Monday, September 29, 2014

The Proof is In the Pudding


 
And he said to them: “Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men.  For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody. A number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was slain, and all who obeyed him were scattered and came to nothing.  After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census, and drew away many people after him. He also perished, and all who obeyed him were dispersed.  And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing;  but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God.” – Acts 5:35-39

There’s an old saying that dates back to the 14th century that we’ve shortened over the years.  It is “the proof is in the pudding”.  Originally, the saying was more to the tune of the proof of a pudding is in its eating.  It means that the only way to know if something is good or is successful is for it to be tried.

For me, that’s one of the most overwhelming evidences of Christianity.  It has survived persecution, martyrdom, the dark ages, and still survives today.  There is no business that has been managed by man to have every survived this long.  There is no government that has survived this long.  It has outlasted entire civilizations.  And even today, it is the foundation of the lives of many.  The same is true of God’s word.  The Bible has survived even in nations where it was made illegal to have one.

In Acts 5 Peter and John are thrown into prison for teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.  But in the middle of the night, an Angel opens the doors and instructs them to “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.”  The Angel refers to the gospel as ‘this life’, which is the eternal life afforded by the death and resurrection of Christ to those that believe in Him.  He instructed them to go to the temple, where people were already gathered trying to worship God in their own way under the laws of Moses. 

When the religious leaders of the council called for them to be retrieved from the prison, they found the doors of the prison locked, but Peter and John were not there.  When they found they were in the temple teaching, once again, salvation through Christ, they were outraged!

There was a man there that on day within the council who was a Pharisee, one who prided himself in being a devoutly religious man.  His name was Gamaliel, and God’s word says he was “a teacher of the law held in respect by all the people".  His advice to the High Priest and Sadducees was basically, ‘the proof is in the pudding’.   He referred to Theudas who had also come against the religious council with new teaching “claiming to be somebody”, and had many followers. But when he died, all who followed him were dispersed, and no one cared to mention his name again.  There was another even after Theudas called Judas of Galilee who also rose up and many people followed him.  But when he died his cause died with him. 

Gamaliel’s advice was to just wait and see what would happen being certain that this newfound movement called Christianity would die with the disciples.  He said “for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God.”

And here I rest my case for the cause of Christianity.  It has yet to be overthrown, and it will not be overthrown.  Persecution of Christians will continue, and martyrdom may even take my life.  But I am certain that God will endure all our evil.

“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.” – Isaiah 40:8

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