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The church that cannot be stopped

July 6, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

“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.” (Acts 5:38-39)

In Acts 5, Peter and the other apostles are spreading the good news about Jesus through preaching and miraculous deeds. The Jewish high court arrests them and forbids them to speak in Jesus’ name. Peter boldly refuses to comply with their demands, and as a result, the religious leaders want to put them to death. But a Pharisee named Gamaliel addresses the assembly, advising them to leave the men alone. He tells them that “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.” (Acts 5:38-39)

I have been thinking about this reality recently with regards to how I lead our church. In the fifteen years that I have been pastoring NewLife, American culture has undergone some major shifts. Most notably, the culture has become more hostile to Christianity, with many seeing it as an opponent of many of our cultural values. Most churches are shrinking, with fewer people and smaller budgets and less impact on the surrounding communities. As a result, I am convicted that more than ever, man-made approaches to church may appear superficially successful, but are ultimately doomed to failure. If we focus on trying to grow our church through secular means such as marketing and entertainment, we will eventually fail. Our only hope is to commit ourselves to the purposes of God: to prayer and to obedience to what He tells us to do. If our purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if our plans originate with God, then no opposition will be able to stop us.

Brothers and sisters, I encourage you to devote yourself to prayer. Pray for revival in our church. Pray that God would do things that are humanly impossible. Ask God to reveal to us His will for our church and for our lives, and commit yourself to His plans and His glory above all else. I can not wait to see what God will do as we pray and commit ourselves to Him!

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