Summary: When your government is ungodly: 1. Stick together with God's people (vs. 23-24). 2. Seek God's help (vs. 24-31). 3. Speak the truth about Jesus (vs. 31).
When Your Government Is Ungodly - Part 3
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - July 28, 2013
*Tonight we finish our study of the great miracle that took place in Acts 3. Peter and John were on their way to the Temple to pray, and they met a beggar who had been lame for all of his life. The man asked for money, and in Acts 3:6-9:
6. Then Peter said, "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.''
7. And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.
8. So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them walking, leaping, and praising God.
9. And all the people saw him walking and praising God.
*The great crowd of people in the Temple was filled with wonder over this miracle. And Peter gave all the glory to God, as he began to preach about the Lord Jesus Christ. Peter talked about the cross and the wonderful good news of Christ's resurrection.
*Acts 4:4 tells us that 5,000 men were saved that day, when believed in the Lord! But these things caused such a commotion that the rulers of the Temple had Peter and John arrested. The next day, they put these two Apostles on trial. And in Acts 4:8-12 we see:
8. Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers of the people and elders of Israel:
9. If we this day are judged for a good deed done to the helpless man, by what means he has been made well,
10. let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.
11. This is the 'stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.'
12. Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.''
*In vs. 13-16, the hard-hearted, Christ-rejecting rulers wanted to keep Peter and John in prison, or even kill them. But they realized that they couldn't get away with it, because the great miracle was evident to everyone in Jerusalem.
*Nevertheless, they were determined to stop the spread of the gospel. And in vs. 17-22, we see their strategy, as well as the Apostles' response:
17. But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name.''
18. And they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
19. But Peter and John answered and said to them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge.
20. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.''
21. So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done.
22. For the man was over forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.
*With this background in mind, let's see what happened next as we read Acts 4:23-31.
*It may be hard for us to comprehend, but millions of people in this world hate the church of Jesus Christ. This past Thursday, Bruce Thornton of the Hoover Institution explained: "Few people realize that we are today living through the largest persecution of Christians in history. Worse even than the famous attacks under ancient Roman emperors like Diocletian and Nero.
*Estimates of the numbers of Christians under assault range from 100-200 million. According to one estimate, a Christian is martyred every 5 minutes, and most of this persecution is taking place at the hands of Muslims. Of the top 50 countries persecuting Christians, 42 have either a Muslim majority or have sizeable Muslim populations.
*In Afghanistan, for example, where American blood and treasure liberated Afghans from murderous fanatics, a court order in March of 2010 led to the destruction of the last Christian church in that country.
*In Iraq, also free (in 2013) because of America's sacrifice, half of the Christians have fled. In 2010, a Catholic church in Baghdad was bombed with 58 killed and hundreds wounded." (1)
*Many, many people hate the cross of Jesus Christ and all of His followers. As Christians, what are we to do about that? And what are we to do when people who oppose Biblical teachings have the controls of government in their hands?