What Does It Take? – Acts 5:1-42

by Pastor John Fredericksen

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Someone once said, “The test of your character is what it takes to stop you.” On July 13, 1913, Adoniram and Nancy Judson were the first America missionaries to Burma. Officials told them they were not wanted in Burma so the best thing they could do was go somewhere else. But they didn’t. Nancy lost her first child while sailing to their mission field. A year later she gave birth to another child who died within one year. Then, war broke out between Britain and Burma. Because Judson spoke English, he was placed in a filthy, disease-ridden death prison. While Adoniram was imprisoned, Nancy gave birth to another child; but within a year, both she and the baby had died. After seven years in Burma, Judson did not have a single convert to Christ. Nonetheless, he refused to quit. As a result, years later, Judson was called “Jesus Christ’s man in Burma” because many came to trust in the Savior through his unwavering ministry.

We learned in Acts 4 and 6 that the religious leaders of Israel had imprisoned Peter and John for preaching eternal life through faith in Jesus of Nazareth. At this point, these religious leaders “…took counsel to slay them” (Acts 5:33). Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, who was “held in reputation among all the people”, calmed their frenzied discussion. Then, the religious leaders called the apostles back to their assembly, unlawfully beat them, and “…commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go” (Acts 5:40). Was the response of the apostle’s depression or silence? No! They left the counsel “…rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name” (Acts 5:41). Then, they stood “…daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ” (Acts 5:42). They would not allow even persecution to stop them from proclaiming Christ.

God placed this record in His Word to be an encouragement to believers in every age. We must not be intimidated into silence by men. Instead, we must boldly share the gospel. When any kind of opposition arises, we must learn to rejoice that we are counted worthy to suffer for Christ. We must see any hardship we face in the cause of Christ as a test of our character and faith. Refuse to stop ministering, and rely on the power of God to enable you.

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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."