The book of Acts concludes with these words about how Paul the apostle preached while under house arrest—“He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!” (Acts 28:31). An overview of Acts shows us various ways that the gospel message was unhindered as it spread across the world.
The gospel message was unhindered by the Jewish religious leaders who wanted to put a stop to it. They ordered the apostles to stop speaking in the name of Jesus. But the apostles replied that they couldn’t help speaking about what they had seen and heard, and they refused to be silenced.
The gospel message was unhindered when the sin of Ananias and Sapphira threatened the holiness of the church. God dealt quite severely with their sin, and the fear of the Lord filled the whole church.
The gospel message was unhindered when one ethnic group became neglected when it came to feeding the widows in the church. The leaders immediately addressed the issue in such a manner that the whole church was satisfied.
The gospel message was unhindered when Stephen was killed for preaching the truth and a great persecution broke out against the church, scattering all except the apostles. Instead, those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went, and the church continued to grow.
The gospel message was unhindered when Saul threatened Christians with imprisonment or death. The resurrected Jesus appeared to Saul, who was amazingly converted and—better known as Paul–became a great proclaimer of the faith he once tried to destroy.
The gospel message was unhindered when legalists infiltrated the church, imposing their views about what people must do to be saved. The leaders stood up and declared that it is by the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved.
There are many other examples of how the gospel message was unhindered, but rather spread throughout the land in spite of many various obstacles.
Why was the gospel able to spread so quickly? There are several reasons.
First, the early Christians were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit (1:8). With the power of God working within them, the words and actions of the believers brought fantastic results.
Secondly, the gospel proceeded unhindered because it contains a simple message—the crucified and resurrected Jesus is the only way to be saved (4:12) and those who want to respond in faith to God’s offer of grace are to repent and be baptized (2:38).
Third, the Christian movement succeeded because it was fueled by prayer. They asked God to do great things and he honored their requests by really shaking things up! (4:31).
Fourth, the gospel message thrived because the world could see the great love the Christians had for one another, love that compelled them to share everything they had with believers who were in need (4:32).
Finally, the good news of salvation through Jesus continued to spread because of the boldness of the believers who shared this gospel. They were willing to die for their cause! (12:2).
So, brothers and sisters, no matter what difficulties the church might face, the gospel message will continue to spread, and many will respond to the good news that salvation is available through Jesus. Let’s be filled with his power as we prayerfully, lovingly and boldly proclaim the simple but all-important message of salvation through Jesus!