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Counted worthy!

Witness to the world: Book of Acts  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  48:03
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Persecution, don’t be surprised by it.

Persecution previously brought unity, prayer, specific prayer, prayer for boldness. It can do the same in us.
(Pray for boldness picture inserted here)
Apostles brought on religious leaders to be greatly disturbed (Act4:1-2)
Captain of the temple, the Sadducees were greatly disturbed at the preaching of Jesus and He resurrected.
Religious leaders bring on threats (Act4:18-22)
They were commanded, not to preach, speak the name and authority of Jesus
Threats led to bold action
Acts 4:19–20 NASB95
19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; 20 for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
Threats and proclamation let to release and:
Threats lead to praise and prayers (Act5:23, 29)
Then went to where the others were and they praised God
They prayed asking to be able to speak with boldness. Hold on, I need to read that verse.
Acts 4:29 NKJV
29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word,
Prayers result, boldness (Act4:31)
Well the end result of the threats, proclamation, release, and prayers was answered prayer
Well this is such an awesome verse
Acts 4:31 NASB95
31 And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.
(transition) can our prayers of boldness today shake things up? Shake things up right where we are at? - this evening we are going to look at persecution continues and the apostles outlook they are counted worthy of the persecution. But here is how it is broken down
Simple outline for tonight’s lesson
Man imprisons, God sets free (Act5:17-21)
Godly men stand before worldly men (Act5:21-33)
Sage advise given and taken (Act5:34-39)
Apostles count themselves worthy (Act5:40-42)

Man imprisons; God sets free

Freed with a charge. The Apostles are taken, imprisoned, set free by an angel of the lord and charged with preaching to the people (Act5:17-21).
Our first part of passage
Acts 5:17–18 NASB95
17 But the high priest rose up, along with all his associates (that is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy. 18 They laid hands on the apostles and put them in a public jail.
Acts 5:19–20 NASB95
19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the gates of the prison, and taking them out he said, 20 “Go, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of this Life.”
Acts 5:21 NASB95
21 Upon hearing this, they entered into the temple about daybreak and began to teach. Now when the high priest and his associates came, they called the Council together, even all the Senate of the sons of Israel, and sent orders to the prison house for them to be brought.
So what we have here is
Imprisoned by the high priest and Sadducees (Act5:17-18; Act4:1-2, 18, 21)
We know that the High Priest and the Sadducees had previously been greatly disturbed the by the proclamation of power of Jesus name and the resurrection from the dead.
They had been imprisoned, threaten and released and commanded, well, that did not last for long did it?
Freed by God through angel of the Lord (Act5:19-21; Heb1:14)
God has a plan and has many agents to carry out the plan. In this case it is an angel who in scripture is called ministering servants.
(not on a slide, just read the verse)
Hebrews 1:14 NASB95
14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?
Angel freed them at night and brought them out and told them, get back to work (v.20)
And they did, entering the temple in the early morning (v.21)
(Transition) - Well it was not long, a matter of hours that they are back in custody, again and they are standing before the council again!

Godly men stand before worldly men.

We know one day we will stand before the Lord, but there may be days when we stand before the world because we are disciples of Jesus. Look at the progression and the apostles response.
Acts 5:21 NASB95
21 Upon hearing this, they entered into the temple about daybreak and began to teach. Now when the high priest and his associates came, they called the Council together, even all the Senate of the sons of Israel, and sent orders to the prison house for them to be brought.
Acts 5:22–23 NASB95
22 But the officers who came did not find them in the prison; and they returned and reported back, 23 saying, “We found the prison house locked quite securely and the guards standing at the doors; but when we had opened up, we found no one inside.”
Acts 5:24–25 NASB95
24 Now when the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests heard these words, they were greatly perplexed about them as to what would come of this. 25 But someone came and reported to them, “The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!”
Acts 5:26–27 NASB95
26 Then the captain went along with the officers and proceeded to bring them back without violence (for they were afraid of the people, that they might be stoned). 27 When they had brought them, they stood them before the Council. The high priest questioned them,
Acts 5:28–29 NASB95
28 saying, “We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” 29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.
Acts 5:30–31 NASB95
30 “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. 31 “He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
Acts 5:32–33 NASB95
32 “And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.” 33 But when they heard this, they were cut to the quick and intended to kill them.
Councils empty call (Act5:21-23; Pro16:9)
So morning has broken and the council calls for the apostles to be brought from prison to stand before them.
Lo and behold, they are not there, they were gone, even though there was guards posted outside, hum, wait, sound familiar?
The world could have a plan, but God executes the steps.
Return to face the council (Act5:24-26)
So they find the apostles pretty quick, back at work in the temple proclaiming Jesus, the exact thing that the religious leaders disturbed and had them imprisoned before.
They did not run away, they did not hide, they had a commission a command and they were going to do it.
When they were taken back into custody, it was peacefully for the fear of the people that could cause an uprising (v.16)
Authoritative command previously issued recited (Act5:27-28)
Acts 5:27–28 NASB95
27 When they had brought them, they stood them before the Council. The high priest questioned them, 28 saying, “We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.”
It was not really a question was it? It was a statement.
All this was a set up for what they apostles were going to do next
A bold response and proclamation (Act5:29-33; Lk24:47)
Acts 5:29 NASB95
29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.
Better we obey God than man! That is what got them in trouble before, threatened before and their stance did not change.
May we we people who can do the same, regardless of situation or circumstance stand our stand for Jesus even when it is not popular or even accepted!
Then there is history given again, yep, another sermon in short preached.
Acts 5:30–31 NASB95
30 “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. 31 “He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
Acts 5:32 NASB95
32 “And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.”
This Jesus whom you had murdered, God raised from the dead (Act5:30)
This Jesus God raised, God has exalted
This Jesus God raise, God exalted to be both Prince and Savior!
Prince and Savior to give peace to Israel, by the way, I’m sure you know by now, they, in large, rejected. but here is a verse to consider for it started with Jerusalem and was to go out from there.
Luke 24:47 NASB95
47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
Hey, we were witnesses of these things(v.32)
Witnesses we may not have witnessed the Christ, been there when the wages of the sins of the world were put on his shoulders as He carried the Roman cross. We may not have heard the hammer on the nails being driven into his body. May not have been there when the world was shaken and the graves gave up the dead, or when the tomb was empty on the Lord’s day, on resurrection Sunday. We did not witness the resurrected Christ or have breakfast on the beach with Him, we were not there when He ascended into the clouds. But we are witnesses by faith of the power of God displayed that the apostles are boldly proclaiming.
(Transition) The council wanted to kill them, to stop the spread of the gospel, but God brings a man, a wise man with some sage advise, much like Nicodemus in Jesus day who was good and fair. You can read about that in Jn3:1-2, Jn7:50-51 and Jn18:38-39, those are not noted in your outline, I just had them scribbled in my notes.

