Acts 6:1-7 “Service”
D. Valentine | 10.30.22
Welcome everyone. Encourage volunteer to serve others for the Fall Festival, we get to serve b/c Jesus has served us Discover Omni: Save the date. Nov. 13 2022. This morning we will be continuing through book of Acts called, The Acts of the Holy Spirit. This morning we will looking at Acts 5:12-32, but we will only read vv.29-32 together. 29 Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than people. 30 The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, whom you had murdered by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted this man to his right hand as ruler and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him. What we talked is a segue from what we talked last week to today. Last week we saw the striking contrasts between the generosity of Barnabas and the hypocrisy of Ananias and Sapphira (5:1-11). One gave all he promised to God, and one held back from God. One was filled with God, the other was filled by satan. One gave being approved by God; one gave wanting to be approved by man. One gave with the resurrection of Jesus in mind, and one gave leaving the resurrection behind. In the end, one continued to live, while the couple dropped dead on the spot. But do recall the response of the people in vv.5 and 7? Great fear fell upon them all. And let me remind you of what fear is regarding God. Fear is an awe of God mixed with intimacy with God. And to be clear, the greatest visible evidence of the fear of God is loving obedience to God, loving obedience to God, no matter what. Proverbs 14:26 says, In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence and his children have a refuge. Listen, fearing God comes from knowing God, knowing His will, giving us confidence to lovingly obey Him. Because the church feared God, who raised Jesus from the dead, they were confident in God and obedient to God in the good and bad times. And before I jump into today’s text, I want to share with you three important scriptures that encourage you to obey God. First, the wisest man of his day, Solomon. He writes in Ecclesiastes 7:14, In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity, consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that no one can discover anything that will come after him. Next, let’s hear from Job, the richest man of His day. Job, while suffering from the hands of Satan but by permission from God, after losing everything, even his 10 kids, Job says to his wife in Job 2:10, “Should we accept only good from God and not adversity?” Throughout all this Job did not sin in what he said. And then Jesus, God in the flesh, Defeater of Sin, Satan, and Death, leaves these words with His disciples in John 16:33b before He is crucified on the cross for our sin, You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world. Maybe you are asking, “why did Valentine point out these Scriptures?” I did because what we see is that if you are experiencing good times now or are experiencing trying times now, loving obedience to God is not optional. Because if you say you fear God, that is, you are in awe of God because He saved you, and intimate with because He loves you, loving obedience is our response to Him. That’s what we declare today because that’s what we see in today’s text. We see obedience during good times in vv.12-14. 12 Many signs and wonders were being done among the people through the hands of the apostles. They were all together in Solomon’s Colonnade. 13 No one else dared to join them, but the people spoke well of them. 14 Believers were added to the Lord in increasing numbers—multitudes of both men and women. 15 As a result, they would carry the sick out into the streets and lay them on cots and mats so that when Peter came by, at least his shadow might fall on some of them. 16 In addition, a multitude came together from the towns surrounding Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed. Again don’t forget the context. All this is happening right after two members of the church dropped dead due to their hypocrisy. But man’s hypocrisy doesn’t stop the hand of God from doing His thing. The text says signs and wonders were being performed, and souls were being saved, both men and women. Right quick, The “many signs and wonders” happening here is the result of God in Jerusalem answering the prayer found in Acts 4:30. Church, God still answers prayers of the believers who have asked for signs and wonders (4:30) The sick were healed, and people were healed from unclean spirits. Can we say good times? The favor of God is upon His people. His face is shining upon His people, and the Spirit of God is at work in and through His people. The church is experiencing good times from a good God. Listen, Satan will not stand back and let it be when this is happening in the church when God is moving and lives are changing. But not only Satan but religious people too. From vv.15-28, we see the bad times. We see obedience during the bad times vv.15-28. 17 Then the high priest rose up. He and all who were with him, who belonged to the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. 18 So they arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. 19 But an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail during the night, brought them out, and said, 20 “Go and stand in the temple, and tell the people all about this life.” 21 Hearing this, they entered the temple at daybreak and began to teach. Let’s not forget the high priest and the Sadducees were the religious leaders of the day. The Sadducees were a large part of the ruling elite, the Sanhedrin. They were wonderful at politics. They worked to keep both the Romans and the Jews happy. The Sadducees were also the theological liberals of the first century. But they didn’t believe in miracles, the existence of angels and they didn’t believe in the resurrection. And that’s why they were sad, you see? They knew the Bible but did not know God. They showed up at the temple weekly but did not know God. They served the people, but they didn’t know God. And they became jealous of God and what He was doing in/through His church. The text says they were filled with jealousy. They were filled with jealousy because they were not filled with God. And their jealousy led them to arrest the apostles. I know this may seem unfair, but sometimes God allows man’s hands to do their thing to us so that He can do His thing for us. In doing so, He reminds that us He is greater. He’s stronger, and He’s still a Deliverer. Verse 19 says, 19 But an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail during the night, brought them out…Listen to me; the apostles would never have known that God could open doors that man shuts if He hadn’t allowed them to arrest them. God allows us to be harassed by the ungodly so that we may see the hands of God. But remember that deliverance from earthly harassment is not always God’s plan; He allowed Peter to be delivered, but in Acts 12, he allowed James to be slain because each event worked out for His glory. He delivers them, but not for their comfort but His mission. 