Read - Acts 5v17-26
Message - Scott Woodburn
How do you stop the spread of the Gospel? Many have asked that question from the beginning of history and every single one of them have failed to find the answer. The Gospel cannot be stopped and the Lord will save every single one of His elect. With the Apostles doing signs and wonders and growing in popularity, the Sadducees out of sheer jealousy (v17) thought that prison was the answer to the Gospel problem.
Who were the Sadducees? They were one of the key sects or sub-groups of the Jewish faith. They traced their roots back to Zadok, who was the high priest under King Solomon. If the Pharisees devoted themselves to detailed questions about the law and religious practice, the Sadducees were more concerned about material things. They had a good relationship with the Romans and wanted to maintain the status quo. Importantly they denied the resurrection which was now being proclaimed by the Apostles.
Unfortunately for the Sadducees their plan had not taken into account Almighty God. During the night the Lord sent and angel who came to open the prison doors and commanded the Apostles to preach the gospel in the temple at daybreak (v19-21). The Apostles did as they had been commanded and soon the news came back to the Sadducees that their escaped captives hadn't gone too far and were now preaching in the temple (v25).
I'm fairly certain that all of us know someone who "doesn't do the Gospel". There are many reasons for such hostility but it is always dispiriting when those whom we love won't tolerate any hearing of Christ. I was leading a funeral at Roselawn many years ago where time is strictly limited to half an hour. At this particular funeral there was such a crowd that it took around ten minutes to get everyone into the crematorium safely. The manager of the facility approached me and said "Your reverence, I'd need you to finish at twenty past or we'll never get these people out in time." That gave me about ten minutes for two hymns, a tribute, a bible reading, prayers and a sermon.
I preached that day a simple explanation of the Gospel and our need to believe it and I couldn't have preached for more than two minutes. I caught the eye of a mourner as I preached and as I spoke he began to shake his head. Without meaning to, I kept catching this man's eye and it appeared to me that he was getting angrier and angrier as the head kept shaking. I don't know for sure what the man's issue was. Perhaps it wasn't the Gospel, I'll never know, yet it seemed to me that this individual was quite angry at the message of the cross.
What is to be done in the face of such opposition or anger? We preach Christ and Him crucified. The Sadducees couldn't stop the Gospel and there is no one alive today who can either. It moves unseen from nation to nation and sometimes those who preach it find themselves behind bars. Yet the Gospel doesn't stop and cannot be stopped and the Gospel can save even those who currently hate it. Do not despair when faced with hardness of heart instead preach the Gospel.
Q84 What doth every sin deserve? Every sin deserveth God’s wrath and curse, both in this life, and that which is to come.