He Emboldens

Praxis

Pastor Jonathan Drake - April 18, 2021

Community Group Study Notes

  1. Have someone in your group provide a brief, 2-minute summary of Sunday’s teaching.  

  1. What was one thing that God brought to your attention through this message? 

  1. Read Acts 4:13. How did the religious leaders view Peter and John? Why was this significant?   

  1. What should boldness look like in the life of a disciple? 

  1. Why is it imperative that each disciple share in God’s mission?  

  1. How will you personally and specifically apply this message in your life? 


Abide


Sermon Transcript

From a human standpoint, I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that the gospel message probably should never have made it outside of Jerusalem. From a purely human perspective, and certainly that would mean without the resurrection of Jesus, there's no way this fledgling band of 11 faithful disciples with a few additional counterparts in their group could have possibly taken a message about a Jewish Rabbi and spread it to the corners of the earth. I mean, just that statement out loud needs to be said. From a human standpoint, it's astounding that this message ever made it outside of Jerusalem. And had Jesus not been raised, really the powers that be the religious leaders in Jerusalem who had Jesus killed, they could have easily produced a body or just walked right over to a tomb where they put him. And then that would have been the end. But that's not what happened because we're not dealing with this just from a human perspective. And that's not what happened because the resurrection did occur. Jesus has been raised. And that changed everything. That changed everything for those that followed Him, that group of 120 on the Day of Pentecost that received the Spirit. But the book of Acts doesn't just tell us how that message got out of Jerusalem. The book of Acts tells us why, as well. As we're turning and as you're turning to Acts chapter four, which is where we're gonna spend some time this morning together, as you're getting to Acts chapter four, I wanna remind you of where we started in the first week of this message, this series. That Pastor Jerry said that the Holy Spirit baptizes, He plunges Christ's people into the Spirit, which initiates and immerses them in the life of Christ. And that changes everything. That gives new capacities, new powers, new abilities that previously did not exist. And so we see that in Acts chapter two on the Day of Pentecost, as 3000 people come to faith in Jesus that day alone. And from there in Acts chapter three, Peter and John are walking up to the temple and they see a lame man who was lame from his birth. And he was over 40 years old. And he asks for some, for a handout, for some alms. And Peter and John replied, "We don't have any money. "We can't help you there. "But what we do have we give to you, "'Stand up. Start walking around.'" And this guy who'd been lame from birth, he experiences this unbelievable transformation, the healing power of God on display. And as this guy is running around and hugging Peter and John, a crowd starts to gather, as you would imagine. Peter and John start to preach about why this happened. Why? Who did this? Not Peter and John but Jesus Himself through His disciples. Because now His disciples were not just the same Peter and John that we see arguing along with the other 10 about who's the greatest, just a couple of weeks before. Everything's different for them because they've been filled with the Spirit. Everything changes. And so they preach. And as they're preaching, and this sets the stage for Acts chapter four, where we're gonna be. As they're preaching, as Peter specifically, as we have his words recorded in Acts three, as he's talking about Jesus, the Sadducees, the elders, the chief priests catch wind of this, and this has to be stopped. So Acts chapter four, beginning in verse one, starts this way. Take a look with me at Acts chapter four, verse one. So "The priests and the captain of the temple guard "and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John "while they were speaking to the people,..." Please, no one impersonate that today while I'm speaking, if you wouldn't mind, all right? Don't come up on the stage. Thank you. "They were greatly disturbed "because the apostles were teaching the people, "proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. "So they seized Peter and John and, because it was evening, "they put them in jail until the next day. "But many who heard the Word, the message, believed, "so the number of men who believed grew to about 5,000." In the middle of Peter's message, this mob-like group, made up of the Sadducees, the captain of the temple guard and along with a few others, come and grab Peter and John. And they stop them right in the middle of their message. What's so incredible, just to start, that as Luke records, and 5,000 men were a part of the faithful group. Well, he's obviously implying that that number had grown to like 10 to 15,000 at least. It was 3,000 on the Day of Pentecost. Now we're talking about 10 to 15,000 or more 'cause they just counted the heads of households at that time. And here he's saying, even though the message was interrupted, people were coming to faith. But why did the Sadducees, why did the captain of the temple guard, kind of like the temple police, chief of police, why did they come up and interrupt them, and who were these people? Well, you've probably heard us talk about the Sadducees before. There's a few different episodes where they step into the story of Jesus and His disciples. And the Sadducees, although they held kind of a