Summary: We all recognize that opposition will come. The trick is to learn how to properly deal with others anger and resistance when it is directed at us.
Dealing with Stiff Opposition
Rev. Phillip A. Wright
Introduction: This morning we are looking at a topic which hops in front of all of us from time to time. That is dealing with opposition.
Attention: There was a passenger who boarded a Los Angeles-to-New York plane, he told the flight attendant to wake him and make sure he got off in Dallas. The passenger awoke just as the plane was landing in New York. Furious, he called the flight attendant and demanded an explanation. The fellow mumbled an apology and, in a rage, the passenger stomped off the plane. "Boy was he ever mad!" another crew member observed to her errant colleague. "If you think he was mad," replied the flight attendant, "you should have seen the guy I put off the plane in Dallas!"
We recognize that opposition will come. The trick is to learn how to properly deal with others anger and resistance when it is directed at us.
So today we will look at Acts 4:1-22, let’s read:
Focal Passage: Acts 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. (NKJV)
Need: People need understand that in the normal course of life conflict will happen. If you desire to live a life surrendered to Christ which is the opposite of the Prince of this world then know that you need to learn to deal with it.
Textual Idea: Today we see Peter and John before the Sanhedrin Council and they are not real happy with the disciple’s witnessing efforts. The council clearly directs them to stop teaching in the name of Jesus. The passage shows Peter’s immediate and proper response to the counsel.
Interrogative: So let me ask this morning’s question: Would you have been so direct if it were you? All too often today, the world beats on believers and we just sheepishly sit by as if there is nothing we could do about it.
Transition: Our text this morning suggests four things that we should consider in dealing with other’s anger toward our stance for the Lord.
1. Truth will silence (vs. 13-14)
Explanation: In verses 3:1-7 we see the background of this passage and the reason the council members are upset. Peter and John had healed a man on the Sabbath and the council was out to bring them to justice for this offense. We observe the council was unable to effectively deal with these disciples as they were bold and had performed a miracle in public. The date certainly did not mean anything to the man born cripple.
• First, I want you to see is that “truth quiets noise.” They were unable to argue with Peter on an issue and do so effectively. The best they were able to do by the time the story closes is to tell them not to do it any more and release them.
• Second, notice the feebleness of the council’s protest. They took note of the disciple’s lack of notable education. Let’s look at that: The counsel’s best opposition was that the disciples were not as well educated as they were. That’s sad for the top of Israel’s food chain.
• Third, the council tried to tie the disciples to the man who was healed. They were trying to silence the disciples for healing a man who was born cripple. How do you make something bad out of an obvious miracle? Remember, this was done is public with others standing around them. The council was at a clear disadvantage. Their anxiety with the disciples did not help their power struggle.
Application: How is your taste for Christian Apologetics? That is the field of practice which is in essence the practice of defending the faith. All too often believers shrink back instead of standing tall. I commend you to take on the tough task of pouring your life into others. The role of being a disciple in someone’s life is a high calling. When you talk with someone else about what Jesus has done in your life you are building them up. You fulfill the Great Commission right there. Remember the imperative in the Command is not to go (although that is highly commendable); the imperative in the Command is to make disciples.
Transition: So we see that Truth will Silence; now let’s see that Familiarity will confront.
2. Familiarity will confront (vs. 15)
Explanation: I want you to take note that the people in the area know this man who was healed. They had seen him before Acts 3:2 says that he was laid at the gate “daily.” Everyone knew this man was actually and undeniably crippled. Everyone also knew that Peter and John healed him in plain sight of many who could testify. This created a very confrontational situation. The counsel had to meet to decide what to do. Why? What is wrong with recognizing what happened and praising God for the healing? Oh, that’s right, it was on the Sabbath and these were followers of Jesus who was giving him the glory and not praising them for their profound leadership.