"Courage In Position"
Intro: Locked in the 1983 Subaru GL at CG Hospital (Who are you and why are you doing this)
Last week we left off with Peter giving his and John's response to the question, "By what name do you do these things?" The response was clear and concise.
12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.
We want to make sure that we are a people that are full of courage as we face opposition in our walk of faith, but we must be sure to be a people that are law abiding.
Now that being said, we will have times that we will see that there will be times that the law exceeds the clearly written law of God, at which point the authority of God will take over.
When we face the decision of denying God, then we have a whole new ball game.
Peter and John knew that they were in a place to either deny or proclaim and they clearly chose to proclaim.
When we proclaim the truth of the gospel, we will often see that it will offend those who do not agree and will often be asked to remain silent. It is in this thought that we pick up our passage today. Read Passage: Acts 4:13-22
13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. 14 But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition. 15 But when they had commanded them to leave the council, they conferred with one another, 16 saying, “What shall we do with these men? For that a notable sign has been performed through them is evident to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. 17 But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.” 18 So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, 20 for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” 21 And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people, for all were praising God for what had happened. 22 For the man on whom this sign of healing was performed was more than forty years old.
In our passage today we see four realities that come as a result of God's people standing in courage and proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus. The first of these four realities is that God will use...
1. Ordinary people (vv. 13–14)
In 24 years of ministry, I think I have heard every excuse under the sun as to why someone is not willing to stand up for the gospel, share the gospel, or speak out on behalf of the gospel.
The most common one is that they don't feel like they are schooled enough or well versed enough to do so.
This section of our passage is going to make you a little uncomfortable if that is your thought process. The religious rulers were taken aback.
By no means should these men been able to speak with such authority and yet they were. They note that these men were unschooled, which could be better translated as, unlearned.
Peter and John had not had Jewish rabbinic training, yet there they were quoting the OT like they had been trained from years of schooling.
Our allowing the Holy Spirit to be at work in our lives allows for there to be great truth and wisdom spoken out of us.
The thoughts that Peter was sharing were things that he had never studied and yet were so powerfully true.
Friends, when you worry about whether you have the knowledge to accomplish what God wants to do in you, then you are denying the power of the HS in your life.
If Peter was able to speak with such boldness, then I assure you that you can too. Illus: Francis Chan on his time in China hidden church.
Today, in my opinion, like never before we have a need to stand in the truth of the gospel and speak the truth of the gospel!
God's people absolutely must stand with boldness and truth like never before. We are not whipped dogs, no, Satan has been defeated and it is time to start acting like it!
And this little section ends with the Sanhedrin recognizing that these men had been with Jesus and really had no basis to do anything because there stood a healed man before them.
Let's not miss that them recognizing that they had been with Jesus is probably not a super spiritual moment. The basis of what Luke was writing here points to their fury.
Their feeling of hate had to have been growing. They are still hearing about the man that they killed and now they have two unschooled men proclaiming the resurrection.
Nevertheless, they could not deny the miracle. The second reality when the gospel of Jesus is proclaimed is that it should lead to a...
2. Logical conclusion (vv. 15–17)
They were in quite a situation here. The Sanhedrin really had very few options here. They could try and deny what had taken place, not logical.
They could jail them and hope that it all would somehow just go away, also not logical. So, what else could they do?
Knowing denial was impossible, and punishment would be seen as unjust, the only play that they really had was to practice a bit of damage control.
It had to remain quiet. This was blowing up in their face and they did not want it to spread beyond Jerusalem. You ever see a fire burn get out of control? Illus: Wildfire in N.C. (Burning my Cobra enemies)
The Sanhedrin was the most powerful body of religious rulers of that day and here they stood basically powerless.
This wildfire was out of control and the only play they really had was to demand silence. It was like spraying a wildfire with a spray bottle of water.
The third reality when the gospel of Jesus is proclaimed is found when faced to make a choice between obeying civil authority and the authority of God.
In this case the reality might just bring about what appears to be...
3. Civil disobedience (vv. 18–19)
They did not bring any charges, and would have had a hard time doing that, but they did push for silence.
This was the one thing that they were asked to do that they could not do. This was not about obeying the Law of the land. This was not about injustice.
What Peter was responding to was an outright direction to not speak about God. This was not about anything other than that.
Don't confuse it either. They were asked to abandon Jesus, and this was simply not going to happen.
F.F. Bruce points out that this is reminiscent to when Socrates gave a similar answer to when asked to give up his pursuit of truth and Wisdom. He replied, "I shall obey God rather than you."
Their defiance was not built upon being unruly to the governing religious leaders, it was that they were not willing to be silent about what they had seen and heard.
They, in that statement, affirmed that God's divine commands would be obeyed at all costs.
This brings us to our fourth and final reality. When proclaiming the gospel of Christ, especially in the midst of being told to remain silent, we bring about...
4. Public praise (vv. 20–22)
They could not remain silent! It was a righteous open defiance. And in this defiance, they proclaimed their true loyalty to Christ and their hearts were full of love for Him.
Their response brought more empty threats but no punishment.
This defiance could have got them executed, but the mass of people surrounding them were in awe and praising God for the work of the miracle that happened before their very eyes.
Don't assume that this was the end of the Sanhedrin. They would pay back with a great vengeance, but for now the out crying of public praise was enough to silent them.
This was a mistake for the Jewish leaders. It was a fatal mistake. It was in their own silence that now they have empowered again, the very name that they were trying to squash.
The masses of people surrounding them were in one common praise of the name of Jesus. The knew what had taken place and they rejoiced and glorified God for the healing of this man.
There is no doubt that today the devil is doing all he can to silence and discredit the truth. The devil attacks the truth of the word of God, and let me remind you today, in John 17:17 it tells us, God's word is truth.
Where do you stand in truth?
Two themes have dominated our chapter thus far: exclusive one-way salvation through Jesus with no room for compromise, and the courage of the early Christians to proclaim that message. (Gangle)
This leads us to ask ourselves two questions.
Have we proclaimed and accepted salvation through Jesus, and do we display the courage to proclaim that message to a world that is desperate to hear it?
Repent, Receive Forgiveness, Be baptized, and Proclaim