Gamaliel’s Warning: The Sense We Should Have in Our Approach to God’s New Work. A Commentary on Acts 5:38-39

And now I say to you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nothing: But if it be of God, you cannot overthrow it; lest haply you be found even to fight against God.

Acts 5:38-39

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

These verses show me that we believers in God should have a God-fearing heart, especially in the matter of how to treat God’s work. When we don’t understand or cannot see through God’s work, we should be reasonable but not arbitrarily judge, condemn, or resist it. Just like it is recorded in these verses, when the Jewish scribes and the Pharisees crazily resisted and condemned the work of the Lord Jesus, Gamaliel, a teacher of the Jewish law, did not stand on the side of the Pharisees but stood up and said some words to warn the Pharisees when the apostles of the Lord Jesus were captured. From this, it can be seen that he didn’t arbitrarily judge or blindly condemn on the matter he couldn’t see through. Moreover, Gamaliel thought, if it was the work of men, it would come to nothing as the time went by without being restrained by anyone. If the work was from God, no force could stop it, but it would The work of God will prosper more and more no matter what the obstacle is, and be accepted by more and more people. The attitude and practice of Gamaliel toward the work of the Lord Jesus bring some inspiration to us who wait to welcome the Lord’s second coming in the last days: If someone testifies that the Lord has returned and done new work, though we don’t understand or see through it, we cannot arbitrarily judge and blaspheme. Otherwise, we’ll offend the disposition of God and be punished by God like the Pharisees.

So when it comes to our approach to God’s new work, besides being reasonable, we should humbly seek and figure out the basic principle of seeking the true way. Only then can we have a better knowledge of God’s work and follow the footsteps of the Lamb. I’d like to share with you a passage of God’s word, “What is the most basic principle in seeking the true way? You have to look at whether or not there is the work of the Holy Spirit in this way, whether or not these words are the expression of the truth, who is testified to, and what it can bring you. Distinguishing between the true way and the false way requires several aspects of basic knowledge, the most fundamental of which is to tell whether or not there is the work of the Holy Spirit. For the substance of man’s belief in God is the belief in the Spirit of God, and even his belief in God incarnate is because this flesh is the embodiment of the Spirit of God, which means that such belief is still the belief in the Spirit. There are differences between the Spirit and the flesh, but because this flesh comes from the Spirit, and is the Word become flesh, thus what man believes in is still the inherent substance of God. And so, in distinguishing whether or not it is the true way, above all you must look at whether or not there is the work of the Holy Spirit, after which you must look at whether or not there is the truth in this way. This truth is the life disposition of normal humanity, which is to say, that which was required of man when God created him in the beginning, namely, all of normal humanity (including human sense, insight, wisdom, and the basic knowledge of being man). That is, you need to look at whether or not this way can take man into a life of normal humanity, whether or not the truth that is spoken of is required according to the reality of normal humanity, whether or not this truth is practical and real, and whether or not it is most timely. If there is truth, then it is able to take man into normal and real experiences; man, furthermore, becomes ever more normal, man’s human sense becomes ever more complete, man’s life in the flesh and the spiritual life become ever more orderly, and man’s emotions become ever more normal. This is the second principle. There is one other principle, which is whether or not man has an increasing knowledge of God, whether or not experiencing such work and truth can inspire a love of God in him, and bring him ever closer to God. In this can be measured whether or not it is the true way. Most fundamental is whether this way is realistic rather than supernatural, and whether or not it is able to provide the life of man. If it conforms to these principles, the conclusion can be drawn that this way is the true way.

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Today’s Verse Illustrated

Acts 5:38-39

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