“The people gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and afflicted.., and they were all healed. But the high priest rose up, and all who were with him, and filled with jealousy they arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, ‘Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.’ And when they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and began to teach…
“Now when the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard, they were greatly perplexed about them, wondering what this would come to. And someone came and told them, ‘Look! The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people.’ Then the captain with the officers went and brought them, but not by force, for they were afraid of being stoned by the people.
“They set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, ‘We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching.’ But Peter and the apostles answered, ‘We must obey God rather than men…’ When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them… They beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.” Acts 5:16-21,24-29,33,40-42
Once the Holy Spirit took up residence in the disciples, there was no stopping them. The truth burned in their hearts and flamed from their tongues, and no opposition could restrain its force. They’d been given a charge, and that they would keep. (Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 24:49)
God’s commands are clear, and in this world we will always be opposed, in some way, for following them. Those who hate God will bristle and attack at any vestige of Him. What determines our perseverance is the clarity of our charge, and the commitment to keep it. God calls for wholeheartedness, and deplores lukewarmness. When expected attempts to thwart our call come, we are enabled by the Spirit to plow through the barricades we encounter and press on. (Revelation 3:15-16)
What pressures do we face from our culture, or our peers, that distract us from our true Master? Who or what has deceived us into thinking we answer to anyone but Him? What rules and regulations do we give more precedence than the plumb line of God’s word?
Perhaps we attempt to control, to set our own course of work and ministry. Have we consulted with the One who has apportioned our gifts, and assigned where we are to serve His will? Might His plans or direction differ from what we conjure up within the limitations of our comfort and preference? (Romans 12:1-2)
“A charge to keep I have,
a God to glorify,
a never dying soul to save,
and fit it for the sky.
To serve the present age,
my calling to fulfill,
O may it all my pow’rs engage
to do my Master’s will!” ~CHarles Wesley (1762)