Sermons

Summary: What seems obvious to some seems unlikely to others, especially when confronted with the claims of Christ.

The Stubbornness of Human Nature

(Acts 4:1-22)

1. Some people are hard to reason with and won’t take "no" for an answer.

2. Patsy Dancey tells this story:

Hospital regulations require a wheelchair for patients being discharged. However, while working as a student nurse, I found an elderly gentleman already dressed and sitting on the bed with a suitcase at his feet-who insisted he didn’t need my help to leave the hospital.

After a chat about rules being rules, he reluctantly let me wheel him to the elevator. On the way down, I asked if his wife was meeting him.

"I don’t know," he said. "She’s still upstairs in the bathroom changing out of her hospital gown." --Reader’s Digest

3. What seemed obvious to this student nurse was wrong; & this man was easy-going.

4. But sometimes it is the reverse: people reject the obvious, though the obvious is true, and they stubbornly resist truth.

5. This is especially true in the spiritual realm.

6. As you might recall, Peter had healed a lame man who had been a lame beggar for 40 years. Everyone knew him.

7. A crowd gathered as this man went leaping about, and Peter preaches a powerful sermon. But not everyone could see the obvious.

Main Idea: What seems obvious to some seems unlikely to others, especially when confronted with the claims of Christ.

I. The COUNCIL Had Plenty of Evidence to Believe in Jesus (1-22)

A. Some of the SAME People Who Condemned Jesus

1. This council of 71 is called the SANHEDRIN

2. Head of the Council was the HIGH PRIEST

3. They also covered up the RESURRECTION

B. Peter’s DEFENSE (1-12)

1. Peter & John taken by the Temple guard and Sadducees

2. The Sadduccees were powerful, wealthy, and collaborators with the Romans; they controlled the priesthood and were the "successful gentlemen’s" form of Judaism…more than anything, they did not want trouble; disturbing the status quo could only work against them… the devout Jews followed the Pharisees…

3. What is it that irritated them? Preaching the resurrection in Jesus.

4. Why did that bother them so? They did not believe in the resurrection of the dead, period; and they knew they were guilty of a rigged trial to crucify Jesus…

5. The temple guard captain: a priest, second only to the high priest…

6. Jailed, not as a punishment, but because it was too late in the day

7. Many believed, an additional 5,000 males because of this lame man (4)

8. The members of the Sanhedrin met, including rulers, elders, & Torah teachers

9. Annas the retired high priest and Caiaphas the current (son-in-law)

10. “By what power or name did you do this?” (7)

11. Peter is filled with the Spirit. Used in Acts as someone preaches. Jesus had said this specifically to His disciples in Luke 12: 11-12,

"When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say."

12. Note Peter’s speech itself in vs. 8-12

13. “Whom YOU crucified…” How do you think that went over?

14. The Psalm 118 prophesy of the people rejecting a rock that God would make into the cornerstone -- a nice word picture that makes the point.

15. Verse 12 is similar in meaning to John 14:6, and exclusive verse.

16. This would really irritate the Sanhedrin, for they are leaving no room to be neutral about Jesus…

17. And they could not deny this 40 something year old man had been healed…

C. The Council’s DECISION (13-22)

1. They could not deny the courage of both Peter and John -- John’s comments are not recorded here, but he may have also spoken…

2. They spoke with great knowledge, even though they are called "unschooled and ordinary." This does not mean they were untrained, for Jesus was a Rabbi who was allowed to address synagogues, and they learned from him for 3 years; rather, they were not trained by their more prestigious, "ivy league" rabbis!

3. But they had been with a famous popular Rabbi, Jesus

4. The council met privately and determined they were in a pickle: they could not deny the obvious, a lame man had been healed.

5. So, in vs. 18, they commanded Peter and John not to speak anymore in the name of Jesus, like they really thought this would work.

6. But it was council policy to first warn an individual, and then, if they did not heed the warning, to punish them (which is what would happen). Still, in this instance, they would have punished them but could not because the crowd might riot.

7. Peter and John were straight forward: they were going to obey God over the council. It was not merely a case of them "feeling lead" to teach in the Name of Jesus; they knew God obligated them to do so, and they were willing to suffer if necessary.

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