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Summary: In this passage we see the Difference that the Holy Spirit can make in our lives - 1. Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit. 2. The Holy Spirit gave Peter courage and boldness. 3. The Holy Spirit enabled Peter to stand up and proclaim Jesus as Savior

Scripture: Acts 4:5-12 (Call to worship - Psalm 23)

The Holy Spirit - The Difference Maker

In this passage we see the Difference that the Holy Spirit can make in our lives - 1. Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit. 2. The Holy Spirit gave Peter courage and boldness. 3. The Holy Spirit enabled Peter to stand up and proclaim Jesus as Savior and LORD

INTRO:

Grace and peace from God our Father and from His Son Jesus Christ who came to take away the sin(s) of the world!

One of the greatest comedy teams in early American movies were two men who couldn't have been more opposite; Englishman slender man, Stan Laurel and American thick man, Oliver Hardy - "Laurel and Hardy". For almost 30 years these two paired up to provide some of the best slapstick comedy around the world. Together, they stared in over 100 films and their work greatly influenced other great comedians that followed them like Jerry Lewis, Peter Sellers and Dick Van Dyke.

One of Laurel and Hardy's great lines that they used over and over again throughout their performances was this simple line said by Ollie towards Stanley - " Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten me into "

As we read our passage this morning, we can imagine John looking at the Apostle Peter and saying those same words - "Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten me into." Or else we may wonder if they together weren't thinking they should say those words to Jesus.

Peter and John had just been both praised by some and accused by others of healing the lame man. While others thought it was an act of God, the authorities in the Temple were not sure and so they had Peter and John arrested. I guess that is what you do when you think someone has done a miracle that you might consider unorthodox - you have them arrested. Since it was nearing the evening hours they decided that it would be best to allow the two men to cool their heels in the local prison for a night. They would decide what to do about them the next morning when the whole Sanhedrin would be able to convene.

The next morning at the Temple the Sanhedrin all gathered in their usual pomp and circumstance. The High Priest was there along with his father-in-law. Other dignitaries were there as well as the whole Sanhedrin council. This was to be a formal investigation into what Peter and John had been doing around the Temple. What they had allegedly done had caused quite a stir. That little band of 12 that had been following Jesus all over the country side was reported now to have over 5,000 followers. It was past time for the Temple authorities to take some action before this all got out of hand. You can't let people like Peter and John just go around healing people. It causes other people to ask interesting questions. It may even cause the Romans to decide to get into Temple business again. All of this healing and talking about Jesus had the potential to cause some sticky problems that Caiaphas, Ananias and the other Temple officials wanted to avoid.

And all this was after Jesus had reportedly been dead for over 50 days. The Jewish authorities thought that they had gotten rid of the "Jesus Problem" once and for all. Others, that had claimed that had been the Messiah had suffered similar fates and in a weeks all of their followers had scattered like dust during a windstorm.

But this time it was different. This Jesus Movement was gathering steam. Instead of dying down it was doing the exact opposite; it was growing and expanding. Just a few days ago these Jesus followers had a meeting around the Temple that had also caused quite a stir. It all had to do with something about the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Over 3,000 were baptized all around the Temple that day alone. You can imagine what a scene that caused.

Now, Peter and John were doing some strange things around the doors of the Temple and people were not only noticing they were beginning to join in the "Jesus Movement". We know that the movement had grown to over 5,000 around Jerusalem and more likely was by this time over 10,000 all over the Roman Empire. It was time for a little "pow wow" with these two men to see if this whole matter couldn't be gotten rid of once and for all.

All of that is in the background of our story. All of that allows us to know what is going on. So, what are we to make of this story and what we read this morning? What does it teach us and what are we to gather from it as we do our best to live out God's Word?

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