Acts: The Resistance
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Many ask, “How do I live the Christian life”? The book of Acts demonstrates the answer to that question. The disciples were commanded to go out and teach people to live in obedience to everything Jesus had commanded. Matthew 28:20. That is what they did. That was their only thought: obey Jesus! But today, when a person asks, “How do I live the Christian life”? More often than not what he is really saying is, “How can I squeeze a bit of the ‘Christian life’ into my selfish life to hedge my bets just in case this ‘Christian life’ is real”? For the true Christian, our world revolves around our full-time Christian life. We recognize that we are in this world but we want nothing of this world. What are you wanting?
For church members it is about what “facts” they are believing. If I believe the name of Jesus to be Yahweh then I am a “Christian” and fit for heaven. If I believe in the feast days and go to some special service on those days, I am a “Christian” and fit for heaven. If I believe Jesus died on Wednesday and the “three day and three night” theory, I am a “Christian” and fit for heaven. If I believe Saturday is a day to go to church on, then I am a “Christian” and fit for heaven. If I believe that “going to church” makes me a Christian, then I am a “Christian” and fit for heaven. And so it goes. It is about “what I believe”. However, that understanding is what creates the “antichrist” system. “You must come to our church or believe as I do” in order to be a Christian and go to Heaven. A “belief” system for salvation produces churches which encourages the “us against them” mentality. “Our” belief against “their” belief. That system was developed by the devil through the Catholic Church. That is not what the Bible teaches teaches us to believe. As we learned in last month’s newsletter, the Spirit of God was dictating and directing the true Christian movement individually. It wasn’t about a “belief” but a life to be changed. “When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning every one of you from your evil ways.” Acts 3:26.
Interesting note, we are blessed by turning from our evil ways. People think they are blessed when they get this, that or the other thing they want. But the true blessing from God is a life lived as Jesus commands: perfect, sinless and commandment keeping.
To be a Christian is not about what we “believe” but about what we “do”. “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Philippians 2:12. If you are living for this world, coveting it above your duty to turn “from your evil ways”, you are not a “Christian”. To “believe” in Jesus is to turn “from your evil ways”. You are to live as Jesus lived: perfect, sinsless and commandment keeping. “How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” Romans 6:2. That is what the disciples went out living and teaching. When they taught people to “turn to Jesus” the people understood what was meant. Most had seen or heard of the life of Jesus and it was perfect, sinless and commandment keeping. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind as to what “turning to Jesus” meant. There was no doubt as to what “believing” in Jesus meant. His life had been lived and demonstrated before them for thirty-three and one half years. Not once did he sin. Therefore, when the disciples talked about “believing” in Jesus, the people, the church and the leaders knew perfectly well what was being expected of them to do.
Acts 4:1 to Acts 6:7
While they were speaking to the people, the priests, the commander of the Temple guards, and the Sadducees came to them. They were greatly disturbed that Peter and John were teaching the people and announcing that Jesus had been resurrected from the dead.
Yes, they were greatly disturbed! Again, it wasn’t just the fact that Jesus had been raised from the dead. It was the fact that the disciples were teaching JESUS! and what it meant to be a follower of Jesus. The church could not allow that to continue. The church understood that to “believe” in Jesus was to obey Jesus and that obedience would destroy their church. No, people had to look to the church and the information the church put out in order to belong to God, not Jesus.
So they arrested them and placed them in custody until the next day, since it was already evening. But many of those who heard their message believed, and the men grew to number about 5,000.
Today, it is all about numbers. We put on a show and choreograph our baptisms in order to make it look like the Spirit of God is in our church. And when people are baptized, they are baptized into a church doctrine, not the teachings of Jesus to stop sinning, be perfect and to keep the Ten Commandments to get their eternal life.
However, those who “believed” the message of the disciples were not choreographed or baptized into a church. They believed and changed their lives to live the perfect, sinless and commandment keeping life. They had been “cut to the heart” when they understood that it was their church that had killed the Holy One. They repented of their sinful lives, left, came out of their church and turned to Jesus to belong to Him and His holy, righteous life.
