Summary: Peter and John stand before the Sanhedrin to deliver a message of salvation
Bold and Courageous
Jeff Hughes – March 9, 2003
Calvary Chapel Aggieland
a. Last week, we finished up Acts chapter 3. We looked at Peter’s explanation to the crowd gathered for the miraculous healing that had just taken place, and we saw Peter’s evangelistic appeal to the crowd to follow Jesus.
b. This was a life changing decision for many in the crowd that day. But, as we will see today, not all of the people gathered there believed Peter’s message. They didn’t take Peter at his word. They were skeptical about this Jesus. They thought these ideas that Peter was spreading was dangerous. They people that were most skeptical were the Jewish religious leaders of the time.
c. They were the ones who stood to lose the most from this new belief system. They were the ones who condemned Jesus to death. The rulers were not in the quote-unquote “pecking order” of this new group of believers, the apostles were.
d. They wanted to keep the status quo. They wanted to keep the people under the burdens and regulations of Judaism, being supported by the people, and becoming quite wealthy by the standards of the day.
e. Their solution was to shut these guys up. They had to quiet the spokesmen for this new group, in order to protect their own interests. But, as we will see today, the gospel would not be kept silent. The apostles would continue to teach and preach the message, and to be witnesses of the resurrected Christ.
f. We will look at these events in depth, as we continue on in our journey through Acts. But first, let’s pray, and ask the Lord’s blessing on our study today.
a. In AD 398 John Chrysostom was appointed church leader at Constantinople against his will. His inspired preaching against sin and greed infuriated the empress who conspired with other opponents to have him charged with heresy and deposed. But he was soon recalled to leadership. A silver statue of Empress Eudoxia was placed near John’s cathedral. The dedication ceremony for the statue turned so wild and licentious that church services were disrupted. John paused in his sermon and in obvious reference to Empress Eudoxia exclaimed; "Again, Herodias is raging, again she is dancing, again she demands the head of John on the platter." The emperor ordered John’s removal from the cathedral. But he refused to leave, insisting God had placed him there. Armed guards were sent in to seize him during the Easter vigil. Female baptismal candidates were undressing for baptism when soldiers ruthlessly forced them into the streets. After John’s forced removal the cathedral was set on fire, which officials blamed on John’s followers. He was ordered, "Walk till you die!" and died in exile in AD 407.
b. That was bold and courageous faith. John Chrysotom stood firm in his faith in Christ. Today, we are going to look at how two apostles - Peter and John respond to adversity. Let’s get into God’s Word. We begin chapter 4 of Acts this morning, and we are going to look at verses 1 through 12. If you need a Bible this morning, just raise your hand, and we will get one to you. Acts is just past John, right before Romans in the New Testament.