Read This Week: Acts 5
“Therefore, in the present case, I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah. – Acts 5:38-42 NIV
There is a theory that asks the question: What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? Scholars and philosophers alike have debated this paradox through the years to various conclusions. But, consider this, out of the two, the unstoppable force is only one that is moving or active. Therefore, when an unstoppable force with infinite momentum meets an immovable object with equal mass, there can only be one solution: the immovable object moves. The unstoppable force also has unstoppable movement, while the immovable object lacks the immovable strength to hold it in place when the two come together.
This analogy is perfect for the movement of the gospel and God’s kingdom as it has faced and will continue to face opposition from various objects in the world. Acts chapter 5 provides an early example of this. We see the gospel of Jesus carried by His followers filled with His Spirit being persecuted, attacked, and others making efforts to stop them completely. The early Christians were spearheading an unstoppable force and were experiencing opposition from those who saw themselves as immovable objects. But only one of them won.
As the apostles stood trial before the Sanhedrin, their message prevailed, and even one of the Pharisees themselves, a man named Gamaliel, could see that the apostles were from God and that their mission would not be stopped. He said in verses 38-39:
“Therefore, in the present case, I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”
Gamaliel realized that no matter how much they resisted these men and their message, if God was on their side, they would be unstoppable and nothing could hinder them. The gospel at that moment and at countless others through the generations became the unstoppable force that plowed through the seeming immovable resistance to it. In the end, God’s truth, and the people He chooses to speak it through will be victorious and will overcome objections that threaten and seek to destroy.
The threats, questions, objections, and beatings did not stop the apostles from witnessing for Jesus Christ, preaching His gospel, and living for His glory. The persecution only made them trust God more and seek greater power in their ministries and lives. They left court after being whipped with this victorious attitude and action:
The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.
Because they knew that God’s will, power, and commission were unstoppable, the suffering that they were experiencing emboldened and motivated them to serve the Lord with greater faith, commitment, and passion. We should do the same as we embrace the truth that the kingdom of heaven is an unstoppable force, and it will advance even when people try everything within their earthly power to end it (Matthew 11:12).
This reality should cause us to love God more, embrace His truth with deeper engagement, and increase our obedience to Him when challenges are presented to us. No challenge is equal to the movement of Jesus and His church. The movement does not stop and start depending on the circumstances in our lives or the world. It keeps moving and will always keep moving for all of eternity. When it is from God, it is unstoppable.
What God was saying to me this week was, “I can unlock doors for you to go out and draw people to Me. You are My messenger and you work for Me. Be concerned with obeying Me, rather than men. Sometimes I deliver by a miracle and sometimes I don’t. I do always have a purpose when I don’t deliver what you want Me to do.
In trials, trust Me and try to look for what I am trying to teach you. My work will always continue in you. It is a privilege to be associated with Jesus in any circumstances no matter if they are good or bad. Be bold-I can always use you!”
What this said to me is God wants me to trust Him to lead me. I need to step out in faith and do what He asks me to do.
This is great, Kathy. This line is one of the harder yet more freeing principles of the Christian life: I do always have a purpose when I don’t deliver what you want Me to do.
Because the gospel and kingdom of God are unstoppable, we can know that God has an eternal purpose for our lives and service to Him even when He does things we don’t understand or want Him to do. It frees us up both to trust Him and the results he brings and to be obedient to what He has called us to.
This week, God gave me a song in Acts 5-42 called “We Are Together”:
We are together, we are together
We stand together for our Lord through all things
Jesus is our Savior
When Christians are tested
We will stand strong and united with our Lord
He knows there are pretenders among us, but we will prevail
Staying together with our Lord, let’s sing hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah we stand together with our Lord. Amen.
We should always stand strong together God will never forsake us. We need each other and our King. Let’s obey and listen to our Lord our King.
I love this one, Alma. It is such an incredible gift that God, in his unstoppable kingdom, not only gave us Jesus and the power of His Spirit but each other. This was my favorite lyric:
When Christians are tested
We will stand strong and united with our Lord
He knows there are pretenders among us, but we will prevail.
We will indeed prevail as we serve and are united with an unstoppable God together.
What God was sharing with me through Acts 5 this week is no matter what is going on in your life and what is going on in this world, continue to learn and share the Good news, teach others about Jesus, and help those who want to know. You may have to suffer sometimes, but do know I Am with you, I will give you comfort, you will feel My peace as you do My work with Me, you will feel My joy as you worship and we sing together, as you seek Me and do as I ask you, you will see what I Am doing, it’s always going to be good because I love you and I love it when others respond to Me too, they will know that they too can be with Me, Jesus, and the Holy Spirt forever and ever.
What this means to me is in life there will always be things, people, situations that try to get us distracted from God’s work, you can let people influence you, people can say things that are not true, people don’t want you to talk about Jesus, the list goes on, but for me, I need God 24-7 to help me to continue to do His work, speak life, find good in others, stand up for what’s right, share Jesus with others, pray for those who are not responding to God’s love and forgiveness, stay focus on what God is doing and keep sharing! Thank you, God, that I get to be apart of what you are doing. Love you, Father God.
Thank you for this insight, Heidi! This was rich and profound and a lesson I have had to embrace and cling to in many moments and seasons of my life:
You may have to suffer sometimes, but do know I Am with you. I will give you comfort and you will feel My peace as you do My work with Me. You will feel My joy as you worship and we sing together, as you seek Me and do as I ask you to. You will see what I Am doing, it’s always going to be good because I love you and I love it when others respond to Me.
This glorious mission we are on requires suffering but the suffering pales in comparison to the joy, fulfillment, and peace that comes with serving an unstoppable God in His unstoppable kingdom. You are correct, God loves it when we respond to Him with obedience even though we know that there will be difficult times. Because no matter how difficult the circumstances become, they will never stop the love, grace, and movement of God.
Being on God‘s team and making plays with God truly result in success. God’s movement his plans and his purposes for your life are fulfilled as you live interconnected with God listening and following his instructions. Life with God is full of peace, love hope, and comfort that only truly comes from God, God is our devine source. I love being on God’s winning team. Yay God!
This line is powerful, Ken and so relevant and needed for where we are today: Life with God is full of peace, love hope, and comfort that only truly comes from God.
May God fill us with this truth and promise as we navigate the current challenges of our time and live out the love, hope, peace, and comfort that God provides us. There is no doubt that will speak to a watching and seeking world that is fearful, anxious, and far from the Lord. May we express the essence of an unstoppable God.