You also will be placed “in custody” by your church if you teach the teachings of Jesus. Try it. Stand up in church and do what the disciples did, share the good news that they must stop sinning, be perfect and keep the Ten Commandments to get their eternal life. I can assure you, people will come to remove you.
The next day their rulers, elders, and scribes met in Jerusalem with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and the rest of the high priest’s family.
If you teach the teachings of Jesus, the “rulers, elders” and leaders of your church will resist you. You to may be called to stand before the church committee.
They made Peter and John stand in front of them and began asking, “By what power or by what name did you do this?”
How dare they stand up in “our” church and proclaim the truth about Jesus! How dare they make us responsible for the death of Jesus! “You do not have the authority to stand up and teach in our church.” Your church will do the same and tell you that you do not have authority or “power” to speak without the permission of the church. How Catholic.
Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, told them, “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being questioned today for a good deed done for someone who was sick or to learn how this man was healed, you and all the people of Israel must understand that this man stands healthy before you because of the name of Jesus from Nazareth, whom you crucified but God raised from the dead.
Are you following the example of the disciples? Are you following Jesus as they did. Jesus stood up in the church and taught the truth that they must stop sinning, be perfect and keep the Ten Commandments to get their eternal life.
The disciples followed in His footsteps and stood up in the church and taught the people to believe in the teachings and life of Jesus. They pointed fingers at the church and accused them of being what they were: murderers. Your church is killing Jesus. By killing the teachings of Jesus and refusing to teach them and live by them, your church is crucifying Jesus afresh. Are you speaking up at your church or are you complacent in the death of Christ?
However, I do want to make this very clear. The “standing up” and the “pointed fingers” were not done in anger or wrath or boisterous pride. It was a quiet, commanding demonstration of righteous authority under the power of God. Love was in their hearts. A love that led them to give their lives, not take a life. Peter and John would have laid down their lives for those they were rebuking. And in fact, they did.
He is ‘the stone that was rejected by you builders, which has become the cornerstone.’
The Ten Commandments are the foundation of God’s throne. The Ten Commandments are the “cornerstone” of the Christian life. They are the character of Jesus who wrote them with His own finger and presented them to Moses. The church rejected Jesus and His Ten Commandments. Today it is doing the very same thing. The churches have rejected the teachings of Jesus to live the perfect, sinless and commandment keeping life. No matter how much they name the name of Jesus, or parade the Ten Commandments, they have rejected Jesus as verily as the Jews of Christ’s day rejected Him. Claiming to love God while refusing to live in obedience to His Ten Commandments is the same as rejecting Jesus. Have you stood up and pointed your finger at the church and told them that they are rejecting Jesus?
There is no salvation by anyone else, for there is no other name under heaven given among people by which we must be saved.”
Oh, that was the wrong thing to say. The church believed that salvation could only be accomplished through their church. The church taught that you had to belong to their organization to get to heaven. After all, they went to church on the “Sabbath”. The disciples stood up in church and pointed people away from the church and fearlessly proclaimed that only through Jesus could the people find their eternal life. The name of your church, the name of your pastor, the name of your denomination or anything else can never save you; only obedience to the name of Jesus.
Now when the Jewish leaders saw the boldness of Peter and John and found out that they were uneducated and ordinary men, they were amazed and realized that they had been with Jesus.
Are you a church member with degrees, or an “uneducated and ordinary” follower of Jesus”. Can your church see the boldness of Jesus in you? Is your church amazed and able to realize that you have been with Jesus? Or are you just sitting in your church pretending to be “saved” along with everyone else? To be in the family of Jesus there must be a radical change in your character and life. If you are no different than those around you, probably you do not belong to Jesus. Have you been healed of your sins?
And seeing the man who was healed standing with them, they could not say anything against them. So they ordered them to leave the Council and began to discuss the matter among themselves.
How sad. Here was a tithe-paying, Sabbath keeping church, looking for the coming of the Messiah, wanting to kill people who were only doing good. But since the “good” they were doing was outside of “their” church it could not be tolerated. The good the disciples were doing was not “church ordained” or “church sanctioned”. How ungodly!
They said, “What should we do with these men? For it’s obvious to everybody living in Jerusalem that an unmistakable sign has been done by them, and we cannot deny it. But to keep it from spreading any further among the people, let us warn them never again to speak to anyone in this name.”
