"They Did Not Cease Teaching & Preaching Jesus As The Christ"
After Peter and John were arrested (Acts 4:3); after the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11), and after counsel was taken to kill the apostle Peter and his co-workers (Acts 5:33), what do you suppose the early disciples in Jerusalem did? Give Up? Hide in a hole? Take their collective activity underground with a cowardly silence? Walk away from Christ, back into Judaism?
Here's what they did: "They did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ," (Acts 5:42). The numerical and spiritual growth of the early church was a product of what is described in this verse. They were keeping the faith. This suggests three things involved:
(1) They started teaching and preaching Jesus! If they "did not cease," it is obvious that they started. Apparently they started the work of evangelism as soon as they become Christians. "And daily in the temple, and in every house," they told people what they had learned and how they had responses to the Christ. They did not wait for a special training course, week-end seminar or personal work classes. They had good news and they were compelled to share it, so they started. Have we ever started?
(2) They preached the gospel, not the doctrines and commandments of men. "Teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ" is to proclaim who Jesus is, tell what He did and what our response should be. Our duty is not to simply repeat what others have said. Our duty is to discover what God's truth is, and be certain we preach and teach nothing but God's Word. They were continuing steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine (Acts 2:42).
(3) They found no good place or reason to quit! "They did not cease!"
Have you ever started something you didn't finish? Why? Did you loose interests? Did other activities and desires intrude? Are we guilty of starting to preach the gospel, but then ceasing? What will our answer be to God? The zeal and work of these who "did not cease" should be regarded as our example, our model to restore. "To glory in the cross, to count shame endured for Christ's sake the highest honor, and to be unwearied and undaunted in teaching and preaching Jesus Christ ... is the true character and work of every" child of God today. (From Pulpit Commentary, Acts 5:42).
They kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ. They kept the faith by preaching the gospel without fear. Are we keeping the faith in this way?
By Warren E. Berkley
From Expository Files 11.11; November 2004