Sage advise given and taken

Sage advise is wise advise that comes from a respected source and like Nicodemus, Gamaliel is wise and understands the power of God and nothing can stop it if it is of God.
Acts 5:34 NASB95
34 But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the Law, respected by all the people, stood up in the Council and gave orders to put the men outside for a short time.
We know he is a Pharisee, a teacher, respected and obeyed (Act5:34; Act22:3)
Yep, this is a Gamaliel that Paul trained under
Acts 22:3 NASB95
3 “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated under Gamaliel, strictly according to the law of our fathers, being zealous for God just as you all are today.
Caution stated (Act5:35)
Acts 5:35 NASB95
35 And he said to them, “Men of Israel, take care what you propose to do with these men.
History given so caution understood (Act5:36-37)
Acts 5:36 NASB95
36 “For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a group of about four hundred men joined up with him. But he was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing.
Man rose up before claiming to be of God along with a cast of about 400 and it did not end well and the movement went nowhere
Acts 5:37 NASB95
37 “After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census and drew away some people after him; he too perished, and all those who followed him were scattered.
Then there was Judas of Galilee, by the way this is not Judas Iscariot, Judas was a common name then, but well, hey, bet you not a very common name today. This uprising fizzled out too.
(transition) - so a warning issued, watch out, a reason given, history so now comes the advise.
Here is the sage advise (Act5:38-39)
Acts 5:38–39 NASB95
38 “So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; 39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God.”
Do nothing! Leave them alone and it will end the same for them as the others if it is of man, and well, if it is of God we cannot stop it for you maybe fighting against God if you try.
(Transition) - So here we have this Pharisee, teacher of the law, who had wisdom offering some sage advice that spared the life of the apostles, well, at least on this occasion. But wait there is more.

Apostles count themselves worthy!

So all things considered, sage advise given, taken, but not without a consequence and a command. Which, surprise leads to another proclamation!
Acts 5:40 NKJV
40 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.
Advise given, advise taken but first there was the command given after a beating (Act5:40; Act4:17-18).
Similar to what was commanded in act4, they were commanded not to preach, teach, speak the name of Jesus.
Apostles reaction (Act5:41-42; Mt5:10-12)
Acts 5:41 NASB95
41 So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name.
Counted worthy, they left rejoicing
Again, another similiarity to what Jesus said in sermon on the mount
Matthew 5:10–11 NASB95
10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.
Matthew 5:12 NASB95
12 “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
They were not going to stop, nor should we, regardless of what we face, and we will face things, right now not to the extreme they did, but we may one day, and we should not be surprised by it. Look what they did
Acts 5:42 NASB95
42 And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.
So, keep on keeping on, don’t stop for today is the day of salvation. You just maybe the person who opens the door for someone to respond to the gospel.
Where it started with persecution it end up in proclamation, praise and continued preaching. We have a great biblical example what to do if we are ever persecuted because of our faith!
Just a couple of scriptures for your consideration before we close
Romans 5:3–4 NASB95
3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;
Apply exaltation in tribulation for that end in hope for the believer.
1 Peter 3:14 NASB95
14 But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled,
If you suffer for righteousness sake, you are blessed!
James 1:2–3 NKJV
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
James 1:4 NKJV
4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
suffering, trials have it;s place so that we may be perfect, complete and lacking nothing!
(Encouragement slide - Trials form you picture) - trials are to form you not break you, know you are equipped to weather through the storms, overcomer the trials and be joyful in the tribulation if you are in Christ Jesus! (encouragement slide-2 Born again-3 picture inserted here) be born again! Pray, close
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