Friday, February 3, 2012

The Good News...and a Bad Response

"But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: "We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him." When they heard this, they were furious and plotted to kill them." -Acts 5:29-33

At this point in the book of Acts the church is well established. Christianity is rapidly spreading through the region. The apostles are faithfully preaching Christ and giving testimony to salvation in His name. Peter is the main spokesman for the group. The apostles are beginning to encounter persecution. Here they are on trial before the officers and high priest.

As they stand before this council, the apostles boldly proclaim the gospel. This morning as I read this, it struck me that the gospel is such good news. Look at what the apostles preach. God has exalted Jesus to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel, despite the fact that they had murdered Jesus. God also gave the Holy Spirit to all who would obey Him. What great news! Jesus is alive and actively granting repentance and forgiveness of sins.

Yet this good news does not fall on believing ears here. The council heard this and became furious. They began to plot murder for the apostles, just as they had plotted to kill Jesus. They heard the good news but chose a bad response.

Don't follow the example or pattern of this council. Listen to who Jesus is and what He is doing. Examine just how good the good news of the Gospel really is. Jesus can grant you repentance and forgiveness of sins. On top of that, for the obedience of faith, God will give you the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of His salvation. Trust in Christ to save you.

Believer, keep trusting Christ. Keep turning from your sins. Confess them to Jesus and He will graciously forgive you. Now go out and boldly proclaim this gospel message. We are His witnesses!

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