The Apostles Preach the Gospel

from the Acts of the Apostles reading plan

Acts 5:12-42, Isaiah 40:6-8, 1 John 2:15-17, John 6:66-69

BY Guest Writer

Text: Acts 5:12-42, Isaiah 40:6-8, 1 John 2:15-17, John 6:66-69

I have always been enchanted by the glamour, music, and energy of the Roaring Twenties. Naturally, The Great Gatsby is a favorite book of mine. If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, the plot centers on Jay Gatsby, a man with one goal: to win the heart of the charming Daisy Buchanan.

Mr. Gatsby doesn’t consult God about his grand plans to win over Daisy. Rather, he sets out to make himself a new man worthy of her pedigree—a man of fame and fortune. But despite Gatsby’s best efforts, (spoiler alert) he does not ultimately end up with his lady love. And while hundreds—maybe thousands—once attended his infamous parties, Gatsby’s funeral is a lonely affair, and he’s quickly forgotten by most.

How could someone who worked so hard with such a singular purpose, fail and be forgotten?

When we look at the book of Acts, we see the apostles giving everything they have to accomplish a goal. Unlike Gatsby, these men are driven by God’s purpose rather than their own desires. And the outcome couldn’t be more different.

Even with God leading them, the apostles’ journey wasn’t without difficulties. When the apostles started to gain a following for the Lord, the jealous Sadducees imprisoned them. But the plans God had set in motion could not be stopped, and the men were miraculously freed to continue preaching. When dragged before the Sanhedrin, they remained committed to the mission the Lord had called them to, bravely proclaiming:

“We must obey God rather than men.”
-Acts 5:29

Honest though the apostles’ explanation was, it didn’t sit well with the Sanhedrin, who’d become intent on killing them (Acts 5:33). But Gamaliel, a wise and respected Pharisee among the council, persuaded the others to leave the men alone. For if this plan or this work is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even be found fighting against God” (Acts 5:38-39).

Jay Gatsby was a man with plans to make his own name great, but his plans failed and his legacy was forgotten. The apostles, on the other hand, were not working in their own power or crafting their own strategy for success—they were listening to the Lord and joining in His plans as “fellow workers” (1 Corinthians 3:9). Even when the apostles faced imprisonment, beatings, and the threat of death, they were strengthened in the Spirit to endure such trials and to spread the gospel, a teaching with eternal value.

It’s tempting to follow our own desires apart from God, striving for recognition and trying to make a name for ourselves. We can easily become confused by our own motivations. Are we pursuing this job or relationship to bring glory to God, or to build our own kingdom? Are we walking in our own strength, or by the guidance of the Spirit?

Jesus promised that apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). Instead, we will struggle to build false kingdoms of our own that won’t last and will never fulfill. But thanks be to God, whose plans can never be thwarted! Like the apostles, may we seek to obey Him, rather than man.SRT-Acts-Instagram8s

Kaitie Stoddard is a professional counselor who recently relocated from Chicago to Colorado with her husband. She has her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and is passionate about helping couples and families find healing in their relationships. Jesus dramatically changed her life in high school, giving her a heart for those who don’t yet know the love of Christ. On any given weekend you’re likely to find Katie snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains, checking out new restaurants with friends, or catching up on her favorite Netflix and podcast series.

Post Comments (126)

126 thoughts on "The Apostles Preach the Gospel"

  1. Bethany says:

    41 “So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name.”
    This verse just blows me away and reminds me of how much more I should be rejoicing for God. The fact that the disciples can rejoice about the suffering is just incredible

    1. Ashley says:

      I so agree Bethany! This phrase stood out so significantly to me. I sadly don’t think I view suffering for the sake of Christ with the same joy as the apostles did here. But I pray that I will know Christ, as Paul said, and the power of his resurrection, the fellowship of his suffering and becoming like him in his death. It is only possible with the help of the Holy Spirit, how I need him.

