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Chuck Smith :: Sermon Notes for Acts 5:39

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I. I FIRST OF ALL THINK THAT A MAN WOULD HAVE TO BE A FOOL TO FIGHT AGAINST GOD.
A. The prophet Isaiah said, "Woe unto him who strives with his Maker.
1. How could you as a mortal man ever hope to win in a contest with God?
2. Would you strive with Him intellectually?
a. The foolishness of God is wiser than man.
b. Job and his friends were discussing all their opinions and ideas about God.
c. They spoke as if they knew so much about God.
d. When God began to respond to their arguments and ask them questions, they were silenced.
e. Man poor man, so ignorant in that which he knows best.
3. To try to fight with Him physically is manifestly absurd.
4. That leaves only one other battleground and that is spiritual.
B. It must be recognized that man can only fight against God because God allows him to do so.
1. You exist only by the mercy and grace of God, for God sustains you.
2. When Daniel was brought in to Belshazzar the Babylonian king to interpret the writing on the wall, he said to him, "You have praised the gods of gold and silver, but the God in whose hand your very breath is, you have not glorified."
a. The God in whose hand your breath is, you depend upon God for your next breath.
b. It is interesting that your lungs and your heart are involuntary muscles that are not controlled by your brain. You do not have to think to breathe.
c. The body has voluntary and involuntary muscles. The voluntary muscles are attached to the frame of your body and are controlled by the brain, the involuntary muscles are not attached to the frame and are not controlled by the brain.
d. Those muscles upon which your life depends, God saw fit when He designed your body not to give you the control over them.
e. I find it interesting that Belshazzar's grandfather Nebuchadnezzer had sought to fight against God and had learned a very valuable lesson that he sought to pass on. He declared, "I blessed the most High God and I praised and honored him that liveth forever, whose dominion [is] an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom [is] from generation to generation: all the inhabitants of the earth [are] reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and [among] the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all whose works [are] truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.
C. This warning against fighting against God was given to the religious council in Jerusalem by a noted and respected rabbi whose name was Gamaliel.
1. Paul the apostle was one of his students.
a. It is interesting to me that Paul though a student of Gamaliel, did not listen to the sage advise of his teacher and set out to destroy the church.
b. When Jesus apprehended him on the road to Damascus He said to him, "It has been hard for you to kick against the goads."
c. Mules which were sometimes used for plowing had a habit of kicking, you have heard the phrase, "He can kick like a mule." Another phrase is, "Stubborn as a mule." So that when the mule was harnessed to the plow, they would begin to kick, so they put these goads behind their legs which were sharpened pieces of wood. When the mule would kick it would only bring pain to itself.
d. It has been hard for some of you to kick against the goads, you have been fighting against God, and look at all the pain it has brought into your life.
II. WHY WOULD A PERSON WANT TO FIGHT AGAINST GOD?
A. Wrong concept of God.
1. They have only listened to what others have said about God and have not known what God has said about Himself.
2. I have heard people say the most off the wall things about God and about the Bible which only reveal to me their ignorance. I realize that they do not know God nor the Bible, they are only saying what they have heard others say.
3. The Bible purports to be God's revelation of Himself to man, I am convinced that it is.
a. Unless you have read the Bible all the way through, how can you possibly be so opinionated about its contents.
b. Some people start reading the Bible in Genesis and when they get to the story of God asking Abraham to offer his son Issac as a sacrifice, they close the book and say, "I cannot believe in a God that would require a father to do such a horrible thing." Yet they may have participated in an abortion. Genesis does not have the full story of this event. You need the book of Hebrews in the New Testament to fully understand the story for it explains to us the thinking of Abraham at the time.
c. So many people say, "I do not believe the Bible." If you ask them if they have ever carefully read the Bible all the way through, if they are truthful they will tell you no. How can you respect the opinion of a person who makes such a judgment without examining for themselves all the evidence.
d. I do not ask you to take my word for it, I want to challenge you to examine for yourself, see what the Bible teaches about God, about you, and how a man can come to know and serve God.
4. So it is out of ignorance that some people fight against God.
B. Some have had unfortunate experiences in life that they have wrongfully blamed upon God, and have thus become embittered against Him.
1. Maybe a minister has lied to them, or cheated them. They had looked up to them as God's representatives, and now are crushed to find that they are human. This is tragic because so often people do look upon us as perfect. Let me assure you that I am far from perfect, God saved me and has blessed me to demonstrate His grace.
2. Maybe they had prayed and God did not answer their prayer. Ted Turner of Turner Broadcasting Company attributes his bitterness against God to the death of his sister, for whom he had desperately prayed that God would spare her life.
a. The tragedy is that she loved the Lord and is with the Lord, and though he loved her so deeply, he will never be with her in the kingdom of God unless God gets hold of his heart and he repents from his sin and seeks forgiveness.
b. We have such a wrong concept of death. It is only our selfishness that causes us to pray that God will not let His children die. To be absent from this body is to be present with the Lord. Isn't that where we all want to be?
c. It is reported that when Louis Talbot died, that his wife was praying the Lord would not let him die, and he stopped her saying in effect, "For years I have been looking forward to this moment when I could be with my Lord, please do not try to stop me from this joy."
III. LET IT BE NOTED THAT WHOEVER FIGHTS AGAINST GOD IS REALLY FIGHTING AGAINST THEMSELVES AND THEIR OWN GOOD.
A. God loves you and His plan for your life is the very best thing that could ever happen to you.
1. God said,
JER 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
PSA 84:11 For the LORD God [is] a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good [thing] will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.
2. If I were a leader of a foreign power that was experiencing economic woes I would declare war on the United States and send my troops to attack. After we were defeated I would surrender and then apply for aid like the Marshall plan and others. Like Japan and Germany I would then head a prosperous nation.
3. This is sort of what happens when a person quits fighting and surrenders to God.
B. Is it possible that you are fighting against God today?
1. You have become involved in some evil that is ready to destroy you, you have been straying from His way, and He has spoken to you about it, but you are fighting Him.
2. Let me plead with you for a moment, consider the consequences of fighting against God, think of how awful it would be if you won, you would then be eternally lost.
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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