Summary: In Acts 5 are 3 attitudes about Jesus and the preaching of the cross. One is satanic & one SEEMS reasonable & sensible, but is really a product of human wisdom & leads to error. Only one is biblical & blessed by God. Part 1 deals with the first 2.
Three Attitudes about Christ (Part 1)
April 13, 2015
TEXT: Turn in your Bibles to Acts 5 [TEXT TO BE READ LATER]
In Reader’s Digest, a young woman told of being employed as a dental receptionist. She was on duty when an extremely nervous patient came for root canal surgery. He was brought into the examining room and seated in the dental chair. The dentist then injected a numbing agent around the patient’s tooth, and left the room for a few minutes while the medication took hold. When he returned, the patient was standing next to a tray of dental equipment. “What are you doing by the surgical instruments?” asked the surprised dentist. The patient replied, “I’m taking out the ones I don’t like.”
As we’ll see, this perfectly illustrates what the religious leaders were trying to do with Peter and John and the other pesky disciples in Acts 5:17-42. Already, in chapter 4, Peter and John had been brought before the religious leaders and told not to preach in the name of Jesus anymore, to which they replied that they could not BUT speak the things they had seen and heard. Without any real charge against them, they released them, bringing joy to the church. Then, at the beginning of chapter 5, we saw how God struck Ananias and Sapphira dead for hypocrisy and lying to God, an act that purified the early church. But rather than lead to the church’s decline, verse 14 says, “And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.” Moreover, the apostles preached Jesus everywhere, despite being forbidden to do so.
Let’s pick the narrative up now at verse 17 – “Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation.”
Enraged, they had Peter and John arrested and had them put into prison: verse 18 – “And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison.” But look what happens in verses 19-21 – “But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, 20 Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life. 21 And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.”
They hauled Peter and John before the council again, with the intent of destroying this troublesome movement once and for all! But they couldn’t do it—because, as Jesus said, “…the gates of hell shall not prevail against [the church].” (Matthew 16:18)
Now in verses 22-42 we see three attitudes about Christ and His Church, and that’s what I want to spend the rest of our time on this morning, and next. One of these attitudes is clearly satanic; the second SEEMS to be wise and reasonable but is actually unbiblical; and only the third is the godly attitude. Interestingly, even today people look at Christ from one of these three perspectives.
With that background, let’s read a rather lengthy passage, Acts 5:22-42 – “But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned, and told, 23 Saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within. 24 Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow. 25 Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people.
26 Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned. 27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, 28 Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us. 29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. 31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him. 33 When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them. 34 Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space; 35 And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men. 36 For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought. 37 After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed. 38 And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: 39 But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God. 40 And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. 42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.”