“Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And everyday, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.” (Acts 5:41-42)
The Early Church was persecuted by the religious leaders, yet they rejoiced for being counted worthy of persecution by God and did not stop teaching the word of God. Throughout Acts 1-4, the religious establishments had labeled them a heresy and Saul went around capturing them and throwing them in jail. However, in Acts 5, a problem arises inside the church: a member of the church lies to the Holy Spirit and dies. Satan begins attacking the church not just from the outside, but from the inside. The church, from the world’s point of view, seemed weak and had nothing. People judge the church with the standard of wealth or the number of congregation members. As we live in this world, we need to live with God’s standard, the gospel standard. However, many of us fail because we are filled with disbelief, anxiety and worries. Many christians pray while worrying at the same time. However, prayer is laying everything down at the foot of the cross and holding on to God’s promises. Many of us also fail because we don’t understand the significance of God’s calling. All of us were born and will die. Then, what do we live for? We need to see the urgency of the flow of the world: churches are no longer preaching the true gospel, but are following the ways of the world. Then, we need to receive true answers.
1. Personal Answers in Christ
Answers are not what makes us happy, or what’s beneficial to our success. Paul had a thorn in his life that God allowed so his grace would reign over Paul. True answers are not our problems being resolved, because they are God’s will. The church was persecuted inside and out, but they were not shaken. In that same way, we don’t need to be shaken: that is the meaning of having true answers.
First, the Early Church had the answer of Mt. Calvary: Jesus finished everything on the cross. They did not stop preaching that Jesus is the Christ. The bible had promised Christ would come and deliver us from Satan’s bondage, sin and curse, to restore our relationship with God. That Christ is Jesus. Without understanding this answer, we cannot understand why people are suffering: both mentally and physically, our families and ourselves. We were under the wrath of God and deceived by Satan’s lies. When we hold on to the answer of Calvary, we hold on to the answer of Jesus who won complete victory over Satan, sin and death. The answers we need must be biblical: assurance of salvation, of God’s guidance, sovereignty and providence. For the Early Church, Christ alone was enough for them and the source of their strength.
Second, they had the answer of Mt. Olives. They had a reason to live: for the Kingdom of God. We say we live for the Kingdom of God, but do our lives reflect that? Many of us only look to God when we have extra time. To receive true answers, we need to prioritize looking to God. There’s a reason God prolongs our lives when we live for the Kingdom of God. However, do we live for the kingdom of ourselves or of God?
Third, they had the answer of Mark’s Upper Room. They realized they needed God’s power and God gave it to them in Acts 2. The means through which we live for the Kingdom of God is by the power of the Holy Spirit.
2. Answers of the True Church
First, the Early Church received the answer of the power of the true gospel: healing, redemption, and restoration. The power of the true gospel transforms and resurrects. The world said the Early Church had no power, politically and economically, yet in God’s eyes, they were the most powerful. Let’s pray to experience and celebrate the power of the true gospel every week.
Second, the church received the answer of the true power of prayer. God answers our prayers. Because we know the true gospel and true prayer, we must enjoy answers of revival. Not by our strength, but by God’s desire and promises. Then, God opens doors of evangelism and missions. Therefore, let’s prepare our faith and church system and throw all of our worries at the foot of the cross and experience God’s miracles.
3. Answers in the Field
The Early Church received two answers. The life movement and word movement. Whether at church or home, they did not cease speaking about the gospel. However, many of us had separate lives at home, church and school/work. We do not have God’s heart and urgency to share the gospel. Don’t wait for the opportunity to fall in your lap but actively seek it. Arrange time with pastors and our teachers. God will open up the doors, but we need his conviction first. The Early Church held onto the resurrected Christ and God used the word to completely overturn the Roman empire.
When we have answers in our personal lives, church and field, we cannot be shaken by anything that happens in our world. All we need to do is hold on to the covenant and pray. God opens all the doors and will fulfill and accomplish everything he promised, just as he did for the Early Church.