Summary: The Early Church chooses to obey God and accepts the risk.
SERIES: Adventures in Acts 006
TITLE: Obeying God Rather Than Men
TEXT: Acts 5:17-29
INTRO: The early church had come through Persecution from without and Problems within. Now:
-The Church is thriving.
-The apostles are preaching with great power
-There is unity in the church, sharing all things in common
-There is great growth,
Then, persecution comes again
I. REARRESTED (vs. 17-18)
A. All of the Apostles Were Displaying Great Courage
1. Remember, when Jesus was arrested in Gethsemane,
they had fled in fear
2. Now they are boldly preaching the Gospel despite
being warned against it
3. They had seen the risen Savior and are now
empowered by the Holy Spirit
B. Rearrested and Thrown in Prison, Because They:
1. Denied the Sadducees doctrines & were preaching
the resurrection of Jesus
2. Defied the Sanhedrin's authority, who had warned them
against preaching in Jesus name
3. Denounced the Sanhedrin's spirituality by holding them
responsible for the death of Jesus
4. Were a danger to the officials domination of the people
II. RELEASED (vs. 20-29)
A. That Night
1. An angel opened the doors & brought them out
2. Then he told the,: "Go, stand and speak in the temple
to the people all the words of this life." (v.20)
# John Paton was a missionary in the New Hebrides Islands. One night hostile natives surrounded the mission station, intent on burning out the Patons and killing them. Paton and his wife prayed during that terror-filled night that God would deliver them. When daylight came they were amazed to see their attackers leave. A year later, the chief of the tribe was converted to Christ. Remembering what had happened, Paton asked the chief what had kept him from burning down the house and killing them. The chief replied in surprise, "Who were all those men with you there?" Paton knew no men were present - but the chief said he was afraid to attack because he had seen hundreds of big men in shining garments with drawn swords circling the mission station.
B. The Next Day
1. The council sent for them & discovered the prison
2. Someone came & told them the apostles were
preaching in the temple
3. They were brought before the council & the high priest
said, "Did not we straitly command you that ye should
not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled
Jerusalem with your doctrine..."
4. They gave a courageous answer:
"Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said,
We ought to obey God rather than men." (v.29)
C. The Outcome of the Trial
1. Gamaliel, a prominent rabbi, who had been Paul's
2. He reminded the council of men who had led revolts
in the past & failed
3. Then he gave this advice: "And now I say unto you,
Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this
counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:
But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye
be found even to fight against God." (5:38-39)
4. The council passed sentence "...when they had called
the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that
they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let
them go." (5:40)
III. REJOICING (vs. 41-42)
A. The Apostles Rejoiced
(v.41) "And they departed from the presence of the
council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer
shame for his name."
B. Went Right Back to What They Had Been Doing
(5:42) "And daily in the temple, and in every house,
they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ. "
CONCL: Around the world today Christians are being persecuted for their faith. More than 70 million Christians have been martyred for their faith since 33 AD. This year an estimated 160,000 believers will die at the hands of their oppressors and over 200 million will be persecuted, arrested, tortured, beaten or jailed. In many nations it is illegal to own a Bible, share your faith, change your faith or allow children under 18 to attend a religious service.
# Someone wrote these words about America,
Your laws ignore our deepest needs,
Your words are empty air.
You've stripped away our heritage,
You've outlawed simple prayer.
Now gunshots fill our classrooms,
And precious children die.
You seek for answers everywhere,
And ask the question Why?
You regulate restrictive laws,
Through legislative creed.
And yet you fail to understand,
That God is what we need!