Welcome Home everyone
I pray that everyone had a great 4th as we celebrated God’s grace over our nation.
Today we are entering Acts Chapter 4. We are about to see the response of the religious leadership in Jerusalem regarding the Peter and John preaching about the how the lame man was healed by the name of Jesus.
My big idea for the day is that our lives would reflect the resurrected Christ. My prayer for us today is that be hearing this message together we would remain focused on the message of Jesus Christ and not be distracted by the things of this world. If you have your Bibles today you can join me in Acts chapter4, verse 1.
The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. 2 They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. 3 They seized Peter and John and, because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. 4 But many who heard the message believed; so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand.Acts 4:1-4
In order to help me share with you today, I have separated my thoughts into 2 sections or points.
POINT #1: We Must Not Miss the Opportunity for Faith
The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. 2 They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.Acts 4:1-2
The priests with their temple guards represent a conflict of authority. They had jurisdiction of the law of Moses and therefore, they wielded the power of the temple police to enforce their authority. The Sadducees represent a religious sect that denies the supernatural, specifically any type of resurrection. Peter and John have been empowered by the Holy Spirit and have been made witnesses of Jesus Christ, His resurrection, and the supernatural work of Christ through His Holy Spirit. As a result of being in a usable position, Peter and John took full advantage of the opportunity for ministry. The Holy Spirit made a spectacle of the situation where the priests should have engaged the disabled man, they should have engaged the crowd and they should have engaged in the worship of God that resulted from the miracle and Peter’s message. Instead, the priests were too concerned with demonstrating their authority. The Sadducees were too concerned with dogmatic disbelief/doctrinal disbelief.
Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”John 3:1-2
Nicodemus makes some confessions: He recognizes Jesus as Rabbi/teacher, He recognizes his education and his position. Then he makes a statement about the Sanhedrin/the same ruling council in which Peter and John now appear.Nicodemus says this,
He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”John 3:2
They knew Jesus was sent by God, yet they missed the opportunity for faith. In our text the people are coming to faith and being healed and renewed by the Holy Spirit and worshiping God, yet for what ever reason they find they find themselves in opposition to the work of God in Christ Jesus.
Today we must not miss the opportunity for faith.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.Hebrews 11:1
In this faith is a specific trust that Jesus Christ is going to do and or complete the things he promised in His word. As this trust takes hold it causes us to move or act in accordance with faith. Remember James?
James Chapter 2 reminds us that belief is not enough Even the demons believe, but that authentic faith or trust in Christ will produce action.
We must not miss these opportunities for Faith
I’ll move on to my next point.
POINT #2: We Must Not Allow Circumstances to Rule Our Faith.
They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. 3 They seized Peter and John and, because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. 4 But many who heard the message believed; so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand.Act 4:2-4
What do I mean about circumstances ruling our faith? Many peripheral things can prevent us from acting in our belief. Fear can play a role. What others might think? Persecution? Peter and John were jailed. They had just witnessed the priests turn Jesus over for Roman crucifixion. Peter and John knew the type of evil for which the Sanhedrin was capable. They also knew that it was probably going to get worse before it got better.
Here the rub! The main point of conflict with Peter and John was that everything that Jesus has told them was coming true. Their expectation of the kingdom of God and Jesus’ return was eminent. They expected Jesus any day. They were determined to meet him in glory. They feared the Lord in that they would rather be found obedient to the risen Lord than be obedient to the priests even upon pain of torment and death.
Today, we have been faced with scoffers, mockers, sickness, political pressure, & we’ve been called mentally ill, just to name a few. I even received an email where I was told that mask mandates were biblical, and I wasn’t following the Bible. But all of that is just noise in light of the power of the Holy Spirit and the eminence of Christ return. Prophetically, there is nothing else that needs to happen before the rapture. We must resist the temptation to focus on the things of this world, rather on the holiness of God, His kingdom, and His righteousness. We have been distracted by the noise of woke culture and we need to return to repentance. Jesus’ message was focused on the kingdom of God and repentance. Faith that brings new life. That we would be born again. As a result of Peter’s confession of the resurrection of Christ thousands more were added the church.
I’ll close with this.
We must not miss our opportunities for faith, and we should see that faith in light of the power of the Holy Spirit and the eminence of Christ return.
He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”Matthew 17:20
Will you join me as we seek an authentic relationship united in Christ and each other? Rejecting division, embracing God’s reality in Jesus, and encouraging one another. It’s just between you and God. Here’s the thing, if we love God and abide in Christ, we will find ourselves more and more loving each other. You will we more and you will love better. We will experience God in spirit and in truth and we will share that amongst each other. Share all the ways God has shown you mercy and grace. Will you allow the Holy Spirit to stir faith in someone through your testimony? Would you join me as the Holy Spirit moves on us to be unified in the spirit of Christ? These are the kingdom values. This is truly the work of God. The intentional actions of the body of Christ. Remember the devil seeks only to kill steal and destroy. Steal your freedom, kill your joy, and destroy your destiny for hope and love. But God has a plan! He’s stealing from your neighbor, your family, and your loved ones today.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16
Jesus, He’s the Son of the living God, and we can receive from Him today His Righteousness, His purpose and His calling. Will you call on him today? Your salvation/forgiveness is just one prayer away. Will you trust in his ability to do what He said He would do? Will you believe today? Many of you need a fresh touch from God today. Is there some form of unbelief or a fracture of trust as it relates to God in your life today? God wants to redeem and restore those areas of your life? He wants to restore Joy and hope for you today. You’re hearing this now and the Holy Spirit has brought someone or something to mind. He wants to speak life into this today. He wants to bring healing in this area today. There are areas of deep regret when it comes to your relationship with God and you have rejected Christ as your savior …It’s not too late. It’s not too late to humble yourself before him today, hold out your arms and open your hands to receive from him today. Will you say yes to Jesus, today? Will you bow your heads with me? Some of you already know the Lord, but maybe he’s put something on your heart that you need to deal with, you need to ask his forgiveness today. If that’s you will you just acknowledge that to him today. This is just you and God here. Now someone here may not have that relationship with Jesus and today you’ve felt him tugging at your heart, you’ve been hurt, and you’re guarded, I know. Jesus is here and wants set things right in your life. If you’ll say Pastor, I want Jesus to be my Lord and savior. Remember, it’s just you and God here. Will you pray with me today, We’ll pray here as a family and you can repeat after me?
Jesus, I know that I’m a sinner. I ask you today for your forgiveness. I believe that you died for my sins and on that 3rd day, you rose from the dead. I ask you to come into my heart today. I trust and follow you as my Lord and savior. Guide me and help me to do your will. In Jesus’ name Amen.
“‘“The Lord bless youNumbers 6:24-26
and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’