  2. Reeve Currie says:

    It is such a telling question to ask yourself when you’re making a decision: is this ultimately for me or to glorify Jesus? That one question can quickly bring clarity (sometimes painful clarity!).

  3. Ashley says:

    Stacy, you are in my prayers!

  4. Stacy says:

    This really spoke to me today. My husband has filed for divorce and is living with another woman and I am on my knees tearfully praying for him daily. Is it for God that I won’t give up on my marriage or because I selfishly don’t want to give up on my own plans and expectations for my future (and our 2 year old’s future) … ?
    The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick; who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9

    1. Christy says:

      Stacy, just read your post. My sis in law is going through a divorce too with 4 young kids. Lifting you up in prayer sister!

      1. Stacy says:

        Thank you Christy! I’m praying for your family and your sister in law too

      2. Hope says:

        Stacy, I want to hug you and I am not a hugger. My heart is with you. I pray that you see and feel God moving in your situation. I also pray that during this trial–no matter what–you will find the eternal value in your moment of suffering. Sending my prayers, a virtual hug, and some love.

    2. Kristin says:

      Stacy, my heart is breaking for you. I went through the same situation a year and a half ago. God sees the bigger plan and ultimately knows what is best for you and your child. Stay strong even on those extremely difficult days and trust in the Lord. It’s a long and difficult road, but I am praying for you!

    3. Reeve Currie says:

      Oh how difficult! It can be so hard to wade through our own desires and acknowledge how our plans can be different from God’s. Praying for you as you experience such pain.

    4. Nikravesous says:

      Praying for you, Stacy. I am so sorry you are going through this, I can’t imagine your pain. I have a good friend who I have known through a divorce and, more recently, a very messy break up. The only way he’s gotten through this is by trusting in God and, in fact, his faith has lead numerous friends to the Lord as they see that his strength comes from the Lord. God is with you in this and is using you through this. Love you, sister

    5. Gail says:

      Stacy, my heart breaks for you. I, too, have been down that road. My ex-husband walked out on me after almost 10 years of marriage. We had two small little girls. I cried out to God, desperate because these were most definitely not my plans. God did not heal my marriage. My ex-husband went on to marry the woman he was having an affair with. But, God’s plans for me didn’t end when he walked out. He blessed me with a wonderful man and we have since had 2 more children. These were not the plans I had when I was a young bride of 22, but God turned ashes into beauty. I’m praying this for you, too, my friend. You are a child of the most high King. Hold your head high and tell yourself you are worth more. One day, one breath, at a time. Love in Christ!

  5. Carrie Rogers says:

    Thank you for this truth. Lord, may all that I do be about glorifiying You!

  6. Jenna Johnson says:

    Wow, I felt such peace reading these verses. Peace in knowing that as long as I have God on my side, I can do anything. Peace in knowing that building my own kingdom is futile, so why even bother? Peace in knowing that my Father in Heaven WANTS me to counsel with him about every decision in my life. He cares THAT much. I loved verse 41; after the apostles were beaten, they rejoiced that they were worthy enough to suffer shame for Jesus Christ. Would I feel the same way in the same situation? I know that loving the Gospel is a joy, not something to be embarrassed of. This verse has given me the motivation to be more BoLd in my sharing of the Gospel.

  7. Rhonni_l says:

    I live in Sydney Australia & always am a day behind however it also gives me the opportunity to read over all the comments which i find opens much diverse understanding & truths from the daily devo. Love being a part of this special community

  8. kmarie says:

    This is such a timely remind to continually tune back into God’s plan throughout my day. Today’s reading also made me remember that it’s not just the big picture, but the small stuff too – am I ‘struggling to build my own kingdom’ by holding so tightly to the way I think things should go, or am I giving Him full reign and trusting that His way is best, step by step? I hope the latter! I started this study late and am now just one day behind on the plan, but each time I go to ‘cram’ and catch up, I feel the nudge to pause & truly consider each reading for what it’s worth, and what God wants me to learn. Thanks SRT Team for your incredible ministry, it’s been a real blessing to me since I came across you a few months ago :-)

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