“When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death. 34 But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. 35 Then he addressed the Sanhedrin: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36 Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. 37 After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38 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. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” Acts 5.33-39
The Sanhedrin had been quelling movements like what the Apostles had been doing for years. They shut down Theudas who ”claimed to be somebody,” with four hundred rallying to his cause. They put to death Judas the Galilean who ”led the people in a revolt.” But once he was killed, his followers scattered. So now, what to do with Jesus’ followers? His advice? Leave them be and see if they fail. If its a human origin, ”it will fail. But if it’s from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”
Two thousand years later, I guess we have the answer. Christ and his movement not only has continued over twenty centuries, it has captured the hearts of billions of followers bringing mostly goodness and grace to the world. (Mostly because human sin always enters the equation.) Christianity has impacted every aspect of human existence from science to business and from education to medicine. But the greatest change the movement has caused is the transformation in the heart of a believer filled with the Holy Spirit and committed to Jesus Christ.
I sometimes find myself fighting against God in my own life and ministry. I want to move things along a little faster. I want to make an impact but want it to be an overnight success and I want credit for it! But in truth, God works on his own timetable and his own schedule. His ways are not only higher, but they are better, purer and will last for eternity. I can either work with God to accomplish his mission and purpose in the world, or rather, try to propel what I think needs to happen. As Henry Blackby said in the book ”Experiencing God,” ”See where God is at work and join him.” Sound simple enough.
So whether you find yourself joining an ongoing movement of God’s Spirit or creating something new, make sure God is in it. Make sure he is dead center stage. Not off to the left or to the right. For just as the Apostles continued with their faith proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and saw thousands come to faith, so we can do the same. By his grace and for his glory.
“Jesus, you are good. You are faithful. Thank you for loving me, allowing me to find my way in you. Helping me to capture the essence of listening, prayer and obedience. Help me to humble myself before you that you might lift me up. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill me with your power and love. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen