17 The high priest and his officials, who were Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. 18 They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. 19 But an angel of the Lord came at night, opened the gates of the jail, and brought them out. Then he told them, 20 “Go to the Temple and give the people this message of life!”
21 So at daybreak the apostles entered the Temple, as they were told, and immediately began teaching.
When the high priest and his officials arrived, they convened the high council—the full assembly of the elders of Israel. Then they sent for the apostles to be brought from the jail for trial. 22 But when the Temple guards went to the jail, the men were gone. So, they returned to the council and reported, 23 “The jail was securely locked, with the guards standing outside, but when we opened the gates, no one was there!”
24 When the captain of the Temple guard and the leading priests heard this, they were perplexed, wondering where it would all end. 25 Then someone arrived with startling news: “The men you put in jail are standing in the Temple, teaching the people!”
26 The captain went with his Temple guards and arrested the apostles, but without violence, for they were afraid the people would stone them. 27 Then they brought the apostles before the high council, where the high priest confronted them. 28 “We gave you strict orders never again to teach in this Man’s Name!” he said. “Instead, you have filled all Jerusalem with your teaching about Him, and you want to make us responsible for His death!”
29 But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than any human authority. 30 The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead after you killed Him by hanging Him on a cross. 31 Then God put Him in the place of honor at His Right Hand as Prince and Savior. He did this so the people of Israel would repent of their sins and be forgiven. 32 We are witnesses of these things and so is the Holy Spirit, Who is given by God to those who obey Him.”
“Do You Want to Know
And to Do God’s Will?”
Do You Understand,
To BE Of the Ones
Who Come to Jesus,
And Claim Him to Be Their Savior and Lord,
Through This - We ALL Join Jesus
In His Mission to Reconcile a Lost World?
You SEE –
GOD HIMSELF Cause You
to BE a Faithful Servant.
Has far more in Store for Your Life
Then You Just Doing
Something for Him.
He Wants YOU To Experience
An Intimate LOVE Relationship
That is REAL and PERSONAL!
“This is Eternal Life,
That they may know You,
The Only True God,
And Jesus Christ
Whom You Have Sent.”
The Very Heart of Eternal Life
Is For You to KNOW GOD
o And to KNOW Jesus Christ
§ Whom He Has Sent.
You See - Knowing God Does Not Come Through
Or A Method.
Comes Through a
HAVING A Relationship with GOD!
But How Does This Work?
It Is through this LOVING Relationship, Where:
God Reveals Himself,
And He Invites You to Join Him
Where He Is Already at Work.
And Then - When you Obey,
God Accomplishes Through You
Something Which ONLY He Can Do.
That IS WHEN You come to KNOW GOD
In a More Intimate Way
By and Through Experiencing God
At Work Through You!
Do You See –
It Is In What We Do -
And Doing It –
Where God Is At Work -
That Is HOW –
We Grow In God.
This Is KEY
Within Our Own Lives
As We Reflect
The Lives of the Disciples.
"WE MUST OBEY
RATHER THAN MEN!"
That is the theme
Of our Scripture for Today
Of this Whole Section of Acts,
It Should Be More Than Just That!
IF We Are of GOD -
Then - It HAS TO BE -
The Theme of Our Entire Lives!
Let’s Check It Out!
YOU SEE - After the Resurrection of Jesus,
The Holy Spirit
Was Sweeping through Jerusalem
Like a Whorl-Wind on Steroids!
God the Holy Spirit
Is Giving His Power Out
Permitting Peter, James, and John
And all the other followers of Jesus:
To Convert the Multitudes!
And To Speak Boldly of the Truth!
And As a Result
The Entire Jerusalem
Was in - an Uproar!
And It Was Because Of This Movement,
The Apostles were Repeatedly
Hauled before the Sanhedrin!
They Were Taken -
Before The High Court!
Brought In Front
Jewish Religious Leaders!
And the Political Council!
Now – Just as a Side Note:
The Council or The Sanhedrin
Were made up of:
Those Who - Just Happened to be in power
As the Leaders of the Community
At That Particular Moment.
And It Was During This Time:
When Their Members Consisted Of:
The High Priest,
And His Family Members,
Various Other Rulers,
And The Pharisees.
They much acted like
OUR JUDICIAL – SUPREME - COURT.
The Duties of the Council were to:
Interpret and Guard
The Jewish Way of Life.
And Their LAW.
You SEE – It Was the Sanhedrin Council
Who Judged Jesus
And Delivered Him over to Pilate
And it was the Sanhedrin Council Who:
The Followers of Jesus
For Their Teachings and Activities.
And it is here,
Within the Book of Acts,
We Find that this Council
Being Rather Busy.
Let’s just take a quick look
What is Going On.