Your church is doing the same. It is attempting to keep the teachings of Jesus “from spreading any further among the people”. If you stand up and speak in the name of Jesus to live as Jesus commands, you too will be warned. Your church only uses the name of Jesus when it suits its own purpose. As the Jews used the name of God to suit their purpose back then. But your church really doesn’t want Jesus in the church. They only want to bootleg the name. All churches are “antichrist”.
If you are going to church, going through the morning rituals and service routine, sit, stand, sing, sit, kneel, stand, pray, kneel and sit, all of that is pagan. None of it is worshiping God. “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”
Matthew 15:9. “Who asked you to bring all this when you come to worship me? Stay out of my temple! Your sacrifices are worthless, and incense is disgusting. I can’t stand the evil you do on your New Moon Festivals or on your Sabbaths and other times of worship. I hate your New Moon Festivals and all others as well. They are a heavy burden I am tired of carrying. No matter how much you pray, I won’t listen. You are too violent.” Isaiah 1:12-15.
God hates your church services. He does not want you going to church. In not one place in the entire Bible does He ask you to go to church. What He does ask is, “Wash yourselves clean! I am disgusted with your filthy deeds. Stop doing wrong and learn to live right. See that justice is done. Defend widows and orphans and help those in need.” Isaiah 1:16-17.
Stand up, get out of your church, go home, fall on your knees and begin the washing process. Get the filthy deeds out of your life. Stop doing wrong and learn to live right. See that justice is done in your life to every one around you. Live sinlessly by keeping the Ten Commandments perfectly.
So they called Peter and John back in and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
This ministry is ostracized, marginalized and rejected by the churches. The last thing they want is for the truth of Jesus to be taught to their members. Church members who love their churches hate this ministry. They do everything they can to resist it. The darkness of church cannot dwell together with the Light of Jesus. Church members pay their ministers well to keep the teachings of Jesus out of the church and out of their lives.
But Peter and John answered them, “You must decide whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than God, for we cannot stop talking about what we’ve seen and heard.”
What are you seeing and hearing? If you have seen and heard Jesus you also would not be able to stop talking about Him and His truth. But if you are sitting in church listening to your preacher and man-made philosophy, than you have nothing to say and are sound asleep. But you say, our minister teaches from the Bible. So what? So did the Pharisees who were threatening Peter and John. So do the Catholics. So do the Mormons. So do the Jehovah’s Witnesses. So does the devil. Reading and “teaching” from the Bible will not get you to heaven. You must put it into your heart and stop sinning, be perfect and keep the Ten Commandments to get your eternal life.
So they threatened Peter and John even more and then let them go. They couldn’t find any way to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened. For the man on whom this sign of healing had been performed was more than 40 years old.
The people were praising God for “what had happened” to the crippled man. People love a “healing”. But they do not want to stop their sins. Those same people who praised God when Jesus healed the sick were the same ones who called for His crucifixion. When was the last time you were “threatened” for speaking the teachings of Jesus? I can assure you, if you teach the teachings of Jesus in your church, you will be threatened. On the other hand, if you are promoting your church or denomination or pastor, you will be praised and honored by men.
After they were released, Peter and John went to their fellow believers and told them everything the high priests and the elders had said.
Are you afraid to be persecuted for Jesus? Are you afraid to share with people your love of Jesus? Maybe there are no “fellow believers” in your area for you to share with. There are very few believers in Jesus. The majority are believers in their pastors, churches and denominations. You can contact me and share with me. I would love to hear of your work for Jesus. We will raise our voices together and praise God.
When they heard this, they all raised their voices to God and said, “Master, you made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. You said by the Holy Spirit through the voice of our ancestor, your servant David, ‘Why do the gentiles rage, and the people devise useless plots? The kings of the earth take their stand, and rulers meet together against the Lord and against his Messiah.’ For in this city both Herod and Pontius Pilate actually met together with the gentiles and the people of Israel to oppose your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, to carry out everything that your hand and will had predetermined to take place.
If you are living in obedience to the commands of Jesus, the kings of the earth, the churches, denominations and “gentiles” will rage against you. Will you stand up with this little ministry and help us proclaim the teachings of Jesus? Will you raise your voice in praise to God for the raging that is directed at this ministry?
