Sermon Acts 4
This first portion of Acts 4 we will call the Trial of Peter and John. But let me lay out the ground rules. In this trial the accused will already be presumed guilty. Not like our justice system where you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. These Jewish rulers will already have their minds made up. Just as they did when accusing Christ. But the Holy Spirit will be the defense attorney in these procedures. He will (through Peter) give a vigorous defense and let them know that these things that are taught are from God. And that According to Duet they should treat them as messengers from God. In Luke 21:12–15 .
So God the Holy Spirit here is the defense attorney but the resurrection of Christ is the evidence in this trial. (1 cor 15) Which the disciples were eyewitnesses to. Also the lame man who was healed and present at the trial, his healed body testified to the power of Christ. And in the future he will be the Judge and executioner to all of those who don't believe in him.
Acts 4:1 Now as they were speaking to the people, the priests, the commander officer of the temple police , and the •Sadducees confronted them,
2 being greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming n?in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.
n ch. 17:18; [ch. 3:15]
The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ac 4:2). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
The Sadducee's didn't believe in the resurrection a denial of the existence of angels or spirits (23:8); (b) loyalty to the Roman government; (c) a desire to maintain the status quo; (d) an association with the wealthy class; and (e) adherence only to the first five books written by Moses Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy
Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-c1985). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (2:362). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
They were a group that followed the Law and it tenants as a way of life. But it seems clear they didn't believe that God gave them. They were probably just as some are today. Following moral parts of the Old Testament like “Thou shall not...” or the love your neighbor” “Or the treat others as you want to be treated.”
The Sadducee followed moral and dietary laws as a way of life
So whats happening here? The priests hear something that challenges their way of thinking and instead of just asking them to leave. They react violently. They throw them in jail and because it was to late in the evening for a trial and then they figure they would sort it all out in the morning. Keep in mind this group, these Sadducee's were a small group but well connected. They were rich and had friends with high ranking officials.
So to this group the kingdom was something the Jewish nation would strive for. They had hopes that one day the Jews would have their own nation again but they didn't believe that one person (Messiah) could bring back their united kingdom. The idea of Messiah to them was the image of a Great king.
4. And they arrested them and o?put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening.
o See Luke 21:12
The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ac 4:3). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
You know whats interesting? The hardest people to witness to aren't the criminals in jail. There not the drunks, or the one's sleeping around, The hardest people to reach are the “Religious ones”
The ones who grew up under a well organized man made religion.
Christianity is a faith. A faith in a person. Religion is man made. They have big buildings, are well funded. And they do not let you think for yourself. They have a headquarters and the leaders go from church to church making sure that all the other churches are teaching from the same text books. A lot of “Christians religions” don't even open the bible. The Sadducee s were well funded so they ruled over the people with money. They probably helped pay for a lot of the temples. Some of the religions today make statements like you are a heretic and are going to hell if you don't follow our teachings.
A biblical church will have written down list of their beliefs so that others who are visiting can see if they have things in common with that church. A Religious church will make you feel like you can't worship God unless you fall in line with the church. You have to get married “In the church.” You have to baptize your babies. If you ask the average person why they baptized their baby they will say “Well that's what our church does.” or “We don't want the baby to go to hell.”
Religion is Satan's way of keeping man lost. Not allowing people to have independent thought. If you believe something because that's how you were raised. If you have challenged those teachings yourself and come to your own conclusions. Then you are practicing someone else s faith The key is to make it your own. Use common sense. The bible says that all that believe in Jesus will be saved. Can a newborn even understand words? That's what you get with Religion. No independent thought.
Think about Selena. She refused a medical procedure that could've saved her life, why because of religion.
4 But many of those who had heard the word believed, and p?the number of the men came to about five thousand.
p [ch. 2:41]
The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ac 4:4). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
5 On the next day their rulers and elders and scribes gathered together in Jerusalem,
The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ac 4:5). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
Sanhedrin, which was the senate and supreme court of Israel. It consisted of the high priest, who served as its presiding officer, and 70 other men. Its aristocratic members, the majority, were Sadducees, and its lay leaders were Pharisees.
6 with q?Annas the high priest and r?Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. 7 And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, s?“By what power or t?by what name did you do this?
So remember the Mosaic Law specified that whenever someone performed a miracle and used it as the basis for teaching, he was to be examined, and if the teaching were used to lead men away from the God of their fathers, the nation was responsible to stone him (Deut. 13:1–5). On the other hand, if his message was doctrinally sound, the miracle-worker was to be accepted as coming with a message from God.”
So Peter and John were at risk. They stood in the same court as Jesus did when he was put to death.
Shakeela Bibi smiled to herself as she took a pan out of the oven. Yesterday she and her husband had attended the small Presbyterian church near their home. The message had been such an encouragement to her, that she had decided to go the Monday afternoon Bible study—and she had made bread for the occasion.
