Summary: To establish that the man of God cannot be silent regarding the word of the Lord. Even amidst threatenings, persecutions and the fear of death; he will speak the truth boldly, in the face of dignitaries, dungeons, or degenerated people.
1. Peter and John before the High Priest
2. Prophet Jeremiah before the People
3. Paul before the False Prophets
1. In our lesson today we are going to be discussing the theme: “We cannot but speak.” This lesson deals with the challenges of the men of God that speak the word of God in truth. We will see how neither threatenings, beatings; imprisonment or the face of death could silence them. There will be times we will be called upon to speak unto both those desirous to hear our message; and before those that would rebel against: “Thus saith the Lord.” The Lord has not given us: “The spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind,” 2 Timothy 1:7. We must be “bold fearless preachers” because the Lord has sent us to speak His word with confidence and without fear.
2. First, we will consider the preaching of Peter and John before the High Priest and elders of the Sanhedrin council. Peter and John had just performed a notable miracle, by healing the man that was lame from birth before the Temple of God. For this miracle and preaching of the name of Jesus of Nazareth; they were brought before the Jewish council after being charged, not to speak anymore in this name. Peter and John answered: “And said unto them, whether it (is) right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard,” Acts 4:19-20.
3. Second, we will discuss the preaching of Jeremiah before the people of Israel. He prophesied during a time of great trial and punishment Jehovah would bring upon His people for their sin of idolatry and rebellion toward His commandments. This would not be an easy task for the prophet. He would be pushed to silence regarding the word of the Lord; because of persecutions and the threatening looks and terror in his life, as a prophet of the Lord. After wrestling with his fear and their threatening Jeremiah said: “I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay (remain silent),” Jeremiah 20:9.
4. Lastly, we will investigate the stand of the apostle Paul against false prophets and brethren among the churches. Paul’s apostleship was always being challenged; just like some of the minister’s credentials today, by false brethren and denominational preachers. I lump them both in the same condemnation; for God shall judge them both alike. We are not called by the Lord, to present soothing words to the church or the community of disbelievers; but to speak the truth in love, regardless of how it might be received. Paul said: “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me,” 1 Corinthians 9:16-17. With this introduction, let’s consider our first point: “Peter and John before the High Priest.”
BODY OF LESSON
I PETER AND JOHN BEFORE THE HIGH PRIEST
A. A miracle at prayer time. Truly, a notable miracle had just been witnessed, the healing of a man that was a crippled from his mother’s womb. While Peter and John were entering into the Temple called Beautiful, he was begging alms from the people. Peter looked upon the man and said: “Silver and gold I have not; but that which I have I give thee. Peter took him by the right hand and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.” Notice:
1. The response: “And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.”
2. The witnesses: “And all the people saw him walking and praising God: And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the temple gate, called Beautiful.”
3. The effect: “And they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him. And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's, greatly wondering,” Acts 3:1-11.
a. Luke states, the people came together with amazement unto Peter, being filed with excitement and joy. Truly, something spectacular has happen in this city today; “the lame man had been healed!”
b. The people said of Jesus’ healing of a man with palsy: “And he went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion,” Mark 2:12. We have never seen anything like this before! Some of us might say: “This blows my mind!”