I’m re-reading Acts of the Apostles – the story of the early years of the church.
Yesterday I reached chapter 5 and these words stood out: ‘If this is a movement of God, you won’t be able to stop it’ (Acts 5:39). I then went to church – to Crossways Community Church – and Pastor Mike Bullmore stood up, opened his bible, read and then preached from exactly the same bible passage! He ended by encouraging us to be bold and full of joy, because the good news of Jesus is, he said, truly unstoppable.
It reminded me of a song that we sometimes sing at The Belfrey (‘The Lion and the Lamb’) which includes the line: ‘Who can stop the Lord Almighty?’ The answer of course is no-one and no-thing.
We know from church history that many have opposed and sought to hold back the advancement of God’s kingdom. But ultimately the Lord will triumph and his plans and purposes will prevail, for he is strong, great and full of love – and love will conquer. When God’s people begin to realise this, they too take on something of the Lord’s unstoppable nature. They persevere. They keep gojng. They are brave and courageous – even in the face of suffering, opposition and persecution. This is true of many Christ-followers today. They’re facing extremely difficult circumstances, but they don’t stop, because they know they’re part of a kingdom that is truly unstoppable.
Dr Brian Simmons, in his translation of Acts 5 in the Passion Translation understands this and helpfully ends Acts 5 by describing the people of the early church in this way: ‘And nothing stopped them!’ (v42).
May historians who in the future write about followers of Jesus in our day say the same about us.