IIT UBF - University Bible Fellowship at IIT

Articles

The Unstoppable Gospel

Date: Sep. 20, 2014

Author: Michael Mark

Thanks and praise be to God who has given us his word and taught us about his unstoppable gospel through the study of the book of Acts. As we transition to our next series, Kingdom, let's take a moment to reflect on what we've learned from Acts. We began the series, The Unstoppable Gospel, as the theme for the book back in Sept. 8, 2013, and completed the last passage Sept. 14, 2014.

The book of Acts opens with Jesus ascending to heaven, and giving his disciples a promise that the Holy Spirit will come, and a command to be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Jesus' work was completed on the cross when he declared, “It is finished.” He came to save the world from sin and death. With the work completed, he rose from the dead, and all there is left to do is to spread this good news: the message of salvation to the whole world. The Holy Spirit would come, and apply the gospel to men's hearts, cleansing them from sin and bringing them into the kingdom of God.

The Holy Spirit came at Pentecost in Jerusalem, and this marked the birth of the church. The disciples started to speak in foreign languages that they never studied, declaring the wonders of God. Peter, empowered by the Holy Spirit, preached to the crowd there. 3,000 people were cut to the heart, repented, and added to the church. The church continued to grow in number rapidly throughout Jerusalem. Soon the Jewish leaders began to become jealous of the growth of the church. They persecuted the Christians, throwing them in jail and flogging them. Yet the gospel could not be stopped. Angels freed the disciples from prison, and they kept on preaching. Persecution came to a climax when Stephen was stoned to death, but this did not stop the gospel either. The disciples soon spread out and continued to witness in Judea and Samaria. Philip baptized an Ethiopian eunuch. Peter saw the first Gentile converts, a Roman soldier named Cornelius and his household.

In the middle of the book of Acts the story shifts from Peter to Paul. Paul, formerly known as Saul, was a zealous persecutor of the church, and even gave approval for Stephen's death. But one day the Lord knocked him to the ground on his way to Damascus, and converted this persecutor of the church into a preacher of the gospel. Jesus had appointed him as his chosen instrument to proclaim the good news to the Gentiles. Paul went on three missionary journeys, and the Gentiles began to turn to the one true God in great numbers by the power of the Holy Spirit. The influential Gentiles began to resent the growth of the church, so wicked men began to stir up angry mobs to stop Paul from preaching the gospel. But the gospel could not be stopped. God protected Paul even through non-believing Roman officials. The gospel had made it from Jerusalem, to Judea and Samaria, to the ends of the earth, even to a tiny little island called Malta. Although Paul was bound, the gospel was not, and it was preached to Roman governors, Jewish kings, and even to Caesar himself, making it to the apex of the most powerful empire in the world.

In our study of Acts we saw how the gospel spread from a small handful of disciples to become a force that conquered the world. It became the dominant religion in Rome almost 300 years later, and without a doubt it had a great influence in the founding of our country in 1776. And as the gospel has impacted the world at large, it continues to touch and change each individual life. In our ministry here at IIT, we have testimonies of how the gospel has saved lives, marriages and families, and most importantly our souls. The gospel has refreshed our hearts, it has helped us to grow. The gospel has freed us from sin, and from trying to work by our own strength. The gospel has given us strength through the difficult times, encouragement to be faithful, and restores our hope in life. When light shines in the darkness, can darkness overcome it? That is the power of the gospel in our lives, and that is why the gospel cannot be stopped. Christians all around the world have experienced true power in the gospel, because it is the truth. Even in the worst persecution, the Christian stands strong, risking and even giving their lives for the gospel because the truth cannot be denied.

And that’s why the gospel cannot be stopped, because it is the truth. We have learned and can show from the book of Acts that anything that has tried to stop the gospel was always based on lies and selfish motive. The Jews accused Paul of defiling the temple, though he clearly followed their customs in order to reach them. The Gentiles stirred up a mob in Ephesus with absolutely no basis of a charge against Paul. The gospel is the truth, and wicked men have always tried to oppose truth, but time and history has shown that truth prevails. The gospel is the message of Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God that came to save us from our sins by his death on the cross. He has risen, and conquered death, and he gives this same hope to those who will believe in him. There is but one God, and we come to him through his Son Jesus Christ. When we turn to God, there is healing and life forever. This God has given us the gospel, and will broadcast it throughout the earth. The light cannot be overcome, the gospel cannot be stopped: whoever has ears, let them hear.

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Prepare to Meet Your God

Amos 4:1-13

Key Verse: 4:12

  “Therefore thus I will do to you, O Israel;
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