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Empowered Part 6

Empowered  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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In Acts 4:1-31 we see the disciples praying for boldness and courage in the face of opposition.

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Acts 4:1–31 ESV
And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand. On the next day their rulers and elders and scribes gathered together in Jerusalem, with Annas the high priest and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you 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 is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, 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, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition. But when they had commanded them to leave the council, they conferred with one another, 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. 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.” So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 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, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” 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. For the man on whom this sign of healing was performed was more than forty years old. When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit, “ ‘Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed’— for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

Introduction

Illustration: Duckett interviewing with RTS. Great potential for failure.
How do we face failure? How do we speak to people about Jesus?
Main Idea: We will face opposition when we hold to the inclusive/exclusive name of Jesus so we will need God-given boldness

We will face opposition

We to realize right away that there will be constant opposition to Jesus.
Jesus himself made no bones about this. “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.” ().
So we should not be surprised when we experience even the slightest resistance to the the gospel—to us that are proclaiming the gospel.
they will also persecute you. ().
This opposition will come in many different forms.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.” ().
We’ll see next week that opposition to the gospel can come form right within the church.
This week see opposition coming from outside of the church.
Why? Why is there opposition to Jesus and the message of the gospel?
First of all, proclaiming Jesus as Lord is in direct opposition to people’s gods—whether religious or not. [Jesus is Lord]
Secondly, like here with the Jews, their religion was to be very exclusive. It was only to include one type of people (Jews). So to proclaim Jesus meant to include all nations—all types of people.
This was a direct challenge to their exclusive view of religion
Thirdly, the rest of the wolrd was very religiously pluralisitc. It was ok to beleive it Jesus, but not to claim

Holding to the Inclusive/exclusive name of Jesus

Answer: because we hold to the inclusive and exclusive name of Jesus.
In this passage we see the first opposition to the preaching of Jesus.
It comes from the Jewish leaders who want to know by what authority they are proclaiming the name of Jesus—his death and resurrection.
They were concerned with keeping their status quo of power and status
The gospel will always challenge peoples gods — whether religious or not [Jesus is Lord]
Also their religion was to be very exclusive. It was only to include one type of people (Jews). So to proclaim Jesus meant to include all nations—all types of people.
This was a direct challenge to their exclusive view of religion
The early church would also face opposition in a very religiously pluralistic world.
Don’t proclaim that Jesus alone is Lord. That Jesus is the only way.
This was a direct challenge to their exclusive view of religion
Thirdly, the rest of the wolrd was very religiously pluralisitc. It was ok to beleive it Jesus, but not to claim
First of all, proclaiming Jesus as Lord is in direct opposition to people’s gods—whether religious or not. [Jesus is Lord]

We need God-giving boldness

Notice that the disciples here are noted as being uneducated and unskilled. This is why the leaders are amazed.
They weren’t some kind of biblical super heros. They were regular people.
We also need to realize that these guys must have been terrified.
They were thrown into prison—and were in there all night.
Then they were brought before the power holders of Israel.
If not why are they praying for boldness? Because they must have been tempted to be ashamed of the gospel. Tempted to duck for cover.
Illustration: The temptation that I, myself face. If only I could say it in the right way. If I could just keep relating to people but not mentioning Jesus. Then maybe I won’t face rejection or opposition. We can all just get along.
I think this desire is universal with Christians. Even Peter and the first Christians.
Even Paul himself ()
Even Timothy-- —”Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God.”
— standing firm on the truth of the gospel is essential
Mark 8:38 ESV
For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
Mark 8:37 ESV
For what can a man give in return for his soul?
Mark 8:34–38 ESV
And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
When people are transformed by the gospel (have come to know God, have seen the power and beauty of of Jesus) they will boldly proclaim the name of Jesus right in the face of hell itself.
sHow do we maintain a relentless, uncompromising commitment to the message of the gospel in the face of opposition:
How do we maintain a relentless, uncompromising commitment to the message of the gospel in the face of opposition:
New worldview--God was now in the process of "restoring all things" A high view of God--"God is sovereign and in control" --- not these authorities
New identity -- these guys were not longer just fishermen
Humble Surrender- they had decided to give all for the sake of Christ (quote puritan) --"count all loss"
Mark 8:34–37 ESV
And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?
"Why should you fear to be stripped of that which you have resigned already to Christ? It is the first lesson you learn, if a Christian: to deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow your Master, so that the enemy comes too late. You have no life to lose because you have given it already to Christ, nor can man take away that without God’s leave." --William Gurnall

Conclusion

Illustration: Massai Warrior named Joseph
Unbeliever: Have you received what Jesus has accomplished for you?
Believer:
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