minority among the two party system of Sadducees and Pharisees, they had gained a disproportionate amount of religious power and influence in Israel. They were really the predominant group in the Sanhedrin, which was a ruling body that would be kind of like, if I just oversimplified it, if we took kind of our idea of a Senate and a Supreme Court and rolled it into one, that was like the Sanhedrin. And the Sadducees controlled the majority of the Sanhedrin. And they had, as we've talked about before, appointed the high priest, not necessarily based on birthright, as it was in the days of Moses and Aaron, but more about who had enough money to buy the position. And so it was really corrupt and the Sadducees had that disproportionate amount of power and influence and control. And they would do just about anything to protect their power. They would do just about anything that they could to preserve their position of power, of influence, and of course, comforts and benefits that went along with that. And so they feel immediately threatened by whatever Peter and John are doing. And obviously there's some reasons why they feel that way. They don't want anyone to sway the hearts of the people. And after all, that's what all people in leadership and power care about, when they're corrupted by that power, it leads them to only be concerned about what people think about them instead of what's actually good and true. Not all leaders, but leaders who are consumed and corrupted by that power, like the Sadducees were, that's what led them to be so concerned, hyper concerned about swaying the opinions of the people. And you can see it throughout the gospel in the book of Acts. And in fact, this question that they ask in Acts chapter four, verse five, listen to how the story continues. "The next when day they hold court, the rulers, "the elders and the teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. "Annas the high priest was there, "and so were Caiaphas, John, "Alexander and others of the high priest's family. "They had Peter and John brought before them "and began to question them: "'By what power,...'" This is the key question, "By what power or what name did you do this?" They wanna know where's the competing power that we need to square up with? Where's this coming from? Because we feel like you're threatening our influence here in Israel. And we don't wanna lose that. And so by what power or what name did you do this? Well, we've got this familiar cast of characters, Annas, the high priest, who was really like the patriarch of this high priestly family. And Caiaphas is mentioned, he was actually high priest the year that Jesus was crucified, this year that we're talking about. And he was actually Annas' son-in-law. And so it was kind of like a power family in control of this office. We don't know precisely who John and Alexander were specifically, but we can assume that they too are part of the high priestly family. And so there's a lot of reason for them to be very concerned about what is threatening their place in power in Israel. There's a lot of reasons for that. And they ask him, by what, they ask Peter and John, "By what power or what name?" Now, that hearkens us back to a scene with this exact same group as they confronted and interrogated Jesus. It's recorded by Luke, who wrote the book of Acts, in his gospel that bears his name, in Luke chapter 20. Look with me at Luke 20:1-2, "One day as Jesus was teaching the people "in the temple courts,..." Does this sound familiar? Just where Peter and John were. "And proclaiming the good news,..." Who comes up here? "The chief priests and the teachers of the law, "together with the elders came up to Him. "'Tell us by what authority "'You are doing these things," they said. "Who gave You this authority?" Isn't that a startling similarity? They were always worried about, who's allowing you to do this? Who said you could do that? What person gave you permission to do that? They ask Jesus the very same thing because they were all about protecting their power and position in Israel. Now, here's something interesting maybe about the Sanhedrin. So there was a group of about 70 elders, and they took that from something from the life of Moses where he had appointed 70 judges. And so there was 70 elders that constituted the Sanhedrin and maybe one or two others, including the chief priest or the high priest. And the Sanhedrin held counsel in a building on the temple grounds that was called the Hall or the Chamber of Hewn Stones. It looked something like this. So they were seated in a semi-circle. And all 70, maybe plus the chief priest of that year, whether that was Caiaphas, in this instance, or Annas who has kind of like high priest emeritus, they would sit in this semi-circle formation. And they would sit, but whoever was being interrogated had to stand in the center of that semi-circle, stand up, probably knees knocking like they're in front of the Wizard of Oz, and just kind of the sheer number of elders alone was just gonna be an imposing and intimidating force. And that's what happens. They bring Peter and John into the midst of this. In fact, some translations say, "They put them in their midst." So clearly the image of a semi-circle, and Peter and John standing right in the center, having to answer for what authority or what name or what power by which they were doing these things. And so they stood there and Peter and John are asked that question. But rather than what we might expect for them to be intimidated or scared, or like backing off, that's not what happens to Peter. Like so many who had stood in front of the Sanhedrin at various points in times and had been intimidated, that's not what happened to Peter. Look at what Luke records for us beginning in verse eight of chapter four. "Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit,..." Let's pause. Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit. So remember last week, what Pastor Jerry said about the baptism of the Holy Spirit, there's one baptism, that's a one-time event, but the filling, repeatedly. And he quoted Ephesians 5:18, that said, "Keep on being filled with the Spirit." So one baptism of the Spirit, but now Peter gets up and he's filled with the Holy Spirit, and that's what begins, that's how Luke begins what he's about to say. So Peter, the Spirit-filled Peter said to them, "Rulers,..." He says, "Rulers and elders of the people! "If we are being called to account today "for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame "and are being asked how he was healed, then know this, "you and all the people of Israel: "It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, "whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead "that this man stands before you healed. "Jesus is the stone you builders rejected, "which has become the cornerstone. "Salvation is found in no one else, "for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind "by which we must be saved." This is incredible. This is not the same Peter. Peter speaks with an authority, with a clarity, with a precision and with an intelligence. That is surprising. Because it's, although it's Peter, it's not the same Peter. I mean, I can't think of a time, as I read the gospels, I can't think of a time that Peter quoted scripture. In the gospels. I can't think of a time when he did that. And now it's like all he does in Acts two, in Acts three, here in Acts four. Why? Because the Spirit of God whom Jesus promised is calling to his remembrance, the truth. And so now he stands up and he quotes from Psalm 118. And he says, "Jesus, whom you crucified, "whom God raised from the dead, "this Jesus is the stone you builders have rejected. "And He's become the cornerstone or the capstone. "He's become the most important piece to this puzzle." "And you've turned your backs on Him." Why is this amazing? Why is this incredible? Other than just those obvious things? Well, think Peter intentionally is doing what he saw his Lord do. And Jesus quoted this same passage to this same group the week He was crucified. It's also in Luke chapter 20. A little bit later on from where we looked a moment ago. In verse 17. Luke 20:17 says this, "Jesus looked directly at them and asked, "'Then what is the meaning of that which is written: "'The stone the builders rejected "'has become the cornerstone?' "Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; "anyone on whom it falls will be crushed. "The teachers of the law," that's the scribes, "and the chief priests," Annas, Caiaphas, our cast of characters, "they looked for a way right then and there "to arrest Him immediately because they knew..." Smart guys. "They knew He had spoken this parable against them. "But,..." What does it say? "They were afraid of the people." They knew Jesus had started to gain some popularity and they were afraid of the people. They would do anything to protect and preserve their reputation but they knew what He was saying clear as day. And so the first thing that stands out to me about Peter quoting Psalm 118 is that he saw his Lord do it to this same group the week He was crucified. And that significance, by the way, could not have been lost on the Sanhedrin as well, 'cause we're talking about an event that was maybe two months prior between Luke 20 and Acts four, maybe two months, maybe three at the most. So this was not lost on them. But the second thing that's amazing is about where Peter was standing when he said that. Because he was standing in the Hall of the Hewn Stone. The hewn stone, the stones that had been carefully selected and prepared for assembly in the chamber where the Sanhedrin met. And it's as if Peter is looking around and lifting his eyes to their surroundings and he's pointing to the stones. Peter, the little rock, is pointing to the stones, saying, "You builders have prepared for yourselves "a place where you can pronounce judgment, "and that's what you've done. "But in so doing you've made a fatal mistake "because you've rejected the very stone "that was intended to be upholding this whole thing "in the beginning. "You've turned your backs on Him." Or as Peter said in Acts chapter three, which we didn't look at, but you can look at later, "You have killed the author of life." He's actually now the true judge over all the earth but you're sitting here in the Hall of Hewn Stones and you've rejected the stone that you should have embraced. Well, that significance was not lost on the Sanhedrin either. And that's why our text says this very next thing in verse 13. Take a look at this. I wanna show this to you from the English Standard Version. "Now when they saw,..." I love this. "The boldness of Peter and John, "and they perceived that they were..." Two things here to pay attention to. "Uneducated and common men, they were astonished." Leave this here for just one second. We'll come back to boldness in a little bit. But I wanna show you something about what assessment the Sanhedrin made about Peter and John. That they were uneducated, common men. Or some translations, your translation might say, "Unschooled and ordinary people," which is a great label for these guys. They were uneducated and common men. Let me show you the significance of this really quick. This word right here, "uneducated," this word in the Greek language actually