Acts 5:38, 39
And now I say to you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nothing:…
And now I say unto you, etc.
I. REGARD IT AS THE PRODUCT OF JEWISH EDUCATION.
1. Reverence for the Word and will of God - in truth and in providence. The Jews, possessed in their Scriptures a good philosophy of history. Taught that God must triumph.
2. Sense of humanity and righteousness deeply pervading all the Jewish system. "Refrain from these men."
3. Yet evidence of the corrupt and formal state of the Jewish teachers - temporizing policy, weakness of conviction, unwillingness to face truth, the ecclesiastical spirit in its mildest form.
II. CONSIDER IT IN ITS RELATION TO CHRISTIANITY.
1. The influence of Gamaliel on Saul of Tarsus (see Conybeare and Howson; Farrar) and so on the history of the gospel.
2. The contrast between Gamaliel and his fellow-counselors in the Sanhedrim. They agreed to him then, but how about their former action and what followed? The Gamaliel character was then exceptional.
3. The contrast between Gamaliel and the apostles. He was prudent, they were earnest. Consider the necessity of following conviction. Sweetness and light are not means but ends; they have to be fought for, not rested in, before they are fully obtained.
4. The great appeal: "Lest haply ye be found... fighting against God." All must acknowledge it. How easily ignored! The position of the soul is here indicated; it is either fighting with God or against God. Though Gamaliel did not see it, there is no middle position. "A fearful thing to fall into his hands." - R.
Parallel VersesKJV: And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: