Faithlife Sermons

The Proclaiming Church

What is the Church of Jesus Christ?  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:13:08
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The first church boldly proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ...What about us?!

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I. Introduction

We have been going through our “What is the Church of Jesus Christ?” series where we take a closer look at the foundational aspects of the Church in order to ascertain whether or not we are actually operating in accord with the early church.
Jesus’ Promise of the Church
The Apostolic Gospel
The Body of Christ
The Apostle’s Doctrine (Parts 1 & 2)
What a Fellowship!
The Breaking of Bread
The Praying Church (Parts 1 & 2)
Continuing in our series to see the activities of the first church on and after Pentecost, we find in the book of Acts that the gospel message was regularly proclaimed and shared amongst the people of Jerusalem as well as surrounding areas.
Acts 4:23-31 gives us a clear picture of the kind of gospel proclamation done in the face of threats by the Jewish council against the Apostles.
This passage serves as a shining example of the kind of gospel proclamation inherent in the early church and necessary in the witness of the church today even in the face of opposition and persecution!

II. Context of Acts 4:23-31.

A. Opposition to apostolic gospel proclamation?

Acts 4:1–2 ESV
1 And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, 2 greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

B. What was the persecution?

Acts 4:3 ESV
3 And they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening.

C. the response of the apostles to their Jewish persecutors

Acts 4:8–12 ESV
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, 9 if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, 10 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. 11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 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.”

D. The ultimatum of the Jewish council.

Acts 4:17–18 ESV
17 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.” 18 So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.

E. The response of the Apostles to the council

Acts 4:19–20 ESV
19 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, 20 for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”

F. The final judgment of the Jewish council.

Acts 4:21–22 ESV
21 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. 22 For the man on whom this sign of healing was performed was more than forty years old.

III. The response of the church to the persecution of their leaders. (Acts 4:23-24a)

Acts 4:23–24 ESV
23 When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 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,

IV. The church prayed about their proclamation.

A. The church recognized the sovereignty of God in their proclamation. (Acts 4:24b-28)

1. Creator of all

2. The prophetic speaker and fulfiller of Scripture

3. The Mover, Master Planner and Ultimate Decision Maker

B. The church requested empowerment for their continued proclamation! (Acts 4:29-30)

1. They did not ask for judgment against their opposers but that God would simply “look.”

2. They asked God to grant that they to continue to speak the word with all boldness.

Acts 4:13 ESV
13 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.
Ephesians 6:18–20 ESV
18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

3. They asked that God would continue to go before them authenticating His message by His miracles.

V. God responded to the church’s prayer for their proclamation. (Acts 4:31)

A. The place was shaken.

B. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit.

C. They continued to speak the word of God with all boldness.

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