This Thing

Monday, June 10, 2013, 8:26 a.m. – the Lord Jesus woke me this morning with the song “Come and See” playing in my mind. Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. I read Acts 4:1-31 (NIV):

No Other Name

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. Jesus is

“‘the stone you builders rejected,
which has become the cornerstone.’

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

Amen! Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through him (Jn. 14:6). He is our keystone! In other words, he is “the wedge-shaped stone at the highest point of an arch” (the church) “that locks the others” (us) “in place;” “on which other interrelated things” (we) “depend” (Encarta Dictionary). Without him and his blood sacrifice for our sins we would not have salvation and eternal life with God. Without him there would be no church. And, the church, without him as her central and most important basis, grounding, source, principle, support and foundation, will come crashing down.

They Took Note

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.

I always love reading this verse (v. 13)! Our lives should stand in such stark contrast to the world, and we should be so in love with Jesus, as evidenced by how we live our daily lives in faithfulness to him and to his teachings, that people should take note that we have been with Jesus. Even if they don’t, though, this is still how we should live our lives for Christ.

Stop This Thing

But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everyone living in Jerusalem knows they have performed a notable sign, and we cannot deny it. But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name.”

Calling the gospel “this thing” denotes a tone of disapproval, rejection, disdain and a belittling and devaluing of the apostles, their calling, and their message (the Lord’s message). They were not taken seriously by the religious leadership of their day, only so far as they posed a threat to the established religion and religious practices of that day, and to their positions of power.

From what I understand, this type of treatment of the Lord’s servants still goes on today in our religious institutions. Based upon the teachings of scripture, as applied to our faith and witness for Christ today, and from what I have experienced personally, and have read about, those who adhere to the true gospel of Jesus Christ are sometimes, or perhaps often, treated in the same manner as were the apostles, because many of our religious (Christian) institutions today (called churches) have gone the way of the world, have turned to man-made religion and teachings and practices, and are marketed much in the same ways in which businesses are marketed. The true gospel of Jesus Christ, which includes the need to repent of our sins and to walk in obedience to Christ, is often too offensive to these institutions trying to appeal to the likes of this world. Thus, those who preach the true gospel are sometimes, and perhaps often, ostracized and kicked aside, and perhaps are even kicked out of our churches in order to stop “this thing” from spreading any further.

For We Cannot

Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

This is yet another one of my most favorite passages in scripture! The apostles did not buckle under the weight of such opposition from sinful mankind, but in following their Lord Jesus, fixing their eyes upon him, and for the joy set before them (the salvation of souls), they endured the cross (persecution and death to self), scorning its shame, and they did not lose heart, but they kept on speaking in the name of Jesus Christ, proclaiming his true gospel. And, we should follow their example, especially when our faith is being tested through times of persecution and opposition to the message of the gospel of Christ.

Enable Your Servants

“Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

The Lord Jesus is not oblivious to what we are going through. He can see inside our hearts and inside the hearts of those who would oppose the message of the gospel, even inside our religious institutions and among our church leadership. None of what we face presently or will face in the days to come in the way of persecution for our faith and testimony for Jesus Christ catches our Lord off guard. And, he has a plan and a purpose for it all. He will make a way where there seems to be no way, so that his gospel can continue to go forth into all the world, and then the end will come, and our Lord Jesus will return for his bride, and we will ever be with our Lord. Amen!

We just need to rely upon the strength of our Lord, trust in his wisdom and discernment, and obey all that he teaches us and all that he commands us to do. And, we need to keep on praying for the saints of God throughout this world who are undergoing severe persecution because they refuse to bow to the gods of men, but choose to speak boldly in the power of the Spirit of God within them for the sake of the gospel and the salvation of human lives for eternity. Although we in America have known little of this type of severe persecution, that time is coming for us, as well, because God’s word says so. Yet, we must remain strong in the mighty power of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, putting on his armor daily, so we can fight off Satan’s attacks, and so we can continue to speak the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in order that people throughout the world may know him, too.

Come and See / An Original Work / May 20, 2013

Based off John 1:35-51

John, the Baptist, called of God to
Make straight the way for the Lord,
Told his disciples about Jesus,
So two of them followed Him.

One of them who followed Jesus
Told his brother, Simon Peter,
Who then he brought to the Savior,
Who had told them, “Come and see.”

Jesus Christ, our Lord, Messiah,
On his way to Galilee found a man, Philip,
So he told him, “I want you to follow Me.”

Philip then found his friend,
And he told him, “We have found the one
The prophets spoke of – He is Jesus!”
Philip then said, “Come and see.”

Jesus saw the man, Nathanael,
While he sat beneath a fig tree,
Even before Philip called him,
So Nathanael did believe.

Nonetheless the Lord said,
“You believe because of what I told you.
You will see much greater things than these
If you will Come and see.”

Jesus’ calling to each one of us.
He tells us to believe in Him
As our Lord and Messiah,
And to follow where He leads.

He says we must turn from our sins,
Die to sin and self each day,
And put on our new lives in Jesus;
Bow before Him; humbly pray.