The Bible never ceases to amaze me. It is a never ending fountain, flowing unceasingly with soul-stirring truth.
Every so often there are some verses in Scripture that remind us that God works on a whole different level. In fact, some verses are so crazy that they reminds us that the Gospel works so much in the opposite way that humans think or act that it couldn’t have possibly been made up.
As Spurgeon once stated, “I am sure it is God’s Gospel; for nobody could have invented it. A plan so just to God, so safe to man; and I am all the more sure it is God’s Gospel because there are many that hate it”.
There are two verses in particular that have blown my mind recently that I believe prove that the Gospel is so antithetical to human nature that it proves that it is born of God.
The first is found in Acts 5:14.
…Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number (Acts 5:14).
The context is simple. God has just killed two people. Ananias and Sapphira were struck down dead by the Lord with all of His instant wrath.
Ananias, perhaps jealous of the nickname Barnabas got only a few verses earlier, wanted to rise in the ranks of the church. So he and his wife came up with a plan. The plan was to sell their property, gift the church half the money and keep the rest, but imply that they were giving everything to the church. Ananias goes to Peter, and the Holy Spirit strikes Ananias dead on the spot. Hours later, the wife, who hadn’t heard the news, tells Peter the same lie and she too died on the spot.
What happens next is mind-boggling. The Bible tells us that fear comes over the entire church. The thousands who hear of this story are filled with a holy fear of God, and verse 13 tells us that they are even afraid of the apostles. They respect them but don’t want to get too close. And yet in verse 14 we see the unthinkable happen. Despite the fact that becoming a Christian could lead to your instantaneous death, people still become Christians. This goes to show that salvation is not accomplished solely in the mind of the unbeliever, but it is a supernatural act on the heart.
I can’t help but think of so many of the baptisms at Grace Community Church. Dozens of people, it seemed during my years there, confessed during their testimony that their first Sunday was on a communion Sunday. And typically on this Sunday, John Macarthur would read the name aloud of someone who had left the faith. And there was something about it that brought a godly fear in my own heart. And despite the fact that he would read this name in front of thousands, people kept coming! And unbelievers would point to that very moment as one of the reasons why they dealt with their own sin! What should have drove people away was the thing that was causing them to come back and give their life to Christ.
The fact that Ananias and Sapphira committed a sin we all struggle with–not only lying, but the desire to be liked or respected–is a reminder that God hates sin.
The second passage, is found in Philippians 1:14.
…and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear (Philippians 1:14).
Paul is in prison in Rome. The Philippians are Paul’s sending church. We find out in Philippians 4 that they have personally supported him. And as any supporting church, they are concerned. They love Paul and don’t want to see him being mistreated in prison. Of course they can’t bear the thought of him standing before Nero, as most Christians who do end up losing their heads. They also are concerned that the great evangelist is stuck in a jail cell and unable to share the Gospel.
But Paul, in a supernatural kind of way, is able to focus not on his terrible situation, but on the fact that the Gospel is actually spreading further. First, he rejoices in the fact that he is stuck before a captive audience and able to preach the Gospel to hundreds of guards who then go home and do his work for him when they share the gospel with their families. Slowly the Gospel is spreading throughout Rome. But secondly, he says some incredible words. Words that are hard to believe.
He says that he’s been getting many visits from believers in Rome. He insinuates that these believers, upon seeing him in prison for sharing the Gospel, leave so encouraged by him that they leave more likely to share the Gospel themselves! That in my mind is absolutely mind-boggling! It is the opposite of what should happen. If you go visit someone who is in prison for sharing the Gospel, and could even get his head cut-off for sharing the Gospel, the last thing you would do is leave him more likely to do the very thing that he is in there for in the first place! And yet that is exactly what is happening. That is because the Gospel is so supernatural that it causes people to do things that are supernatural!
The fact that you believe the Gospel is supernatural. The fact that you go to church every Sunday and enjoy hearing convicting preaching is supernatural. Are you thankful? The fact that you get to preach this Gospel to a dying world is a privilege that I hope you do not take for granted. And I pray that, just like the men and women in the day of Paul, who, upon seeing his faithfulness, left more likely to share their faith. I pray that when you consider the truth of the Gospel, you, too, would be so excited to share it with the world that you can’t help but supernaturally be willing to suffer for the sake of Christ. You may lose your house, you may lose your job, you may lose your life, but it is worth losing your temporal life for the sake of the only One who can give you an eternal one.