Summary: This sermon looks at Peter and John's hearing before the Sanhedrin from the standpoint of politically correct modern news media.
News at 7
October 5, 2014
(NOTE: There is a PowerPoint presentation for this sermon available upon request by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
TEXT: Please turn in your Bibles to Acts 4
Peter and John wouldn’t have gone over too well with modern news networks, would they? In Acts 3, Jesus healed a lame man, who got so excited, he began to walk and leap in the air and give glory to God. Today, this would have drawn the news networks like a magnet. As they’re setting up their cameras, Peter sees an open invitation to preach to the crowd that had gathered to see this marvelous miracle—and starts preaching.
Listen to what he said in Acts 3:13-14 – “The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. 14 But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; 15 And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.”
Can you imagine what the CBS reporters would say about that? The commentators would say Peter was being too judgmental and harsh. MSNBC would be mocking them for their meanness.
Peter’s sermon in chapter 3 resulted in 5,000 men believing in Jesus, according to chapter 4, verse 4, women and children not included in this count because the numbers by this time were just becoming too large to track them all. It’s safe to say that close to 10,000 people were converted that day, meaning Jerusalem was rapidly being Christianized at a rapid rate. Wow!—What a news story that would make!
Verses 1-3 say that this remarkable growth distressed the Jewish leaders, who acted quickly to have Peter and John arrested and appear for a hearing the next day—another perfect story for the news outlets.You can just picture them outside the jail awaiting their hearing, hoping to get some newsworthy quotes from Peter and John as they go to court.
• “Peter, is it true that you made some pretty heavy charges against the Jews in Jerusalem and their religious leaders yesterday?”
• “John, are you Christians planning to back down from preaching about Jesus?”
Verses 5-7 describe this hearing, with the first question in the inquisition found in verse 7: “…By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?”
It’s then that, if this happened today, the news outlets would literally go apoplectic. Let’s see why:
I. ABC NEWSFLASH: “REPORTS SAY PETER RESPONDS TO SANHEDRIN WITH INTOLERANT AND EXCLUSIVE MESSAGE.” JOIN US AT 7 FOR THE DETAILS – Acts 4:8-12 – “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, 9 If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; 10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. 11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. 12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Peter’s message would get today’s media intellectuals hot under the collar. Peter didn’t mince words, and He didn’t varnish the truth so as not to offend.
We won’t look at all he said, but his theme was this: Jesus is the only way to be saved: – Acts 4:12 – “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
Oh man!—Can you imagine the headlines on that one if this happened today? All the networks would have had TV specials giving the scoop on this self-righteous, exclusive message of these preachers. They’d interview Sanhedrin members, pointing out how REASONABLE they were. How small-minded to think that this Jesus fellow is the only way to be saved!
Here Peter clearly taught something that is increasingly unwelcome in our post-modern, pluralistic, relativistic society: that is, the EXCLUSIVITY of the Gospel message. Peter isn’t vague or ambiguous here. He categorically states there’s only ONE WAY to salvation—through Jesus.
Jesus said the same thing in John 14:6 where He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the father but by me.” Consider the implications of Jesus’s claim:
1) First, He says that there is no other WAY to be saved