means "letterless." They didn't know their letters. Or we could say they didn't know their ABCs. Now, whether or not Peter and John were actually illiterate, though that's potentially possible, whether or not they didn't know their letters like literally, it actually was a euphemism to explain someone who had not received formal education. And this too had been said about Jesus. Flip over really quick to John chapter seven. And we'll go back to Acts four in just a moment. Go to John 7:14-15. Right here. "Now about the middle of the feast "Jesus went up into the temple and taught. "And the Jews marveled, saying,..." And listen to what they say about Jesus. "How does this Man know letters having never studied?" Well, it wasn't necessarily that Jesus was an illiterate person, but this phrase, "to know letters," meant that He had not received a formal education. That He was not trained in a rabbinical school. No, instead He just watched His dad make tables and chairs. In carpentry. Workshop. So let's flip back to Acts 4:13, that previous slide. And I wanna show you not just the uneducated part, letterless, but this part, common. Now, this is actually pretty funny because I'm not making this up. I'm not making this up. I'm gonna write it in English though. This is the Greek word... The Greek term is idiotai. Idiot. Come on, stay with the group. All right, come on. Everybody, get this one. All right, good. These men were letterless idiots. Now, to be fair, to be fair, in the Greek, that was not actually a slam. It just meant commoner. Lay person. Or not holding a public office. But it's incredible that what the Sanhedrin notice about Peter and John is that they did not have a formal rabbinical education to speak of and that they were common people. They were not rabbis themselves. They were uneducated common. They were unschooled and ordinary. See, what we have to be careful of is, we can sometimes romanticize and idealize things in the early church to the point of our own detriment. Like Peter and John, man, these are like the superstars. They've got books of the Bible named after them, which is like elite status. And we can sometimes think, "I would never be able to do the things that they did." Because they're like these superstars. They're in the hall of faith. Like they're just the best. And we do that to our own detriment. We pull ourselves out of the game because we think that we can never be like Peter and John, but that's not even how their contemporaries thought of them. These guys, I mean, they can barely string sentences together a couple of weeks ago. And now the Holy Spirit has done a work in Peter and John to the point that they are precisely and accurately interpreting scripture. But these are unschooled ordinary people. But see, this is not an endorsement for ignorance, by the way. Nor is it an indication that biblical education is wasteful and useless. That's not it at all. Because actually just if we paid attention and read a few more chapters, Jesus recruits like the ultimate Bible scholar ever to be on His team, Paul. Who was like the best there was. So this wasn't like, "Hey, I don't want any intelligence here. "Just throw your brains out if you're gonna follow Me." No, that's not it at all. But Jesus took every person from where they were. As they were when they were called so shall they remain. And so this is what Jesus wants His church to be defined by. Not to be caught up in the letters after our name, whether they're there or not. But whether or not we do what they've done, we experience what they experience. Not to get caught up in the pursuit of education for knowledge sake alone. And speaking of Paul, by the way, Paul said this to the Corinthian church, and it's applicable to what we're talking about today. In 1 Corinthians 1:26-27, "Brothers and sisters, "think of what you were when you were called. "Not many of you were wise by human standards; "not many were influential, not many were of noble birth. "But God chose the foolish things of the world "to shame the wise; "He chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong." As it's been pointed out before, Paul doesn't say, "not any" but he says, "not many." Paul, after all, would have checked every one of those boxes. Every single one. Influential, noble birth, wise by human standards, but he says. And the whole point of 1 Corinthians is, the power of the gospel, the whole point of 1 Corinthians one and three, the power of the gospel is not in the exceptional personalities but in the ordinariness of everyday disciples. 'Cause what is Apollos? And who is Paul? And who is Cephas? Peter? After all, neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything. This is not what it's about, the exceptional personalities or people who even have a microphone. But instead, the everyday disciples, living out the reality of the gospel in every aspect of their lives. The unschooled, the ordinary, the uneducated, the common, and everything beyond that, is included in His family. That's the whole point. So here's kind of the main idea for this message, and it's just one statement that maybe we can hold on to. The Holy Spirit emboldens Christ's people to share in God's mission. This is it. This is Acts four. The Holy Spirit emboldens Christ's people to share in God's mission. This is what goes on in the life of a believer who has been immersed and initiated into the life of Jesus. The Holy Spirit emboldens Christ's people to share in God's mission. This is what He does. He emboldens. But what does boldness look like? What does boldness even mean? Because if we're not careful, we can apply any definition we want to "bold," even if