The Newark Church of Christ: In spite of the upsurge of vigor in evangelism, a sense of defeatism exists in many local churches. The spiritual indifference and the materialistic idolatry of our age at times seem inseparable. Thus, there comes over the church a sense of frustration and defeat; a wearying in well doing. This defeatism may be understandable, but it is not excusable. The Bible knows nothing of the word ‘defeat’ as applied to the church of Jesus Christ. Hardship—yes; opposition—yes, but never defeat! Jesus describes the church as a conquering power, against which the very gates of hell shall not prevail.
The scene is Jerusalem. In Acts 3, we have Peter and John healing a lame man and then preaching the gospel to the crowd which gathers. In Acts 4, comes the opposition. The apostles are taken, placed in prison, and the next day, they are brought before the Sanhedrin. Many of the Sanhedrins were wealthy and exercised their tremendous political influence. This formidable opposition came against the apostolic church. Yet, it was not the Sanhedrin who triumphed, but the church of my Lord.
THE CHURCH THAT TRIUMPHS MUST BE GRIPPED BY AN IRRESISTABLE COMPULSION. One is immediately struck by the tremendous motivation of these men. They were told in Acts 4:18 not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. They replied, “We cannot but speak”. These men had walked with Jesus. They had seen His marvelous works and heard his unique teaching. They had seen their world collapse around them in the darkness of Calvary. But Jesus triumphed over death, hell and the grave, and they saw him alive after his resurrection. And you tell them to be quiet. You might as easily command things that were a part of their lives, they replied, “WE MUST SPEAK”.
THE CHURCH MUST HAVE IRREFUTABLE EVIDENCE to present to the world. The apostles had preached the crucified Jesus is now the resurrected, living Lord through which all sins can be given. Weighty words indeed, but what is the evidence? The answer was simple—the healed man. Who made this man whole? Jesus of Nazareth is the resounding answer. “And behold the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it”. (Acts 4:14)