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133: The Church’s Ministry in Jerusalem-Part II

May 15, 2009

Text: Acts 4:1-31

Key Verse: Acts 4:12

Outline:

  1. Peter and John Teach and are Seized                       Acts 4:1-4
  2. Peter and John are Questioned and Warned        Acts 4:5-22
  3. Peter and John Report                                                  Acts 4:23-31

Context/Discussion/Comments:

The people are praising God in the temple courts because a cripple has been healed and they have been convicted by the Holy Spirit regarding their sin, their sin of having their Messiah killed. They now realize that Jesus is alive; He has been resurrected from the dead. Many people believe. The number of believers in Jerusalem now totals 5000 men. The Sanhedrin, who falsely accused and tried Jesus and had Him put to death by the Romans, is disturbed. They had removed Jesus but now they have the very same problem with twelve of His disciples. So at the end of the day they take action by arresting Peter and John and putting them in jail [most likely the same dungeon that Jesus occupied].

Peter and John are meeting with the Sanhedrin but the people are meeting and praising God. The Sanhedrin wants to know by what power they are using to heal a man such as the cripple. Peter and John answer that their power is from Jesus and in the name of Jesus, the same Jesus they crucified. Jesus is the only one who can save. So the problems facing the Sanhedrin have increased twelve fold. They can not comprehend the boldness and intelligence of twelve men whose message is causing people to turn from sin, turn to God, and praise His name. The Sanhedrin decides to use threats to put fear into Peter and John but they became more bold and say they will obey God before they obey them. The cripple was positive evidence of the disciples’ ministry.

Peter and John return to the believers and report what had happened. A spontaneous prayer meeting commences with praise to God. They pray for even greater boldness and greater miracles in order to proclaim Jesus as Messiah. God answers their prayer by giving them another experience up close of being filled with the Holy Spirit. In summary, people are meeting God.

The subjects of this narrative are Peter and John. But from God’s perspective it’s about the people who believe in Jesus, who are praising His name, who are praying for boldness, and who are being filled with the Holy Spirit, His very presence. It’s about the growing His Kingdom to the Glory of God.

We are seeing the devotion of the early Church to the work of Christ. Specifically, the Church was:

  • Devoted to prayer.
  • Devoted to finding a replacement for Judas.
  • Devoted to learning God’s will and obeying the Holy Spirit.
  • Devoted to the Word of God.
  • Devoted to the Apostle’s teaching.
  • Devoted to unity.
  • Devoted to the “breaking of bread”.
  • Devoted to fellowship.
  • Devoted to sharing their wealth.
  • Devoted to praising God.
  • Devoted to boldly preaching repentance and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Lessons/Applications:

  1. “Leaders” today will try to squelch the resurrection truth and other truths such as hell, heaven, virgin birth, creation, the Bible as the Word of God etc. As Christians, we will be challenged about our beliefs from many different fronts. Stand firm in the Lord’s Word and in your experience with Him. Be of Sound Doctrine.
  2. When you are put in a corner because of your beliefs, it helps to have a valid witness on your behalf. In addition to the Holy Spirit, Peter and John had the beggar. We have Christ, the beggar of souls.
  3. Power politics does not work against principles based on the Word of God. Obey His Word above all others’, relying on His powerful witness through the Holy Spirit. Be a Stalwart Witness.
  4. As a Church we must be engaged in “acts of kindness”. Get involved in helping those less fortunate in the name of Jesus. We can not testify of the love of Jesus without showing that the love of Jesus exists and is real. Be an Angel of Mercy.
  5. Praise God continually for all He has done in and through your life. Remember to pray for Christ’s special messengers, for their boldness and for their ministry. Prayer is a priority. Prayer is the forerunner/precursor of His miracles. Be a Prayer Warrior.
  6. Willingly recommit so the Lord can re-commission.Be a Faithful Servant.

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