it doesn't look like Jesus. Because boldness, man, that's a bold move. That was a bold thing to say. Boldness can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. We wanna define it the way that the scripture defines it, the way that it lived out in the life of Peter and John specifically here. Because boldness does not mean brashness. It does not mean rudeness. It does not mean arrogance. It does not mean impudence. Boldness does not mean shouting until veins pop out of your forehead or that you've shouted your opponent down or that you've put people in their place or that you've aired your unfiltered opinion on social media, "just to be real." Because the boldness of the Spirit will not exist in antagonism to the fruit of the Spirit. You know "Sweet Fruit for Sour Times?" That was kind of a soft series, I'm gonna be honest, but boldness, now we're talking. Yeah. Love, joy, peace. Okay. Long suffering or forbearance. What was that message again? Who did that one? Was that Jerry too? That's a joke. I preach that message. Okay. Sweet fruit, that's not me. Boldness for Christ, now we're talking. Kick the door in on the Romans and the Sanhedrin and let's go. But boldness will not, the boldness of the Spirit will not be in antagonism to the fruit of the Spirit. But boldness, by the way, does not also mean, listen, subliminal gospel messaging. Well, I slapped that fish on my bumper. We're good. Or slip that gospel pamphlet under the gratuity at the restaurant, say no more. Literally, say no more. That's not where it ends. So what does this look like? I wanna look at Peter and John. 'Cause that's where we see it clearly played out. So a few things to take note of. Boldness for the disciples meant, first, that they were unwavering in their allegiance. They were unwavering in their allegiance. The story continues this way. Look again at Acts four. "When they saw the courage,..." That's how the NIV renders that word "boldness." "When they saw the courage of Peter and John "and realized they were unschooled, ordinary men, "they were astonished "and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. "But since they could see the man who had been healed "standing there with them, "there was nothing they could say." They couldn't argue with it. "So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin "and then conferred together." They had like a private counsel. "'What are we going to do with these guys?" "'What are we going to do with these men?' they asked. "Everyone living in Jerusalem knows "that they've performed a notable sign, "and we cannot deny it. "But to stop this thing from spreading any further..." This thing, then we wanna label it. "Just to stop this thing "from spreading any further among the people, "we must warn them "to speak no longer to anyone in this name." They won't even say His name. So "Then they called Peter and John in again "and commanded them not to speak "or teach at all in the name of Jesus. "But Peter and John replied, "'Which is right in God's eyes...?" And I love this either or, 'cause this was the kind of trap that the Sadducees were always bringing to Jesus, "Oh, either, or, pick one." I love this. They're flipping it on its ear here. "Which is right, to listen to you, or to Him? "You be the judges! "As for us, we cannot help speaking about "what we have seen and heard." Leave that there for one second. We can't help but speak about what we've seen and heard. We want others to hear and see what we have seen and heard. You've heard us say before, like, the mission of The Chapel is not just the mission of The Chapel. It's the mission of the church because it arises out of the pages of scripture. And if you've ever wondered, like, what are some of the pages of scripture that we looked at in this formation of a statement? This is one of them. We want others to hear and see what we've seen and heard. We can't help but speak of this name. We've been changed. How could we do otherwise? They were unwavering in their allegiance to Jesus. Even, even while they hear the Sanhedrin say, "You can't speak His name anymore. "You can't teach anymore. "We don't want you to do any of that anymore." And they say, "You decide what is right. "For us to listen to you, or to listen to God." Now, before we get that spirit of rebellion that starts to swell up in us and we say, "Yes, see? You tell 'em." Again, let's filter this through the lens of the Spirit's activity. What is the Spirit of Christ? What does He exist to do? To promote Jesus everywhere, never His own agenda. So if we took, see, I can't listen to you, I have to listen to God, and we applied that to anything that is in our own human agenda or our own purposes for self-serving and self satisfaction, we've missed it. We've misapplied this verse in Acts 4:19. We've misappropriated it's truth to just take that sticker and slap it on to anything we want done. I can't listen to you. I know I shouldn't be doing this, but I'm not gonna listen to you. I'm just gonna listen to God. God wants me to be happy. So I'm just gonna do what I wanna do. Like just as a rubber stamp on anything we want. That's not it at all. Because they were unwavering in their allegiance, they would never say or do or act or think in a way that would undermine what the Spirit was there to do, put Jesus on display. So they would only do and say what would put Jesus on display, not promote or protect themselves. Which leads to the second thing that they were unaffected by threats. Boldness meant that the disciples were unaffected, seemingly unaffected by threats. 