Summary: Many are the blessings we receive through a relationship with Christ. One of which is being commissioned with sharing the Gospel. Rather than a burden, this is a tremendous honor!
Thankful for the Commission
Acts 5: 40-42
This morning I want to continue the thought we began last week in regard to the blessings we have through a personal relationship with the Lord. As believers in Christ, pardoned from sin, placed within the body of Christ, and promised eternal life, there is much we should be thankful for. One such blessing is the gracious opportunity to serve at His leisure.
I fear too often, many view their service to Christ as a burden rather than the blessing it actually is. Of all the people in the world the Lord could have chosen to save and use for His glory, He included us in His plan. As the Lord prepared to ascend back to the Father, following His triumphant resurrection, He left detailed instruction for the church. Matt.28:19-20 – Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. This was not given as a mere suggestion – it was given as a command. Jesus gave the Great Commission to the church, fully expecting our obedience and participation. We are blessed to have received such a tremendous honor!
Our text deals with those who were faithful to the Great Commission. Their commitment should serve to challenge our faithfulness in serving the Lord. As we examine the elements involved, I want to consider: Thankful for the Commission.
I. The Opposition Encountered (40) – And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Although these were committed to the Lord and excited to share the Gospel, not everyone shared their excitement. Our situation is much different, but we cannot expect everyone to appreciate or support our service to the Lord. In the midst of difficulty, we must continue! Notice:
A. The Atmosphere – We need to take a moment to consider the atmosphere in which Peter and the others found themselves. The Lord had been moving mightily through their ministry. Souls were being saved, lives were being transformed, and folks were being healed of physical ailments. Multitudes were gathering in Jerusalem to see the apostles, even from neighboring cities. There was no small stir happening in Jerusalem.
Fearing they would lose their grip on power, the high priest and those who supported him apprehended the apostles and cast them in the common prison. These tried to silence the Gospel, but the Lord sent an angel to deliver the apostles from prison during the night, instructing them to proclaim the Gospel at the Temple. Finding out these had escaped and were again preaching in the Temple, the council once again apprehended the apostles and brought them to answer for their actions. Clearly, the apostles served in a hostile environment, surrounded by those who were determined to prevent their preaching of the Gospel.
B. The Abuse (40) – After bringing the apostles back before the council, they were beaten before they were released. We do not have much detail regarding the extent of the abuse the apostles endured, but this does carry the idea of “scourging.” It is quite possible these men were beaten severely, simply for preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
Many around the world are forced to endure such treatment because of their commitment to sharing the Gospel. Most in America do not face physical abuse, but we are seeing opposition increase in our day. We might as well prepare to endure continued opposition as we serve the Lord and proclaim the Gospel.
C. The Admonition (40) – they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. The council forbade the apostles from preaching the name of Jesus any more among the people. They didn’t even want to hear His name mentioned in public. These were determined to silence the apostles and the Gospel message. Apparently, they weren’t listening to Peter a few moments before, Acts 5:28-32. We will discover the apostles refused to remain quiet about Jesus.
You will have to agree that the tolerance level for public proclamation of the Gospel is decreasing in America. Those who oppose the Gospel want us to be restrained from sharing our faith publicly. Many are being rebuked and even charged with violations of the law for sharing their faith in the public arena.
II. The Jubilation Expressed (41) – And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. I am certain the council did not expect this reaction from the apostles, but as they departed, they were joyful. Consider: