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Summary: We see in this sermon Peter and John proclaming the gospel in spite of suffering, and the results being many were saved in the name of Jesus Christ.

PROCLAMING JESUS IN THE MIDST OF PERSECUTION

ACTS 4:1-12

All of us have seen the recruiting sign saying that Uncle Sam "wants you." Another announces that "the Marines are looking for a few good men." God wants all people to be saved (I Timothy 2:4) and He does not wish for any to perish (II Peter 3:9). At the same time, God is looking for certain traits which please Him, and which are exemplified by good men and women of the Bible.

God wants people like Noah who will practice justice.

God wants people of purity like Joseph.

God wants parents like Lois, and Eunice, who teach their children faith in Him.

God wants lonely individuals like Enoch, who serve Him in spite of wicked surroundings.

God wants courageous disciples like Peter and John.

By Jesus’ power, Peter and John healed a lame man. This created great attention and attracted a crowd eager to hear what they had to say (Acts 3:1-11).

Peter tells them that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the Father of Jesus Christ, and that through Jesus they may find the blessed fulfillment of all God’s Old Testament promises and prophecies (Acts 3:12-26).

The self-centered religious leaders heard of this, and through envy they jailed Peter and John over night. The next morning they "grilled" them, but the apostles simply witnessed to them-about the Lord as well! In a quick private conference, the leaders decided to sternly warn Peter and John, and then to turn them loose (Acts 4:1-18).

I-NOTICE THE PERSECUTION OF THE SAINTS: 1-4

A-NOTICE THE SERMON INVOLVED: 1A

And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, 2 Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

It always helps to have a miracle before a preacher gets into the pulpit. That will stir a preacher up.

It was 3PM when Peter begin to preach (3:1) and it was evening when he was interrupted (4:3). Thus he had been preaching for three hours.

Peter was willing to preach and they were hungry for God’s Word.

A man asked a preacher was he going to preach a good sermon this morning? The preacher said what is a good sermon? The man replied, a short sermon. (He wouldn’t have like to have heard Peter)

Looking back on his sermon, he turned the attention from himself to Jesus. He was like John the Baptist who said, I must decrease in order that he may increase.

When we stand as Christians, we must realize that we are nothing and Jesus is everything.

A young preacher was getting ready to preach his first sermon. He received a note from his mother. It read, I don’t know what you text will be, but be sure to brag on Jesus.

A short man wanted to drive a nail in a wall to carry a big picture. He stood on a chair, but it was not high enough. His wife set out a small box and, balancing himself precariously, he began to give the nail hesitating taps with the hammer. His wife said, "Why don’t you give a brave blow or two, and settle it?"

He replied, "How can a man give a brave blow or two when he is standing on a foundation like this?" (Peter had a good foundation in Jesus and he preached Him.)

I wonder if Peter felt a pain as he spoke about their denial in 3:14?

B-NOTICE THE SOURCE INVOLVED: 1B-2

the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, 2 Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

This persecution wan’t from the liquor crowd, or the gambling crowd, but it was from the religious crowd.

These priests and Sadducees were the main religious leaders of the nation. Twenty-four groups of priests served in rotation for the temple duties. The captain of the temple guard was one of the priests who was considered second in authority only to the high priest. The Sadducees made up one of the four parties of religious leaders in Israel (along with Pharisees, Essenes, Zealots). They denied the supernatural, denied the resurrection of the dead, and believed that Israel had been in the Messianic age since the time of the Maccabeans 150 years earlier. They saw no need for a Messiah and were offended by the apostolic message of the gospel. Their interest was simply to maintain their political power by not rocking the boat with the Roman government.

Why was the Priest there? Because Jesus rebuked their deadness.

Why was the Captain of the Guard there? Because he was afraid he would lose his job.

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