20 “Go and stand in the temple, and tell the people all about this life.” 21 Hearing this, they entered the temple at daybreak and began to teach. Do you see it? Gospel. Miracles and signs. Persecution; deliverance. obedience. But we are not done. vv.21b-27. When the high priest and those who were with him arrived, they convened the Sanhedrin—the full council of the Israelites—and sent orders to the jail to have them brought. 22 But when the servants got there, they did not find them in the jail; so they returned and reported, 23 “We found the jail securely locked, with the guards standing in front of the doors, but when we opened them, we found no one inside.” 24 As the captain of the temple police and the chief priests heard these things, they were baffled about them, wondering what would come of this. 25 Someone came and reported to them, “Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple and teaching the people.” 26 Then the commander went with the servants and brought them in without force, because they were afraid the people might stone them. 27 After they brought them in, they had them stand before the Sanhedrin, and the high priest asked, 28 “Didn’t we strictly order you not to teach in this name? Look, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.” This whole scenario blows my mind, and I’m pretty sure it did, too, of the people of that day, but look at v.28 again. They are accusing the apostles of violating their command not to teach in the name of Jesus. They also accused the apostles of making them look bad, but we know that was their guilty conscience speaking. They had already brought that blood upon themselves when they had incited the mob to shout, “His blood be on us, and on our children” (Matt. 27:25). The apostles, however, had no desire to bring the blood of Christ to the door of these men. They desired to bring that blood to their hearts so that they might be saved from their sin. Peter did not listen to them because he knew God’s desire for them. For it Peter who wrote in 2 Peter 3:9, 9 The Lord does not delay his promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance. One has to love the apostles’ response in verses 29–32. Verses 29-32 involve both civil disobedience and gospel opportunity. Whether during good times and bad times, but both are intended to give us times of gospel opportunities. We see the gospel opportunity, vv.29-32. 29 Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than people. 30 The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, whom you had murdered by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted this man to his right hand as ruler and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him. We know God has set up authorities, and that obeying the authorities is part of the Christian walk. God’s institutions include family, church, and state. In the case of the last, Peter himself would wrote in 1 Peter 2:17, “Honor the emperor.” Jesus says Mark 12:17, “Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Paul writes in Romans 13:1, 13:1 Let everyone submit to the governing authorities, since there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are instituted by God. Titus 3:1 says, Remind them to submit to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work. Here’s my point, the b i b l i c a l w r i t e r s c o n s i s t e n t l y t a u g h t t h a t w e must recognize authorities as being established by God. We must respect them. And we must submit to the authorities, p r o v i d i n g t h e y d o n o t c o n t r a d i c t G o d ’s Wo r d . Ultimately, we submit to the state out of submission to Jesus,1 Pet 2:13 says Submit to every human authority because of the Lord, whether to the emperor as the supreme authority. This act includes obeying speed limits and stop signs, wearing seat belts, paying income taxes, adhering to building codes, and renewing our fishing licenses out of reverence for Jesus. However, there are times when a Christian cannot obey the state and should not. We must obey God rather than people when people try to get us to sin against God. People can be the government or the state. (Mention same sex marriages, murder (abortion), shacking etc People can be any President or politician. People can be the pope or the pastor. People can be our spouses or our parents. People can be our bosses or our friends. People can even be you. But why? In Acts 5, the apostles choose civil disobedience for an apparent reason, the gospel. Belief in the gospel gives us the ability to obey God rather than people. But not only that, it gives us the opportunity to share the gospel. We must never forget no matter what, we must obey God rather than man when want us to sin against God. And this may be costly, but the question is, is God worth it. No matter the sacrifice or suffering, and we will. Is He worth it. It’s easier to say no to people, when we have already said yes to God. (When we say yes to the Book, we won’t get took by others) When we do so, we are we are, what we are sharing the gospel with our life and lips. Peter and the apostles took full advantage of every gospel opportunity. The apostles don’t respond to the authorities with hate speech or violent demonstrations, they simply kept declaring the good news as people of the cross should. They see confrontation before the council as an occasion to proclaim the foundational truths of the gospel. Our gospel foundations: God raised Jesus Christ from the dead, v.30: “The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, whom you had murdered by hanging him on a tree.” The God who created the world—and called Abraham, Isaac, and Israel to be his people—this ever-living God raised Jesus from the dead. God exalted Jesus to his right hand as Prince and Savior, v.31a: “God exalted this man to his right hand as ruler and Savior.” God did not raise Jesus from the dead just to die again. He raised him to reign and to save. He lives today interceding for His eternal siblings. Jesus has authority to give repentance and forgiveness of sins for all people, v.31b: “to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.” But not only to Israel—that was only the springboard to the world. Acts 11:18 says the church glorified God saying, “Then to the Gentiles [i.e., the peoples] also God has granted repentance unto life.” Listen, it is because God raised Christ from the dead. It is because God exalted Him at his right hand. It is because God grants us the supernatural ability to repent of sins that has already been forgiven, no matter what the times are, good or bad, we will obey God and not people, and people include you and me. Closing illustration and one I am not proud of: Tell the story of my struggle with the desire to leave the ministry and my marriage and family. In the end, I am here because of verses 30-31, but verse 32 is working itself out in my life. We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him. I am only obeying God because He gives me the ability to obey Him. And like I always say, every act of obedience to God is a miracle of God done in and through us. I pray that because of who Jesus is to us and what the Holy Spirit is doing in and through us, no matter what, we will have the same resolve as Peter and the apostles, to obey God rather than people, ready to both share the gospel with our lips and display the gospel through our obedience. Let us pray.