"Go... Stand... Speak!"

 Acts 5:19-20

 The success of the Christian cause had the effect we might have anticipated;
it aroused the intense hostility of the enemies of the Lord,
and so the disciples were arrested for preaching the resurrection of Jesus..

But bars and doors and chains cannot shut out those
whom God would have to enter,
and would never shut in those God would have escape.

The hour had come for His intervening hand
and all the power of man cannot prevent God from His purposes.

In the middle of the night an angel of the Lord comes and releases the prisoners.
He told them,
"Go and stand in the temple and speak
to the people all the words of life

We must notice that their release was not for their personal benefit.
They were not told to slip away and hide and try not to get caught again.
They were not told to change the things they were saying,
so the Sanhedrin would not take offense.

Their release was brought about to further the Gospel.
"Go... stand... speak!"

As surely as the angel of the Lord freed the apostles,
so we, in Christ, have also been freed.
God has released us from the bondage of sin.
Sin no longer has dominion over us.

God has freed us and is freeing us from bad habits,
wrong attitudes, and desperate circumstances.

With the apostles in prison, God intervened.

We often pray for the direct intervention of God, and right now!
We often wonder why it does not come
because we think that the hour for divine intervention is now.

Our prayer for intervention should be
to ask God to deliver in His own time and manner.
Our prayer for intervention should be to expect
His delivering hand at some time and in some way.
Our prayer for intervention should be
to wait in patient endurance till His time has come.
Our prayer for intervention should be
to recognize His gracious hand in what ever ways
He may be pleased to act.

The angel told the disciples that God would have them "go."
Go, at once, and they did.
They were in the temple courts early in the morning.

And we are to go.
We are to run with the glad tidings of Jesus.
We are to take opportunity when someone is ready to listen.
We are to take opportunity when the Holy Spirit
impresses us to share Jesus with someone.

We must speak the good news, which we have learned
from Jesus our Lord and Saviour.

The primary business of the disciples was to "Go!"
"Go," the angel said.
Go! Before anything else!
This is your chief business.
This is your primary responsibility.
This is what Christ expects of us.
It should be our main business.

Most of us would have been tempted to linger just a little -- to procrastinate.
We would want to find out how the angel released the prisoners
so we would have had to have our curiosity satisfied first.
We just have to know everything,
but we neglect the main business that we have as Christians.

The pressing command was "go... stand... speak to the people."

Can you not hear our response:
"But let me wait a while. I don't see angels every day.
Let me learn more of these heavenly strangers

But the command is: "Go!"
That is our commission.
That is our command.
How can we have peace with God in our hearts
when we are not obeying His plain command.

"Go, stand in the temple."
Go to the place where the people assemble.
They come there in great numbers.
Go where all the people can see you.
Stand up and stand out!
Wherever people are, let your voice be heard.

Go, stand in the temple -- the most public place in Jerusalem.
It was the most likely place to find attentive listeners.
There will not be noise like there is in the sheep market and the bazaar.

Stand in the place where an audience can be gathered.
They understood this and obeyed as seen
in the last verse of the chapter:
"Daily in the temple, and in every house,
they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ

The object is to make the gospel known.
Therefore, stand in the chief place.

It's easy to witness in church before others who share our views.
It is much more difficult to share our views before skeptics,
in the school or on the streets,
especially to those who are our relatives.

It is difficult for us to share our gospel with our friends
who know us through and through.
And it is terribly difficult to speak of Jesus
to those who are openly hostile.

"Go, stand in the temple."
Go back to the temple where they were arrested.

And we are to go back to our home -- that is difficult.
We are to go back to our everyday life -- that is difficult.

The disciples were told to go back, and they did.
They were back on the job "about daybreak." (Verse 21)

Yet, many Christians today don't even attend Sunday school
because they're not willing to give to God one more hour
before the morning service.

The truth is -- God's Word doesn't mean very much to them!

And many more will miss on Sunday night,
and even more will miss on Wednesday night.
It is sad to think that other things are more important than the things of God.

These early Christians were dedicated.
Let's face it -- that's the difference!
That's why they were out at daybreak teaching,
and many are not willing to give God
an extra hour of their time on the Lord's Day.

"Go... stand... and speak to all the people the words of life."
They were instructed to teach the people all the words of life.
They were to speak all those words
which tell of the good news of Jesus Christ to their fellow citizens.
They were to speak on the great subject of the new life
-- the spiritual life which they had been living in Christ.

Stand and speak, not your own message nor your own opinions,
but all the words of this new life in Christ.
They were to proclaim that life which was free from death.

Stand and speak to the people.
The disciples understood that, as we mentioned earlier,
when you read the last verse of this chapter.
They were to speak to all the people.
They were to speak to individuals and the masses.
They were to speak to those ready to listen,
and they were to speak to those who were not.

The gospel is good news to all people,
and is to be preached to every person.

If we take the word, "people," in its popular sense,
it has a lesson to all who teach the Word.

Some teach to reach the intellectual.
Some teach to reach the affluent.
Some teach to reach the down and outs.

A minister whose congregation numbered about 40
rejoiced in the smallness of it
because he professed that a greater work
could be done with a few rather than with a large number.

In answer, a friend suggested that he inferred from the statement
that a greater work could be done with no people at all.

This reduces the argument to an absurdity:
that the better a man preaches,
the smaller his congregation will become.

Our business is to reach people -- all people.
We must go and speak to the people.
They need what we have, and they are dying without Christ.

We are to "speak all the words of this life."

This life is Christ.
We are to proclaim Christ.
He is the way, the truth, and the life.
We have the "words of life."
There are no other words of life.

We are to tell all the great truths which concern eternal life.
We are to speak about all the words of this life.

And oh. what words they are!

Christ Jesus -- as stated in verse 42:
"And they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ."

Jesus has the words of eternal life.
We are to tell of His deity, His birth, His manhood, His life,
His death, His resurrection, His ascension,
His being seated at the right hand of God,
His intercession, His coming again.

The word -- regeneration
"Ye must be born again."

The word -- grace
"By grace are you saved through faith."

The words -- eternal life
Never, never die.

The words -- indwelling Holy Spirit
God's Holy Spirit lives within us.

There is no question that all of us are to go... stand... and speak.
Yet, there are those in this service who have never told anyone
the "words of life."

Can you point to a single man or woman
that you have ever spoken to about the things of God?

Can you say that you have ever publicly given your testimony.
Have you ever publicly confessed Christ.

How can you be satisfied to be silent?

Silence is shameful!
Silence is sinful!

Are you content to let love ones sink beneath the surging tide of sin
without telling them that there is life forever in Jesus.
That's good news!
That is great news!
That is the best news that anyone could ever hear!

We must tell!
We must speak up!

What are you left on earth to do?

We have been saved to serve.
We have been saved to speak.

Tell the lost and lonely of the love of God.
All of us can do more than we are doing.

Love the Word!
Learn the Word!
Teach the Word!
Preach the Word!

Confess that you are not your own and that you are bought with a price,
and that you have no right to your own selfish ways.

So, serve Jesus!
Confess you are not your own!
Realize that there is something better
for you to do as a Christian than to be a hearer only.

"Go... stand... speak!"

Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White
Email Dr. White at hleewhite@AOL.com

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