Summary: Because God’s purpose is unstoppable, we would do well to cooperate with Him, pursuing His will for our lives.
The Unstoppable Work of God
[Give background of passage: Arrested for healing/ freed from jail by an angel who told them to go and tell more people about new life in Jesus/ brought before the Sanhedrin, who confronted them concerning their disobedience/ Peter replied that they should obey God rather than man, along with some other words that angered them.] Let’s pick up with v.29 to get the whole sense of the passage.
Background: Acts 5:29-32
Main Text: Acts 5:33-42
Intro: I’ve played and watched sports for several years now, and every once-in-a-while you hear a player or team described as unstoppable. Either they are so fast or so strong that their opponents do not stand a chance against them. In my small high school world, our unstoppable foe was always Cove. We played 8-man football, and Cove always had these speedsters who get to the outside and they’d be gone. Other so-called unstoppable teams in years past have been the Dallas Cowboys, LA Lakers, NY Yankees, and several others I’m sure. Some unstoppable players were people like Earl Campbell, Walter Payton, Emmitt Smith, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille Oneill, and others.
-Realistically, even though these teams and players were very good for a time, none could really be called unstoppable. Why? Because we all get old and circumstances change. We are limited creatures living in a limited world. Only God is not limited. Only God does not change. Only God is unstoppable. This leads us to our main idea.
Prop: Because God’s purpose is unstoppable, we would do well to cooperate with Him, pursuing His will for our lives.
Interrogative: How can we do that effectively?
TS: Let’s look at 3 principles that will help us as we pursue God’s unstoppable purpose.
I. Those Who Pursue God’s Purpose Should Expect Opposition (33, 40)
33”When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death.”
-As the apostles were faithful to obey God and carry out His purpose He had for them, they encountered some fierce hostility. The same group of people who had put Jesus to death now sat before them with the same murderous look in their eyes. The apostles knew this could be it for them. Yet, we do not find them wringing their hands and saying, “What are we going to do?” No, they were leaving the consequences up to God. See, Jesus had warned them of the opposition they should expect to encounter.
-Matthew 10:16-20 16“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. 17 "Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. 18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” Maybe we could sum up what Jesus told them by saying, “Trust me.” You will face problems and opposition, but trust Me to help you accomplish My purpose in the midst of those trials.
-John 16:33 “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." We should not be surprised if, when we are doing God’s will, we face indifference, hostility, and outright hatred. This is especially true when we are doing His will as it relates to sharing the gospel- the good news that Jesus loves people and wants to forgive their sins. Some people cannot come to grips with the reality of their own sin, and will lash back at anyone who brings up the subject.
-So, we should prepare ourselves spiritually, mentally, and emotionally for the opposition that will come when we set out to do what God wants us to do.
-TS: How do we do that? Well, we can start by recognizing God’s promise to be with us and to help us through the difficult times.
II. Those Who Pursue God’s Purpose Can Weather any Opposition (34-39)
A. We Can Overcome Intimidation- V.40 says, “They ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus.” The fear factor has kept many sincere Christians from doing what God wanted them to do. We sometimes get the idea that if we come up against obstacles or threats, that we must have missed God’s leading somewhere along the way. However, difficulties may actually be a sign that we are in God’s will, rather than out. If we stop pressing forward when the enemy rears his ugly head, we will not get very far in pursuing all that God has marked out for us to do.