Lord, pay attention to their threats now, and allow your servants to speak your word boldly as you stretch out your hand to heal and to perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
Oh that we would be so bold as to pray for the power to speak boldly for Jesus. What are you doing for Jesus today? Whom have you healed today through the name of Jesus? In the name of Jesus, have you removed any sin out of your life today?
When they had prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken, and all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak messages from God boldly.
Oh, now we know who has the Spirit of God and who does not. Does your church have the Spirit of God? If it does, it will be speaking the “messages from God boldly”. Those messages are to stop sinning, be perfect and to keep the Ten Commandments to get your eternal life. Anything else is not from God but from the “antichrist”. If your church, pastor or denomination are turning people away from living the perfect, sinless and commandment keeping life, they are not of God. 2 John 1:8-11.
Now all the believers were one in heart and soul, and nobody called any of his possessions his own. Instead, they shared everything they owned.
Is your church “one in heart and soul”? Do you call your possessions your own? Do you covet them? Do you hold back? God is asking you to do all in your power to sacrifice for Him. He needs funding so this little ministry can continue to boldly share the teachings of Jesus with the world. Is there more you can do to help? I praise God for those who dig deep and sacrifice to support this little ministry. You know who you are. God is blessing you abundantly. There are those who, after receiving any money, make it their first priority to send to this ministry that which is rightfully God’s. Then they make do with what is left over. Boy, are they being blessed! They do not wait until they get what they want first.
With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was on them all. For none of them needed anything, because everyone who had land or houses would sell them and bring the money received for the things sold and lay it at the apostles’ feet. Then it was distributed to anyone who needed it.
Do you have lands, houses, stocks, bonds or anything that you can sell to help this little ministry move forward? God is calling. All those things will only be burned up. God is calling you to store up your treasures in Heaven through this little ministry. Will you start moving your treasures today? We want to distribute the Word of God to more inmates. What can you do to help?
One man, Joseph, a descendant of Levi and a native of Cyprus, who was named Barnabas by the apostles (the name means “a son of encouragement”), sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
I want to encourage each and every one of you who has been so faithful in providing for this ministry. God bless you and provide for you as you provide for this ministry. There is no greater privilege and honor than to be touched by the Spirit of God to sacrifice some earthly “thing” for Jesus. I thank God for those who encourage this ministry with their tithes, offerings, gifts and donations.
But a man named Ananias, with the consent of his wife Sapphira, sold some property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back some of the money for himself and brought the remainder and laid it at the apostles’ feet. Peter asked, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart so that you should lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back some of the money you got for the land? As long as it remained unsold, wasn’t it your own? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? So how could you have thought of doing what you did? You didn’t lie only to men, but also to God!” When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and died. And great fear seized everyone who heard about it. The young men got up, wrapped him up, carried him outside, and buried him.
The last thing any of us want to do is lie to the Spirit of God. We are way too attached to this world. Satan is filling too many hearts with the things of this world. Instead of accumulating, we need to be distributing and learning to live with less and less. Selfishness cannot go to heaven.
After an interval of about three hours, Ananias’ wife came in, not knowing what had happened. So Peter asked her, “Tell me, did you sell the land for that price?” She answered, “Yes, that was the price.” “How could you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord?” Peter asked her. “Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and these men will carry you outside as well.” She instantly fell down at Peter’s feet and died. When the young men came in, they found her dead. So they carried her out and buried her next to her husband. And great fear seized the whole church and everyone else who heard about this.
They were a sign to the church. It worked! Great fear came upon the church. The churches today have no fear of God. Today, we are not listening and taking to heart the examples that have been given in the Word of God. Why? Because the churches are not teachings us “the Word of God”. They teach “goody, goody” things and a perverted gospel that keeps the members happy and contented in church. Are you happy and contented in your church?
