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When Your Government Is Ungodly - Part 2

The Book of Acts  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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What should we do when our government is ungodly? 1. Spend more time with our Savior (vs. 13). 2. Always choose God over government (vs. 14-20). 3. Keep speaking about our Savior (vs. 20). 4. Keep giving glory to God (vs. 21-22).

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When Your Government Is Ungodly - Part 2

Acts 4:13-22

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - July 21, 2013

BACKGROUND:

*Tonight we continue to follow up on the great miracle that took place at the beginning of Acts 3. Peter and John were on their way to the Temple to pray, and they encountered a beggar who had been lame for all of his life. The man asked for money, and in Acts 3:6-9:

6. Then Peter said, "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.''

7. And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.

8. So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them walking, leaping, and praising God.

9. And all the people saw him walking and praising God.

*The great crowd of people in the Temple was filled with wonder over this miracle. And Peter gave all the glory to God, as he began to preach about the Lord Jesus Christ. Peter talked about the cross and the wonderful good news of Christ's resurrection. Acts 4:4 tells us that 5,000 men were saved that day, when they believed in the Lord!

*But these things caused such a stir that the rulers of the Temple had Peter and John arrested. The next day, they put these two Apostles on trial. And Acts 4:8-12 tells us:

8. Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers of the people and elders of Israel:

9. If we this day are judged for a good deed done to the helpless man, by what means he has been made well,

10. 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.

11. This is the 'stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.'

12. Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.''

*With this background in mind, let's see what happened next as we read Acts 4:13-22.

INTRODUCTION:

*In this chapter, Peter and John faced a group of Christ-rejecting rulers. At this point, their hostility was obvious and threatening. But due to the undeniable miracle, their hostility was still restrained. That sounds eerily like the top tier of our federal government today (much of it anyway).

*They openly support ungodly policies, such as same-sex marriage and abortion. They harshly criticize people who oppose ungodly policies. They compel Christian-owned companies to offer abortion coverage in their insurance. And through agencies such as the IRS, they have begun to use the strong arm of the government to intimidate and silence their critics.

*It may not seem real, but it is real, and it is definitely getting worse. So, what should we do when our government is ungodly?

1. First: Spend more time with our Savior.

*This is the crucial truth we find in vs. 13, where Luke gave this report: "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."

*I like the way the KJV puts vs. 13: "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus."

*There was nothing special at all about Peter and John, except for one thing: They had been with the Lord! Peter and John had been totally transformed by the Lord Jesus Christ.

*They had the talk of faith, but they also had the walk.

-They were ordinary men, but they were doing extraordinary things.

-They were supposed to be ignorant, but they had the wisdom of God.

-They were supposed to be scared to death, but they had great courage.

*What made the difference? -- They had been with Jesus. And it was so evident that even the rulers could see it. When we spend time with Jesus, it shows.

*And Jesus Christ is always with us. But the truth is that we are not always with Him. The good news is that right now, tonight, we can start spending more time with Him.

*The first step is to trust in the Lord. We have to believe what the Bible says about God loving us in spite of our sins. We have to believe that Jesus came into the world to die on the cross for our sins. We have to believe that Jesus rose from the dead. And we have to believe that Jesus will save us, if we will turn away from sin and trust Him as Lord and Savior.

*God surely forgives our sins and saves us when we put our faith in Jesus, but this is not just a one-time decision. It's the beginning of a lifetime commitment. God wants us to spend time with Him, and fellowship with Him every day. God wants us to draw closer and closer to Him, walking with Him every day.

*Nobody is standing still in life. Every day we are either getting closer to God or farther away. We are either getting better or worse. God wants our lives to be headed in the right direction. This can only happen when we are walking with Him. So Micah 6:8 asks, "What does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?"

2. What should we do when our government is ungodly? -- Seek to spend more time with Jesus. -- And always choose God over government.

*In vs. 14-20, Peter and John took a rock-solid stand for the Lord Jesus Christ:

14. And seeing the man who had been 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, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.

*These men remind us of the worst politicians in our government today. They weren't concerned about doing the right thing. They really wanted to do the wrong thing, but they put their finger to the wind. They sort of took a poll to see if they could get away with it. And when they realized that they couldn't get away with it:

17. 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.''

18. And they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.

19. 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.

20. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.''

*Christians: We must strive to be like Peter and John. As hard as it may be, we must always choose God over government. Government should always be subservient to Jesus Christ. His wisdom is always supreme. And His judgment is always final. No matter how much we love our country, no matter how much we respect our government, we must never put government over God. When the government tells us to disobey God, we should disobey the government.

*A good Old Testament example is in Exodus 1:15-17, where Pharaoh ordered the Hebrew midwives to kill baby boys. Listen to it from the New Living translation:

15. Then Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, gave this order to the Hebrew midwives, Shiphrah and Puah:

16. "When you help the Hebrew women give birth, kill all the boys as soon as they are born. Allow only the baby girls to live."

17. But because the midwives feared God, they refused to obey the king and allowed the boys to live, too.

*Yes, in Matthew 22:21 Jesus said, "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." But God always goes over government. We should respect government whenever possible, and resist government whenever necessary. But we must always put God over government.

*Christians, we have to take a stand for the Lord, even when it is hard. And it has been getting harder for a good long while. Here are some examples that stood out to me over the years:

*In 2003, Brenda Nichol was working as a teacher's aide in Glen Campbell, Pennsylvania, and that year Brenda was suspended for a year, without pay, for wearing a necklace with a cross. At the time the Pennsylvania public school code prohibited employees from wearing religious symbols. For years Brenda had been told not to wear the cross, and that she could be fired for another offense, but she was willing to pay the price. (1)

*In October of 2004, Donna Busch accepted an invitation to visit her son's kindergarten class at Culbertson Elementary in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania. Donna's son, Wesley, was the featured student for "All About Me." That was a school event to showcase a student's personal characteristics, preferences and personality.

*During "All About Me," a child's parent could read aloud from the student's favorite book. Wesley chose the Bible, and his mom planned to read from Psalm 118. But when Donna got ready to read from the Bible, Wesley's teacher told her not to do so until the principal could determine whether it would be acceptable.

*The principal "informed Mrs. Busch that she could not read from the Bible in the classroom because it was against the law and that the reading would violate the 'separation of church and state.'" Then school administrators offered Wesley's mother an opportunity to read from a book about witches, witchcraft and Halloween. She declined the invitation. (2)

*In 2009, a 7-year-old second grade student from Oakley, CA was told that she couldn't sing in her school's talent show, because she wanted to sing a Christian song. Little Bette Ouellette's dad took this travesty to a Christian group that stands up for our freedom of speech, but she was not allowed to sing her song. (3)

*This year, the Christian-owned company Hobby Lobby has been fighting an Obamacare mandate. This mandate requires companies to cover abortion-inducing drugs in their employee health insurance. Last Friday, a federal appeals court granted Hobby Lobby a preliminary injunction against the Obamacare mandate. The ruling temporarily prevents the government from enforcing the mandate against this Christian company, so for now, they are protected from paying a fine of $1.3 million a day.

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is representing Hobby Lobby, considers the ruling to be a major victory, but the Justice Department has until Sept. 25th to appeal the ruling, and I will be shocked if they don't.

*But Hobby Lobby is taking a strong stand for the Lord, and they are not alone. According to the Becket Fund there are currently 63 lawsuits challenging the Obamacare mandate. (4)

*Brenda Nichol, Donna Busch, Bette Ouellette's dad and those 63 companies were all willing to stand up for Jesus. And God calls on us to do the same. Peter and John were never sorry for obeying the Lord. And at the end of the day, we will always be glad we did what the Lord told us to do.

3. What should we do when our government is ungodly? -- Always choose God over government. -- And keep speaking about our Savior.

*As Peter and John said in vs. 20: "We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.'' In other words: "We don't have a choice. We have to tell people about Jesus. It is impossible for us to keep quiet about Jesus!"

*The sad truth is that 99 percent of Christians today cannot say what Peter and John here. We've got a long way to go.

*Some years ago, seminary professor Alvin Reid gave an assignment to his students. They were to share their Christian testimony with three other people.

*A few days later, one of the students gave his report to Professor Reid, and the student said, "One of the people I talked to was my neighbor for seven years. He calls himself an atheist, but he listened politely as I gave my testimony to him. And I said, 'This is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me!'"

*"What happened?" asked Dr. Reid. The students broke down in tears as he sadly said, "My neighbor asked me this question: 'If Jesus Christ is the greatest thing that has ever happened to you, why has it taken you seven years to tell me?'" How many people could ask the same question to you and me? (5)

4. What should we do when our government is ungodly? -- Keep speaking about our Savior (or rather start speaking about our Savior). -- And keep giving glory to God.

*Twice Peter had already given to glory to God for this miraculous healing. There was no doubt that the credit belonged to God. One the day of the healing in Acts 3:11-16:

11. Now as the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch which is called Solomon's, greatly amazed.

12. So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: "Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?

13. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go.

14. But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,

15. and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses.

16. And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all."

*Then the next day, during the trial in Acts 4:8-12 says:

8. Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers of the people and elders of Israel:

9. If we this day are judged for a good deed done to the helpless man, by what means he has been made well,

10. 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.

11. This is the 'stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.'

12. Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.''

*Peter gave the glory to God. And now here in vs. 21-22, we see the people giving glory to God:

21. 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.

22. For the man was over forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.

*One important truth to notice here is that giving glory to God is contagious. It started with Peter. Then it spread to all of the new believers and beyond. When we give glory to God, other people will give glory to God. Maybe a lot more people will glorify the Lord.

*But also think about the man who was healed. Think about him living up in Heaven today. Do you think he is giving more glory to God because his legs were healed? -- Or because he was saved by the cross of Jesus Christ?

*Christians, we won't always see miraculous healings like this man received. But we always have more than enough reasons to give glory to God! And best of all, we have the cross!

CONCLUSION:

*So what should we do when our government is ungodly?

-Seek to spend more time with Jesus.

-Always choose God over government.

-Keep speaking about our Savior.

-And keep giving glory to God.

*You will always be glad you did.

*Let's give Him glory right now, as we go to God in prayer.

(1) Sources:

SermonCentral illustration contributed by Tom Doubt

"No Crosses Allowed" - AP - April 23, 2003 - Found in www.sbclife.org - June, 2003 - SBC Mosaic

(2) "Principal Bans Bible, Suggests Book About Witches - Supremes urged to review 'kindergarten cop' case - September 10, 2009 - 9:20 am Eastern - WorldNetDaily - http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=109446)

(3) BRAVE NEW SCHOOLS - WorldNetDaily Exclusive - Sorry, no Christian talent allowed - 7-year-old blocked from using religious song in sign language performance - Posted: June 13, 2009 - 12:05 am Eastern - By Drew Zahn - http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=100917

(4) http://dailycaller.com/2013/07/19/hobby-lobby-wins-preliminary-injunction-against-contraception-mandate/

(5) Original source unknown, but see http://alvinreid.com/

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