Summary: Satan attacked the church and attacks the church often by using opposing philosophies and beliefs held by man.

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The Book of Acts is the record of the “firsts” of the Church: First Sermon. First Invitation. First Salvations. First Baptisms. First Corporate Commitments. First Recorded Miracle…

First Opposition

ACTS 4:1-12

“What About Mother’s Day???!!!???” I realize that some of you may be thinking that I have totally forgotten what today is. Let me assure you that I have not and while the message may seem totally irrelevant for the day when it is all said and done I am going to encourage the woman of God here today. It is like a master cook. The kitchen may be a mess during the process—ingredients all over the place, knives here, spoons there, disheveled hair, etc…--when the finished product comes off the grill or out of the oven it is exactly what it was intended to be. So it will be with this message.

The Opposition 4:1-4

Each group was greatly offended for differing reasons. The priests, rulers, elders and scribes were people who, because of their positions, benefited from a religious system that was being threatened by the new movement that was proclaiming Jesus as the Risen Savior and Lord who came to do what their religious system was unable to do—complete forgiveness of sins. The Sadducees were greatly annoyed because what was being preached did not agree with what they believed. The Sadducees were the doctrinal “liberals” of the day and they rejected any form of resurrection and consequently the afterlife. Jesus was being proclaimed as the Risen Savior and Lord who offers forgiveness of sins and eternal life to those who, by faith, believe in Him. They disagreed with Peter and John’s beliefs so they were greatly annoyed (some things never change). Furthermore, the Sadducees were more concerned with politics than they were with religion even though the position they held was a religious one. They were the wealthy, affluent and elite of society and had as their highest priority cooperation with and appeasement of Rome and its political system/agenda. The Sadducees were greatly annoyed because the crowd was rejoicing greatly over a man who had been healed by Jesus and they perceived another uprising about to begin over this Jesus guy and feared Rome would become alarmed and respond with force. They thought they had done away with this troublemaker Jesus!

The Interrogation 4:5-7

Due to the timing of the event, Peter and John were taken into custody for the night and brought before the religious leaders the following day. When the hearing takes place we find the number of plaintiffs growing as the elders, rulers and many of the high priestly family align themselves with those who are GREATLY ANNOYED at Peter and John’s preaching of Jesus as the Risen Savior and Lord. They begin questioning Peter and John regarding in whose name or by whose power this miraculous healing had been performed. At a fundamental level the religious council was wanting to know on whose behalf they were performing these miracles. They, being the religious council, knew that they had not granted them permission to do something like this so in their mind surely they were not working in the name and power of God. They probably assumed, like they did with Jesus, that these men were doing these things in name and power of Satan. Whatever the motivation behind their questioning, Peter sees this as a “once in a lifetime opportunity” because now he has the privilege of preaching Jesus to the religious ruling council (Sanhedrin) of the Jews.

Peter’s Response 4:8-12

Peter, being filled with the Holy Spirit, boldly and unapologetically states that the miracle that has taken place before their very eyes was done in and by the power and name of Jesus Christ. It was Jesus who had made this man whole. It was Jesus who had cured this man of his life long condition. Because Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit his response is not limited to just answering the question that was asked of him but takes advantage of the opportunity to proclaim the Good News of Jesus emphasizing the fact that salvation is available and it is available only in the name of Jesus. Peter’s statement in verse 12 is not only a statement of fact but an invitation to believe. Peter loved his enemies and extended to them an invitation to salvation in Jesus.

The Ruling 4:13-22

The religious council is taken back by the boldness of Peter and John. They know that they are men who had been with Jesus during His earthly ministry. They know that they know that they (Sanhedrin) were the ones that successfully led the campaign to have Jesus killed. Yet even with knowing all of this, Peter and John are unwilling to compromise or back down in regards to their faith in and obedience to Jesus. Their boldness is noted because the religious council was hoping to intimidate Peter and John to the extent that they would willingly enter into a plea agreement in order to secure their freedom. The religious council was in a precarious situation because they wanted to punish Peter and John by force or by incarceration but the crowd was rejoicing at the healing of the lame man and if they had done anything to Peter and John the crowd would have turned on them because the evidence was undeniable.

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