Faithlife Sermons

The Persecution Begins

Acts: Christ Builds His Church  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
0 ratings
Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →


TS: Last week, we saw that Peter and John gave what they had to the lame man, the healed him in the name of Jesus. This caused great comotion at the temple and led to many more being saved.
The leaders of the people arrested them.
Acts 4:1–3 NKJV
Now as they spoke to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them, being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening.
They were upset that Peter and John dared to teach:
Acts (3) The Arrest (4:1–4)

(a) that such men as Peter and John, untrained in the rabbinic schools, were teaching the people (v. 2a) and (b) that they “proclaimed in Jesus” an actual instance of “resurrection from the dead” (v. 2b, ASV). The Sadducees denied the possibility of resurrection.

1. The Defense

Acts 4:5–12 NKJV
And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes, as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
The Trial began at dawn as the Sanherin met
The council was the Chief Preist and 70 elders
The gathering probably consisted of the two main sects:
Members of a Jewish party that exercised strict piety according to Mosaic law. The

The Pharisees kept themselves apart both socially and theologically from aristocratic sympathizers with Hellenism and the uneducated commoners.

Johnson, B. T. (2016). Pharisees. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, … W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
They taught there was no resurrection, the soul dies at death as well. They didn't believe in angels and demons either.
Their differences was an undercurrent in all deliberations. (We will see this in later encounters)
7-12 The Defense of the Apostles:
Peter's defense came from the Holy Spirit:
Jesus had promised power and boldness in these circumstances (Lk 21:14-15)
A) note the skill and ease with which he made his defense
B) The stinging sarcasm of his opening remark
If we are being judged for a good deed....
C) The boldness with which he charged them with murder
V 10
D) THe manner in which he turned the occasion into an opportunity to witness
v. 11-12
He proclaimed the resurrection
The Sanhedrin had tried to eliminate Jesus
Peter proclaimd that God had reversed that!
He proclaimd that in the name of Jesus they could be saved
This is the heart of the gospel!
The risen Lord is ready to forgive all who respond to His call
In Grace, He calls and and we have faith
This is why Paul would declare in
Romans 10:13 NKJV
For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”
Holman New Testament Commentary: Acts B. Courage and Public Witness (vv. 8–12)

How easy it would have been for Peter and John to answer the high priest’s question by simply saying, “God did it.” That would have been a religiously and politically correct response, and the apostles could have been dismissed immediately. When they brought Jesus, his crucifixion, and his resurrection into the argument, the whole complexion of the Council changed. The issue now revolved not around a healed cripple, but around the authority of Jesus of Nazareth.

Holman New Testament Commentary: Acts B. Courage and Public Witness (vv. 8–12)

Since salvation comes through the name of Jesus, Christians must courageously proclaim that name even in the most difficult of situations.

Like Peter, we must be courageous to proclaim Jesus
Since there is no other name by which anyone can be saved, we proclaim Jesus!
It isn't our story that saves
It isn't our persuasivenss that matters
We proclaim Christ!

2. The Deliberation

Acts 4:12–18 NKJV
Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, saying, “What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name.” So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
They entered into a deliberate contemplation:
a) Undeniable miracle
there was no denying that a miracle had been worked
b) Unexplainable boldness-
How could unlearned and untrained men be bold and so
They marveled at this
b) Unusual Explanation
13b They had been with Jesus
They connected the supernatural with having been with Jesus
The conclusion they reached:
STOP preaching in Jesus' name!
AP: We may come under fire when serving Jesus
God's stanards, and our living His way, isn't popular with people.
They don't want to be confronted with their sins.
They want to revel in and celebrate their sin
They demand we have tolerance for them
by that they mean, we have no right to share the Bible's view on their choices
When we call for repententance, not all will receive it well
from ridicule to lawsuits to physical persecution
Their negative responses can run the gambit.

3. The Determination

Acts 4:19–22 NKJV
But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done. For the man was over forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.
EX: The apostles faced a delimna:
Obey the court and stop preaching
could avoid trouble
could possible fade away and live in peace
Obey Jesus
be His witness throughout the world
draw the wrath of the Sanhedrin
Walk pleasing to the Lord
Their choice:
v. We must speak what we have seen and heard
We must obey obey God rather than man
Holman New Testament Commentary: Acts C. Courage in Position (vv. 13–22)

Christians with courage should be law-abiding citizens until that law exceeds the clearly written law of God, at which point a higher authority takes over.


Obey God not Man
Be Bold
Serve in Jesus' Name
Related Media
Related Sermons