Again, we need to define the word “church”. “The English language word ‘church’ is from the Old English word cirice, derived from West Germanic kirika, which in turn comes from the Greek κυριακή kuriakē, meaning ‘of the Lord’ (possessive form of κύριος kurios ‘ruler’ or ‘lord’). ‘The Greek word ekklēsia, literally ‘called out’ or ‘called forth’ and commonly used to indicate a group of individuals called to gather for some function.” (Wikipedia). In other words, in the Greek New Testament, the word “church” did not refer to a denomination or building or organized “religion”. It referred to individuals who had been “called out” of their church and religion and stood before Jesus to live in obedience to Him individually. Each was individually responsible to Jesus and Jesus alone. How far we have fallen from the true understanding of the Bible today. 1,500 years of Catholic indoctrination has truly made the churches of today whorehouses. (Revelation 17:5)
Now many signs and wonders were being performed by the apostles among the people, who were gathered together in Solomon’s Colonnade. None of the others dared join them, although the rest of the people continued to hold them in high regard.
Being held in “high regard” isn’t always good. Pilate held Jesus in high regard and still crucified Him. The people held Jesus in high regard and yet, they too called for His crucifixion. Feelings and emotions can be too easily moved, manipulated and changed. Be very careful in being held in “high regard”. Don’t let it go to your head. Keep yourself firmly and humbly established on the Rock, Jesus Christ, and don’t give a mind to what people, churches or denominations think of you. What Jesus thinks of us is all we need to concern ourselves with.
Nevertheless, believers were being added to the Lord in increasing numbers—both men and women. As a result, people kept carrying their sick into the streets and placing them on stretchers and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he went by. Even from the towns around Jerusalem crowds continued coming in to bring their sick and those who were troubled by unclean spirits, and all of them were healed.
Interesting the terminology: “believers were being added to the Lord”. They were not being added to a “church”, but to “the Lord”. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if today’s believers were being added to “the Lord”. They were being ekklēsia “called out” from their church and religion and being added to those who believed and lived in obedience to Jesus. We need to point people to Jesus and not to a pastor, church or denomination. We need to lift up Jesus and not a pastor, church or denomination. Jesus and Jesus only! Let us leave (ekklēsia) our churches and go to Jesus. Let us (ekklēsia) “call out” people from their churches and point them to Jesus. The closer we come to Jesus, the closer we will come to each other in the unity of the one faith.
Then the high priest and all those from the sect of the Sadducees who were with him were filled with jealousy. So they went out, arrested the apostles, and put them in the city jail.
Oh yes, they were filled with jealousy! Their church was not being uplifted. Their leadership was being ignored. Their status was not being respected and honored. Everything had to come through their church. How dare these upstarts, offshoots, independents and “troublers of the church” teach any other “salvation” than the one the church taught. Did they not know that God Himself had raised up their church? Did they not know they were keeping the Sabbath, unlike the pagan Sunday worshipers? Did they not know they were persevering in all the rituals, traditions, ceremonies and customs that God had given to His church? How dare these followers of Jesus cause division in the church. How dare they call people out from God’s established church!
But at night the angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and led them out. The angel told them, “Go, stand in the Temple, and keep on telling the people the whole message about this life they can have.”
Selfishness cannot go to Heaven. Jesus gave up Heaven for us. If we are so selfish that we are not willing to “Go, stand in the Temple (church), and keep on telling the people the whole message about this life they can have”, than we have no eternal life. Jesus said “GO”. But the devil wants us to “sit” in church. But if you follow Jesus, you must either get out of your church or stand up and tell them the “whole message about this life”. And that “whole message” is to stop sinning, be perfect and to keep the Ten Commandments to get your eternal life.
We are told in the Bible that we are not to add to or subtract from the teachings of Jesus. But the churches today are doing just that by “slight of hand”. They are not telling the “whole message about this life”. Therefore, they are either adding, subtracting or a bit of both. The Bible is like a jigsaw puzzle, all the pieces must be put together in order to understand and see “the whole” picture.
After the apostles heard this, they went into the Temple at daybreak and began to teach. The high priest and those who were with him arrived, called the Council and all the elders of Israel together, and sent word to the prison to have the men brought in. When the Temple police got there, they did not find them in the prison. They came back and reported, “We found the prison securely locked and the guards standing at the doors, but when we opened them, we found no one inside.”
I wonder if we truly “heard this”. We go to church, talk about Jesus and say we “believe”. But unless that “belief” is put into action, and you do what Jesus commands, you have no “belief in Jesus”. The churches want you securely locked under their control. But if you follow Jesus, He will release you from the bondage of church and set you free to speak His whole message to the people.
When the commander of the Temple guards and the high priests heard these words, they were utterly at a loss as to what could have happened to them. Then someone came and told them, “Look! The men you put in prison are standing in the Temple and teaching the people!” So the commander of the Temple guards went with his men to bring them back without force, because they were afraid of being stoned to death by the people.
If you are following Jesus, you do not need to worry about people. They may hurt the body, but your eternal life is secure in Jesus. If we are sitting in church, denying your Lord and Savior, He will deny you before His Father. Jesus didn’t ask or command you to go to church. He commands you to go teach people to live the perfect, sinless and commandment keeping life.
Keep in mind, Jesus went about teaching the Old Testament Ten Commandments for eternal life. Matthew 19:17. The church had covered up and buried the Ten Commandments under church traditions, systems, rituals and ceremonies that had nothing to do with eternal life. “Then he told them, ‘You have such a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to keep your own tradition!’” Mark 7:9. However, those traditions, systems, rituals and ceremonies brought money into the church. If you lived the perfect, sinless and commandment keeping life, you had no need to go to church.
Therefore, church revenue would dry up. That is why the church leaders were so afraid of the teachings of Jesus and His disciples. Jesus and the disciples taught people to return to the Ten Commandments and live in obedience to them.
When they brought them back, they made them stand before the Council, and the high priest began to question them.
Oh yes, if you live the righteous life, you will be brought before councils, church boards and your circle of friends to be questioned. Praise God! Stand up and give them the reason for your faith. Do not let your friendships and church membership cower you into silence. If all you have is church, you have nothing to confess.
He said, “We gave you strict orders not to teach in his name, didn’t we? Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to bring this man’s blood on us!”
Well, yes. The church did have blood on its hands. If you are sitting in church, you have blood on your hands. You have been complacent in allowing the church to shut up the truth and the teachings of Jesus. You must confess to all around you the teachings of Jesus. Don’t let the church, your friends, family or associates browbeat you into silence. Don’t be cowered. Stand up and acknowledge the teachings of Jesus. You are not to obey the church or any man. You are to obey God.
But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our ancestors raised Jesus to life after you killed him by hanging him on a tree. God has exalted to his right hand this very man as our Leader and Savior in order to extend repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who keep on obeying him.”
Oh, the apostles were not too kind to the church and its leaders. They let it be known in very certain terms that the church leadership killed Jesus; that the church leadership had lost all connection with the “God of our ancestors”; and that God exalted Jesus as their Leader and Savior. How true that is today. All churches today are guilty of the blood of Jesus. Every church service is nothing more than a reenactment of the crucifixion of Jesus. They continue to crucify Jesus by refusing to live in obedience to His teachings. The churches do not have the Spirit of God since they refuse to “keep on obeying Him”. The churches and pastors today refuse to live in obedience to Jesus. Living in the Catholic system is far more enjoyable than living in obedience to Jesus. Living for Jesus is not a “once saved always saved” concept, but a life in which we “keep on obeying Him” for our eternal life. If we are living in obedience to Jesus, and not church, we receive our eternal life.
When the Council heard this, they became furious and wanted to kill them.
The churches want to kill us also. But the laws of the land are preventing that, for now. But in their hearts they hate the truth. Anything that comes between church members and the church they want to kill. It is all about the church, the denomination and religion. The churches of today want nothing to do with Jesus and His teachings.
But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the Law who was respected by all the people, stood up in the Council and ordered the men to be taken outside for a little while. Then he told them, “Fellow Israelis, consider carefully what you propose to do to these men.
For now, the Spirit of God is restraining the powers of darkness while we get the Light out. God is raising up people to come between us and the haters. But soon, the restraining powers will be withdrawn and persecution will burst upon us. If you are not standing up for Jesus now, witnessing to the power of God in your life, you will never make it. If you are going to church, you are lost. In order to build the character needed for Heaven, you must build backbone by standing up and living the perfect, sinless and commandment keeping life. I think there is a medical emergency in church members. It is called "Osteoporoses". Their backbones are falling apart. They lack the calcium of God’s Word and the exercise of obedience in their lives.
