Summary: If we are going to follow Jesus, we have to put him first above anything or anyone else.
Taking A Stand
Text: Acts 4:1-22
1. Have you ever had to stand up for something you believe in? When we stand, it's normally because there is some sort of opposition facing us. So we have to muster up the courage and take action to stand against that opposition.
2. When I first became a Christian I was in high school. In those days I carried my Bible with me everywhere. One day as I was sitting in the cafeteria having lunch with some of my friends, one of the guys I used to party with came up to the table I was sitting at, grabbed my Bible, threw it on the floor and began stomping on it. Later that week, I was at a home Bible study, and one of the older guys that was a part of that group gave me a ride home. On the way home I was telling him the story about the guy stomping on my Bible. What he told me has always remained with me. He said, "Mark, one day someone is going to ask you to make a choice between your Bible and your life. What will you choose?"
3. Our world is polluted with so many images that aren't Christlike, and I have to daily take a stand for purity and holiness.
A. I can't let garbage into my mind and heart. I have to take a stand against anything that would hinder my relationship with God.
B. See, we all have weaknesses and temptations, and we will also face moments in our faith where we have to take a stand against things that try to hinder where God desires us to be.
C. The only way we can live a God-honoring life is by taking a stand.
D. In Acts chapter 4, we see some men who take a stand for their faith in Christ.
4. When we take a stand for Jesus we must remember...
A. Jesus Is Our Foundation
B. We Have To Obey God In The Midst Of Opposition
C. When We Stand For Jesus He Shines Through Us
5. Let's stand together as we read Acts 4:1-22
Proposition: If we are going to follow Jesus, we have to put him first above anything or anyone else.
Transition: First, we must understand that...
I. Jesus Is Our Foundation (1-12).
A. Has Now Become The Cornerstone
1. Peter and John had just performed a miracle. They told a man who had been crippled from birth to stand up and walk, and he did! They then seized the opportunity to preach the Good News. But not everyone saw it as good news.
2. Luke tells us, "While Peter and John were speaking to the people, they were confronted by the priests, the captain of the Temple guard, and some of the Sadducees. 2 These leaders were very disturbed that Peter and John were teaching the people that through Jesus there is a resurrection of the dead."
A. While Peter and John were still speaking, the priests, the captain who commanded the temple guard of chosen Levites, and a group of their Sadducee supporters came upon them suddenly and unexpectedly.
B. As verse 3 indicates, it was now evening (about sundown), and since the miracle took place about 3 P.M., Peter and John had continued to talk to the crowd about three hours.
C. Undoubtedly they explained the full gospel further and probably had time to answer questions from the crowd.
D. The high priest was a Sadducee, as were many of the priests in Jerusalem. They claimed to be religious but did not accept the traditions of the Pharisees and did not consider the Old Testament prophetical books or the Writings to be on the same level as the Law (the Torah, the Pentateuch).
E. They also denied the existence of angels and spirits and said there was no resurrection.
F. They were not excited about the miracle, but they were disturbed because there was such a great crowd around Peter and John.
G. Then they were "very disturbed" (upset, deeply annoyed, exasperated) because the apostles proclaimed in Jesus "the resurrection of [out from among] the dead."
H. As James D. G. Dunn points out, "Jesus is the defining center of the new movement; and... his resurrection is the key point of emphasis and differentiation in its preaching (Horton, 99).
3. As a result, "They arrested them and, since it was already evening, put them in jail until morning.
4 But many of the people who heard their message believed it, so the number of believers now totaled about 5,000 men, not counting women and children."
A. Peter was preaching a resurrected Jesus, and the Sadducees understood that this was evidence for the truth of the resurrection of all believers.