“And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them, saying, ‘Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!'” (Acts 5:27-28)
I’ve heard this story told in many different forms.
A young man was the guest speaker at a retreat. As he concluded his message he said, “I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my own life and just how much I stand for Christ each day. I often wonder — if being a Christian were a crime, would there be enough evidence to convict me?”
That has always been a very powerful and probing question for me.
Just what evidence would people point to in my own life as sure-fire PROOF that I am a Christian? Every day, you and I need to take a good look at the way we live. Do we openly witness for Jesus each day? Does our behavior distinguish us from the world around us and glorify the Lord Jesus Christ? Are we helping lost people find salvation in the shed blood of Christ? Is there is a Christlikeness in our character that causes us to challenge the behavior of people who live lives contrary to God’s Word?
In short — if being a Christian were a crime, would the foreman of the jury return a guilty verdict in your trial?
As far as the government officials in our text were concerned, it was a crime to follow Jesus. That’s why the disciples were arrested and put in prison. God delivered them and the enemies immediately came after them again and said, “Didn’t we tell you not to teach about Jesus? Look what you have done — you have filled our city with your doctrine!”
What kind of doctrine are you filling your city with? If the WORLD thinks you are doing a great job in your church — you probably aren’t doing a great job for the Kingdom. Jesus said that the world would hate us because it hated Him. If you are more concerned about pleasing people and making them feel “comfortable” with your brand of Christianity than showing them the transforming power of Christ — you probably have missed the point.
In case you are wondering or confused about THIS preacher — let me clear it up for you.
I stand firmly on the Word of God. It is inspired, infallible and inerrant. Everywhere it speaks — it speaks accurately and truthfully. I stand on Christ alone for my salvation. There is NO OTHER NAME whereby people must be saved. I stand on the fact that God loves ALL people and ALL people are savable if they will place their faith and trust in Christ alone for their salvation. I will not back down or back up or be backed over by those who want to compromise the clear teaching of Scripture. I’ll be polite but I will be firm. Sin is sin and God hates it. Your good works and your good intentions are worthless in their attempt to please God. Only a personal relationship with Jesus Christ can TRANSFORM you into a NEW creature. It is not a make-over and it is not turning over a new leaf — it is a complete and total TRANSFORMATION and you become a NEW creature in Christ.
Unfollow me, unfriend me, call me intolerant and ignorant. Put me in jail. Cut off my head. I will not now or ever back up one step from preaching the Gospel of the grace of God to all who repent and believe.
There was no doubt about it — the early disciples were guilty as charged. I pray I receive the same verdict.
Have a blessed day.