#1 - PETER AND JOHN HEALED A MAN
Who Was Beside the Beautiful Gate in Jerusalem.
And it Was Well Know
That This Man had been lamed from birth.
And – At This Moment of Healing,
This Man was 40 years old.
And Then as A Result of this Healing
Peter and John had to
Explain to the Council
As Well As To the Onlookers
Of What POWER they had Used
To Do This Healing. (Acts 3-4).
And as a Result of Peter’s Reply,
The Council Gave Them Strict Orders:
"To not speak
Nor teach - at all -
in the name of Jesus Christ"
But – What Did the Apostles Do?
They Went Out
And Preached Openly!
And It Says That They Did This
"WITH GREAT POWER!"
Giving "Their testimony to the
Resurrection of the Lord Jesus"
And What Was the Results of Doing This?
There Were Crowds of People
And held the Disciples
In High Esteem!
Within Great Reverence!
And In Total Admiration!
There were Multitudes Added
To the followers of Jesus.
And Jerusalem was Flooded
With Sick People,
All of them, wanting to be Healed.
There were so many that the streets
Were crowded with the beds
And of pallets
Of the Lame and Diseased
But This Time,
They Have Just Gone Too Far!!!
The Sanhedrin Blows Their Top
And They Do Not Hesitate!
They Throw the Apostles into Prison!
But that is not the End of This Story!
An angel of the Lord -
Opens the prison doors -
And sets them free.
BUT – There Is More!
The Angel Delivers a Message to them.
He Gives Them A Command
To Go And Stand In The Temple
And Speak to the People,
ALL OF THE WORDS OF LIFE.
AND - Once again,
The apostles are brought before the council,
And that Brings Us
To our Text for this morning.
The High Priest
Questions the Christians,
Just as he questioned Jesus.
The Apostles were Strictly Charged
(Meaning Strictly Told or Commanded)
That They Were NOT To
Teach in Christ's Name,
EVER – AGAIN!
The High Priest Says,
‘And Now –
You Have Not Only Brought
In The Crowds to Jerusalem,
But You Have Now
Accused The Council
Of Killing Jesus!
But - Rather than making excuses,
Peter and the other Apostles
Gave Testimony of Supporting That Claim!
Peter Went on and Exclaimed -
That God has Exalted Jesus
To the Position of Power
On His Right Hand as Leader and Savior,
Giving Forgiveness to Israel.
Now I don’t know about you
If you have ever had the opportunity
To Stand Up and Admit what you have done
Knowing that it Will Lead to Punishment,
Or to Lie and Try to Get Out of It.
But With Peter and the others
Not Only Doing what they were Accused of,
And Not Only - Openly Admitting It,
But OPENLY BROADCASTING IT!
Enrages the Sanhedrin!
They Want Blood!!!
‘Sentence the Apostles to Death!!!’
But - Fortunately,
There Was a Faithful Pharisee There
And Saved the Apostles
From Being Killed.
However - They DID NOT Escape Punishment Entirely.
They are Beaten
And-Then - They Were Released.
But To Only Go on
Right Back to Preaching And Teaching.
The Apostles Said:
"We must obey God rather than men."
And Within That,
Nothing Can or Will Stop Them
From Witnessing For The Lord.
But What About Us?
What About You?
I Am Totally Convinced
That When We Leave This World,
We Will Stand Before the Christ Almighty
And He Will Ask Us, that is Me and You:
“What have you done for Me
with using the gifts that I have given you
and the time which I have given you?
With you following Me
and through Us working together,
how many others have come to Me?”
It is not about our sins.
Our Sins are Forgiven
Within Our True Remorse
And Through True Forgiving of all Others.
That is a given.
The Closer We Get to The Lord,
The More We Will Refrain from Sinning
Simply Because Of Our Desire
To Be with Him.
So, It Has Nothing to Do with Our Sins.
And It Is Only in This World Where
THAT GOD GIVES US TALENTS AND TIME.
So – How are you using yours?
On a Grade of 10,
10 Being the Highest,
And 1 Being the Lowest,
So, HOW ARE YOU DOING?
WHAT GRADE WOULD GOD GIVE YOU?
10? 8? 5? 0?
IF Your Score is Below 8,
Then Please, Ask Yourself,
WHO ARE YOU FOLLOWING?
25:19 “After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money. 20 The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of silver came forward with five more and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags of silver to invest, and I have earned five more.’
21 “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’
22 “The servant who had received the two bags of silver came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags of silver to invest, and I have earned two more.’
23 “The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’
24 “Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. 25 I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’
26 “But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, 27 why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’
28 “Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver. 29 To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. 30 Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
Our Scripture for Today,
Gives Us Much To think About.
It Is Quite Clear
That Religious Administrators
And the Direction Which they are Leading,
Yes – It May Be the Wrong Way.