Setting the bread on the counter, Shakeela took a deep breath, savoring the aroma of the hot loaf. If the bread tasted half as good as it smelled, then the others at the Bible study would certainly enjoy it.
As Shakeela wrapped the loaf in a clean cloth, she heard people shouting and the repeated sound of wood hitting another object. She thought little of it—the local boys would often use bamboo rods to play cricket and the games could get quite competitive.
Stepping out the front door Shakeela squinted in the bright sunlight and looked around to see where the boys were playing. The sight in front of her did not look like a cricket game. As her eyes adjusted to the light, Shakeela realized that there was a group of men with gun and clubs were moving towards the church.
Recognizing where the men were headed and what they must be intending to do, Shakeela dropped her bread and started sprinting towards the church—someone had to warn the believers inside!
When the group of men saw the woman running towards the church, they quickened their pace and began hurling insults at her. Hearing the commotion outside, some of the Christians in the church stepped outside—that was when the first gun shot was fired upwards and the cross at the top of the church came crashing down.
In panic, Shakeela realized that she would not make it inside of the church before the mob reached her, and froze. For a brief second, the world around her also seemed to freeze. To her left Shakeela saw looks of pure hatred on the faces of the approaching men, their weapons raised in malice. The faces of the Christians behind her were painted with shock and fear.
A blow to her shoulder brought Shakeela back to the present. She fell to the ground as a second bamboo club slammed into her back. Rolling over, she tried to put up her hands to shield her face, but the next blow hit her arm so hard that she heard a cracking sound and an immeasurable amount of pain came shooting up her arm. Without even her hands to protect her face, she was at the mercy of the man standing over her.
But no mercy was extended.
Over and over the man beat her head and face. With each blow the world became darker. Each time the bamboo hit her, the pain became greater. The taste of blood filled her mouth, stars exploded before her eyes, and screams echoed in her ears.
Then in a moment it all stopped.
An hour later, a man knelt on the ground next to a body. With gentle hands, he wrapped the lifeless form of his wife in a clean cloth, and quietly carried her away, tears streaming down his face.
Please remember Shakeela Bibi, a brave Chistian martyr, and her family in your prayers.
But that gives you an idea of what Peter and John are going through.
8 Then Peter, u?filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, 9 if we are being examined today v?concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, 10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that w?by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, x?whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well.
So the Sanhedrin this “Supreme court” of Israel were following their legal rights (Duet 13) to question Peter and John to find out whether the lame man was healed by God or by some other power. Problem is they have been wrong before. Matt 27:64. They had already accused Jesus God in flesh of performing miracles by the Power of Satan!!!
11?He is the stone which was rejected by you the builders, which was made the head capstone of the building. 12?And in none other is there salvation: for neither is there any other name under heaven, that is given among men, wherein we must be saved. 13?Now when they beheld the boldness of Peter and John, and had perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. 14?And seeing the man that was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.
15?But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, 16?saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been performed through them, been known to to all that live in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it.
17 But to keep it from spreading further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.
So these religious thugs were losing control. They taught the people, they controlled what the people thought. What these people were teaching not only went against these leaders heritage, it indicted them as one's who were active participants in the execution of the Son of God. This would totally destroy their image as leaders also.
18?And they called them, and charged them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. 19?But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, judge for yourself: 20?for we cannot keep from speaking the things which we saw and heard. 21?And after they had further threatened them, let them go, finding nothing they might punish them for; because of the people were praising God for the miracle which was done. 22? For the man on whom this sign of healing had been performed was more than forty years old.
The Holy Bible : New Revised Standard Version. 1989 (Ac 4:21-22). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
23?And being let go, they came to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said unto them. 24?And they, when they heard it, lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, O Lord, thou that didst make the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that in them is: 25?who by the Holy Spirit, by the mouth of our father David thy servant, didst say, Why did the Gentiles rage, And the peoples imagine vain things? 26?The kings of the earth set themselves in array, And the rulers were gathered together, Against the Lord, and against his Anointed: 27?for of a truth in this city against thy holy Servant Jesus, whom thou didst anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, were gathered together, 28?to do whatsoever thy hand and thy council foreordained to come to pass. 29?And now, Lord, look upon their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants to speak thy word with all boldness, 30?while thy stretchest forth thy hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of thy holy Servant Jesus. 31?And when they had prayed, the place was shaken wherein they were gathered together; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
32?And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and soul: and not one of them said that aught of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. 33?And with great power gave the apostles their witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. 34?For neither was there among them any that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, 35?and laid them at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto each, according as any one had need. 36?And Joseph, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas (which is, being interpreted, Son of exhortation), a Levite, a man of Cyprus by race, 37?having a field, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
American Standard Version. 1995 (Ac 4:10). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.