out of vile passions (Rom. 1:26). The sexually promiscuous do not want anybody preaching that such behavior is destructive to the individuals involved (1 Cor. 6:18) and to society in general. The greedy and socially unjust do not want to hear about their responsibility toward their neighbor (Rom. 13:8-11; Gal. 6:10).

But we will not go away. They can try to silence the message; they can take away the church buildings, the tax-exempt status and in general make life difficult for us, but we will continue to preach the message of righteousness because it is God's truth and the only way that men can be saved from their sins.

By Allen Dvorak via Gospel Power, Vol. 12, No.
35, Aug. 28, 2005.

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