They Too – Can Get It Wrong.
The Church Receives So Many Directions
To Follow from The "Higher Ups,"
And These Directions May Be Wise,
Or They May Be Unwise.
The Question becomes:
How Do We Judge Them?
Should The Directions of the Church Executives
Or Should They Be Ignored?
This Question Becomes Even More Pressing,
When We Consider
How Many Religious Movements
There Are Today in Our Society.
The Multitude of Sects and Religious Groups
Within This Country Now
Numbers In the Thousands!
And Most of Them
Have A Very Charismatic Leader Of Some Sort
Who Is Saying,
Some Of The Groups Seem To Be Very Fine.
However, Some Are Very Scary!
And Each Time There Is
A Moral Failure within a church.
Each Time a Religious Group
Is Exposed as being Fraud.
Each Time a Religion Hits the News
As Being Misleading.
Each Time this Happens,
It Just Continues to Grow
And Builds Doubt
Even within the Faithful Churches.
And As a Result,
It Promotes Confusion
For All True Religions.
Over The Years,
Many Parents Have Agonized
Over The Thought of Their Son or Daughter
Joining Some Type of Cult or Sect.
And Some Have Gone to the Extreme Measures
Of Trying to Free Their Children
From The Effects of Such Groups.
Some Have Even Hired Others to De-Program
Their Loved Ones
And To Bring Him or Her
Back Into the Normal Way of Life.
Maybe There Were Some Family Members
Who Tried Equally Hard
To De-Program Their Relatives
From The Early Christian Movement.
It Is In Acts Where It Tell Us That
The Christians in Jerusalem
Lived Together in A Commune.
And They All Shared Their Goods in Common
Or They Sold Them
And Then Distributed the Proceeds
To Anyone Who Were in Need.
There Were Undoubtedly Jews
Who Thought The Christians' Lifestyle
Was Nothing Short than Just Being Crazy.
And We Have Witness
Within Our Reading for Today,
The Religious Authorities
Tried Everything to Prevent
The Spread of The Gospel
And To Warn Others
To Stay Away From
These Crazy Jesus' Followers.
So, How Do We Judge Between Legitimate Religious Groups and Illegitimate?
AND - When Should We Listen to Those
Who Desire Us to Follow A ‘NEW WAY?’
There Are Probably
2 Good Benchmarks
To Use as ‘Judgment’ Within Your Discission.
1st, What Is this Leader of The Group –
Claiming For Him- Or Herself?
Are They Claiming Absolute Authority?
Or Are they Acting Within
Humility And Selflessness?
Are They Directing Our Commitment to -
Or Is It Directed To GOD?
NO HUMAN BEING
Is To Have Absolute Authority
Over Another in The Christian Faith.
and The Power
And The Glory
Belong To God Alone!
And Any Leader
Who Seeks to Rule,
And Honor for Him- Or Herself,
Not Serving the Lord.
2nd, Which God Does the
‘Message Of the Group’ Proclaim?
The Human Imagination Is Very Fertile,
And People Can Dream Up
All Sorts of Deities These Days.
But Is the God Being Proclaimed,
Is It the God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ?
Is He the God Who Raised Jesus Christ from The Dead?
You May Snicker at this,
BUT - It Is So Easy to Get Misled.
Even Though the Early Christians
Who were in Jerusalem,
They Just Seem to Have It All,
With Them Experiencing
The Risen Christ Firsthand.
They Had Talked to Him.
They Had Eaten with Him,
And They Also Knew That Only the True God
Could Ever Raise Jesus Christ
From The Grave
And Make Him Lord at the Right Hand.
But Even These, 1st Hand Witnesses,
Even They Were Being Misled
In So Many Different Directions.
So, Take the Time And Check It Out.
Ask the Right and Full Questions.
Are You Following and Worshiping?
The God the Father Who Raised Jesus Christ from the Dead?
The God the Son, Jesus Christ, Your Lord and Savior?
And God the Holy Spirit Who Lives within You?
Is Your God - All Three Gods –
Independent of Each Other,
But Also As One?
Is That the God Whom Your Religion Proclaims and Follows
Or Do You Worship and Follow Another?
The Scriptures Give Us
2 Basic Identifications of God.
In the Old Testament,
God Is the One Who Delivered Israel
Out Of Egypt,
And Out Of the House of Bondage.
And In the New Testament,
The Same God Is the One
Who Raised Jesus Christ
From The Dead.
Only The God Who Has Done
Those Acts Is Truly Lord.
And He Commands Us,
"You Shall Have No Other Gods Besides Me"
If We Hold on To That Command
And Those Identifying Acts,
And Worship and Serve That Lord,
We Shall Not Be Led Astray
By False Prophets.