For in the recent past Theudas appeared, claiming that he was important, and about 400 men joined him. He was killed, and all his followers were dispersed and disappeared. After that man, at the time of the census, Judas the Galilean appeared and got people to follow him. He, too, died, and all his followers were scattered. “I’m telling you to keep away from these men for now. Leave them alone, because if this plan or movement is of human origin, it will fail.
How true. Over the past 21 years of this ministry I have witnessed the downfall of many a ministry. They were of human origin. They were gossips, war mongers, dividers, looking for fault and nitpickers. But God has kept this ministry going because it is of Divine origin. God raised it up and as long as it continues to teach the teachings of Jesus, it cannot fail. We keep our eyes on Jesus and His truth. What the church does, or the people in the church, or what other ministries do, I don’t really care. I will warn and correct and rebuke and encourage you in obedience to Jesus, but it is up to you whether or not you live in obedience to Jesus.
However, if it is from God, you won’t be able to stop them, and you may even discover that you are fighting against God!” So they were convinced by him.
Many have tried to fight against God by fighting against this ministry. They have all been destroyed. These examples are for our admonition. Do not take lightly that which God has raised up. Those who work with this ministry, supporting it, promoting it, teaching the teachings it teaches and living by them, they are blessed.
After calling in the apostles and beating them, they again ordered them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus and let them go. They left the Council, rejoicing to have been considered worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the Name.
Are you considering yourself worthy to suffer dishonor for the “sake of the Name”? When was the last time you were called to account for your faith? Do you love your “neighbor” enough to share with him the truth about Jesus, no matter what the cost to you?
Every day in the Temple and from house to house they kept teaching and proclaiming that Jesus is the Messiah.
You see, they didn’t go to church to sit and listen to the church leaders. They went to church and from house to house in order to teach and proclaim “that Jesus is the Messiah”. To believe Jesus is the Messiah is to believe in Him as your Lord. He cannot be a “Messiah” to you if you are not obedient to Him as Lord. He cannot “save” you unless you are living in obedience to the Ten Commandments - perfectly.
In those days, as the number of the disciples was growing larger and larger, a complaint was made by the Hellenistic Jews against the Hebraic Jews that their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve called the whole group of disciples together and said, “It is not desirable for us to neglect messages from God in order to wait on tables.
I understand that perfectly. Basically, it has just been me here at the ministry doing everything. But God has been very patient with me and understands that I must wear many hats in order to keep the ministry operating. But I try very hard not to “neglect messages from God in order to wait on tables”. Someday, God is going to send an inmate as my “son” to help me. I do apologize to those who may feel “neglected” by this ministry. At times I am overwhelmed and feel “lost”. So please forgive me if some tables are not as fully served as they should. I love you all and am trying my best. Some would say I’m just very “trying”.
Therefore, brothers, appoint seven men among you who have a good reputation, who are full of the Spirit and wisdom, and we will put them in charge of this work. Then we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
I do need to spend more time in prayer and the ministry of the Word. I get tired. I get lazy. I let my humanity step in the way. Sometimes I just want to put it all on “automatic”. But then the Spirit of God gently pushes and keeps me going. I long for the day when God touches the heart of a young inmate to become my “son” and help me in the work.
This suggestion pleased the whole group. So they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a gentile convert to Judaism from Antioch. They had these men stand before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. So the word of God continued to spread, and the number of disciples in Jerusalem continued to grow rapidly. Even a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.
I pray for the day when a large number of ministers will become obedient to the faith and not their church; when ministers will rise up and turn their backs on the church and teach the truth as Jesus taught it. However, one is a servant to the one who pays their wages. Therefore, I am not sure any could “became obedient to the faith” today. They are all obedient to the church that pays their wages. How Catholic.
As we have seen from the examples in the Bible, there has always been a resistance. The church resisted the truth and the truth resisted the church. The church of today, according to the Bible, is antichrist. Why? Because it stands “in the place of” Christ. It wants you to “go to church” “in place of” going to Jesus. Jesus has His arms wide open inviting you to come to Him. What will you do? Who will you go to? Who will you become obedient to? Are you ready to join the resistance and become a true “ekklēsia” and come out of your church?