Faithlife Sermons

A Matter of Perspective

Acts: Christ Builds His Church  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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A matter of perspective
Intro:
AG:
TS: Our last text focused on the success the church was experiencing. God was granting them boldness and working wonders. People were being saved and joining with the church daily. It was an awesome time!
But not everyone was happy with the success of the Church. The religious establishment that had opposed the ministry of Jesus, and then crucified Him, took the same hostile approach toward the Apostles.
They should have been expecting this since Jesus had warned:
John 15:20 NKJV
Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.
John 16:2 NKJV
They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service.
RS:

1. The Perspective of The Jealous

Acts 5:17–18 NKJV
Then the high priest rose up, and all those who were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with indignation, and laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison.
Acts 5:22–28 NKJV
But when the officers came and did not find them in the prison, they returned and reported, saying, “Indeed we found the prison shut securely, and the guards standing outside before the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside!” Now when the high priest, the captain of the temple, and the chief priests heard these things, they wondered what the outcome would be. So one came and told them, saying, “Look, the men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!” Then the captain went with the officers and brought them without violence, for they feared the people, lest they should be stoned. And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them, saying, “Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!”
The Sadducees had enough and were going to put a stop to this message:
They didn’t believe in the resurrection to begin with. No resurrection for anyone!
Now, the apostles were :
a. blaming them for calling for Jesus’ death
b. preaching the resurrection.

A. They were loosing control of the message

The religious rulers thought they had control of the Bible
their interpretations were taken as the only interpretation
They were not in control of the apostles’ preaching!
They were out of control and their “false teaching” was spreading
Too many were being taught the way of Christ

B. They were loosing the hearts of the people

They were no longer as admired and respected
These preachers were daring to call them out on their call for Jesus’ death
This marred their image and tarnished their reputations
Like Jesus, the apostles were probably pointing out their hypocrisy
They thrived on the acclaim of others and for being praised as role models

C. They were left out by God

There was probably pure jealousy their part
I can hear them now: why isn’t God doing this through me!
I am paid my dues!
This is supposed to be our town!

D. They resented the accusation

Bringing this man’s blood on us!
Matthew 27:25 NKJV
And all the people answered and said, “His blood be on us and on our children.”
They were reaping what they had sowed and didn’t like it!

2. The Perspective of the Devout

The church at Jerusalem had a whole different view of things!
Acts 5:19–21 NKJV
But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.” And when they heard that, they entered the temple early in the morning and taught. But the high priest and those with him came and called the council together, with all the elders of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.
Acts 5:29–32 NKJV
But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

A. Obeyed God not Men

They had an unwavering commitment to obeying no matter the consequence
They had said as much to the Sanhedrin earlier when threatened.
Now they were doing it
When confronted, they spoke an only logical defense:
We ought to obey God rather than men!
Remember, these are the same guys who ran for cover in the Garden when Jesus was arrested;
All of the Apostles Were Displaying Great Courage
Remember, when Jesus was arrested in Gethsemane, they had fled in fear
Now they are boldly preaching the Gospel despite being warned against it

B. Preached the word

They proclaimed the gospel
An angel had delivered them and gave them instructions, and now they were following through on it.
They proclaimed Jesus
His death and resurrection
His salvation He gives

C. Rejoiced in suffering

Acts 5:40–42 NKJV
And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.
Instead of being discouraged, they saw it as an opportunity to praise the Lord
It didn’t slow them down, it added fuel to their fire!

3. The Perspective of the Scholar

Acts 5:33–39 NKJV
When they heard this, they were furious and plotted to kill them. Then one in the council stood up, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in respect by all the people, and commanded them to put the apostles outside for a little while. And he said to them: “Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men. For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody. A number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was slain, and all who obeyed him were scattered and came to nothing. After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census, and drew away many people after him. He also perished, and all who obeyed him were dispersed. And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God.”
Gamaliel, and well known and respected teacher of the law stepped up and offered a perspective on this whole scene

A. Other movements had come and gone

He names other failed movements
By giving this history, he put in their minds a softer approach
Logic dictated, that if this was another false movement, it would burn out.

B. Just in case it is God, use caution

If it is of GOD, you cannot overthrow it
He at least allowed the possibility that they might be from God.
He advised them to keep away from the church
let God deal with it
You don’t want to be found to be against God.

APPLICATION:

We must obey God and not men
Like the 1st church, we are called to obey a higher king
Yes, we are to submit to authority in our lives, but if that authority goes against God, God WINS!
God’s most clear indication of His plan for us is found in God’s word
If we live by His word, we may not be popular
we may not have a peaceful life
we may upset those we disobey/live differently from
BUT, if we live by His word, we will please HIM
b. Be prepared to suffer
My prayer is that we never have to go through persecution.
I would hope that we enjoy a good reputation and support from those around us.
BUT: The words Jesus said in John, are still in effect today
He warns us that we will face persecution
Some of brothers and sisters worldwide are in peril even today.
Just last week, Bro. Dalton shared that he is going to a mission field were the very act of sharing the gospel is a crime!
Around the world today Christians are being persecuted for their faith.
More than 70 million Christians have been martyred for their faith since 33 AD.
This year an estimated 160,000 believers will die at the hands of their oppressors and over 200 million will be persecuted, arrested, tortured, beaten or jailed.
In many nations it is illegal to own a Bible, share your faith, change your faith or allow children under 18 to attend a religious service.
Closer to home:
Christians in this nation who have tried to run their businesses in keeping with Biblical principles, have been run out and fined out of business
What was their crime?
not wanting to participate in a religious ceremony which violated their faith.
Their religious liberty was deemed secondary to others rights to coerce them to serve them.
Churches face increasing pressure from even the law.
They are slowly whittling away at our freedoms
If they claim it is political, they try to silence us
They try to narrowly define our role and allow “religious liberty” in less and less we do.
From paying for procedures which go against our faith
TO having to ignore Biblical differences in hiring
They are saying anything outside of preaching, teaching, and worship have NO religious liberty exceptions.
Keep obeying God and stay strong when we suffer. The final lesson I want to apply today is to
c. Keep proclaiming the gospel
Like Paul, let us say:
Romans 1:16 NKJV
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
I don’t think most Christian’s problem in witnessing is inaccuracy in their presentation of the gospel. It is a failure to ever start in the first place!
We have so many resources available to help “package” and present the good news of Jesus.
Tracts, videos, the Bible
A presentation I have heard and often repeated is called the Roman Road. The main benefit of this presentation is that it stays in 1 book.
Our universal problem (all have sinned): Romans 3:23 and Romans 3:10
The wages of sin is death and separation from God: Romans 5:12, Romans 6:23
But God provided a way for our sin to be forgiven and not held against us any longer: Romans 5:8
We personally receive forgiveness and salvation through faith in Jesus Christ: Romans 10:9,10,13
Salvation brings us peace with God: Romans 5:1, Romans 8:1, Romans 8:38-39

Conclusion

This morning, let us follow the example of the first church. Keep obeying God, be strong in the Lord and don’t lose hope when suffering, and keep proclaiming the Gospel.
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