'Cause they're told, "All right, no more talking in His name." Verse 21 of Acts four, "After further threats..." Literally, they threatened them with threats in the original language. Just stop! It's every parent's fear that you just go to say something in a correction way, and nothing comes out just other than just stop that thing that you're doing. "So after further threats," after threatening them with threats, "they let them go. "They could not decide how to punish them." They must've had teenagers at home. So they were just in a fog. I don't know what we're gonna do. Take away his kids. "Because all the people were praising God "for what had happened. "For the man who was miraculously healed "was over 40 years old." So they're threatened with threats. So you go home and you stay quiet. Not Peter and John. Look at how the story continues in verse 23. "On their release, "Peter and John went back to their own people "and reported all that the chief priests "and elders had said to them. "When they heard this, "they raised their voices together in prayer to God." And now I'm gonna jump ahead to verse 29, just to show you the ending part of their prayer. "Now, Lord, consider their threats "and enable Your servants to speak Your Word "with great boldness. "Stretch out Your hand to heal "and perform signs and wonders "through the name of Your holy servant Jesus." Flip back one slide. Notice this, how unaffected they are by threats. They're not even trying to protect themselves. Lord, consider their threats. Just want You to see them. I know that You do. Consider their threats. They don't pray for more favorable conditions for the gospel. They pray that they would be enabled to spread the gospel. They don't pray for their own protection. And I'm not saying we shouldn't do that. I just think it's interesting how unaffected they were, seemingly unaffected, by the threats that were given, not for favorable conditions, but enabled servants. That's incredible to me. But you know what happened? They left that place and they kept on teaching. They kept on talking. Everybody everywhere was talking, talking, talking their face. And so this again reaches a threshold that the Sanhedrin was concerned about. And in the very next chapter in the book of Acts, Acts chapter five, they call Peter and John in for déjà vu, court hearing number two. And in Acts chapter five, look at verse 27, what this says here. "The apostles were brought in "and made to appear before the Sanhedrin "to be questioned by the high priest. "'We gave you strict orders "'not to teach in this name,' he said." I love this statement. "Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching "and are determined to make us guilty of this Man's blood." Pause. If you just were to flip over, we're not gonna do it today. But if you were to flip over to the gospel accounts, these were the guys that were shouting to Pilate, "His blood will be on our heads "and on our children's heads." Thanks, dad. Really? Like, come on. I didn't even do anything. I haven't even had my bar mitzvah yet. What are you involving me in this for? His blood will be on our heads. We got this. And now they're saying, "You want to make us guilty of this guy." Yeah. 'Cause you handed Him over to Pilate. Okay. This is how I read the Bible by myself. And I just wanted to bring you in on that as well. I just have conversations. I'm so frustrated. All right. You feel, you feel... All right. "Peter and the other apostles replied..." Here it is again. "We must obey God rather than human beings! "The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead, "whom you killed by hanging Him on a cross. "God exalted Him to His own right hand "as Prince and Savior "that He might bring Israel to repentance "and forgive their sins." Gospel is all over what Peter has to say. "We are witnesses of these things, "and so is the Holy Spirit, "whom God has given to those who obey Him." We are acting in concert with the Spirit to put Jesus on display. We cannot contain this message and no threat is gonna put a muzzle on the gospel. But we might be tempted to believe here in our time that opposition to the gospel has never been higher than it is right now. We might think, "Man, it's tough times to be a Christian." We might think that it's never been more out of vogue to be a follower of Christ. And so that may be the best thing we could do is just put our heads down, live for Jesus privately. If people ask questions, that's fine. We'll tell them where we go to church and to listen on thechapel.com/live, but maybe the best thing we could do is just keep our heads down and be quiet. And I could think of nothing more that the enemy of our souls, Satan, who opposes God, His Christ, His spirit, His mission, His church, I can think of nothing more that the enemy would love to distract, to divide and to suppress His church from thinking and believing that they are critical to the mission of God. That they are a part of what God has in store. Because after all, though we don't have the Sanhedrin, it's the powers that be in our world and in our culture, the powers that be who are wildly intolerant of the gospel message, in the name of tolerance. Who just like the Sadducees, deny that the feasibility of the resurrection is possible in favor of a naturalistic viewpoint, just like the Sadducees. Who will not allow, seemingly in all of their efforts, the powers that be to allow the name of Jesus to be spoken of in specific. God? Fine. Jesus? Hmm-mm. Let alone that He would be the exclusive path to God. And so we might be tempted to believe that the best thing that we can do is live private lives of faith behind enemy lines and just not draw too much attention. We'll let Pastor Jerry get up and he can preach with all boldness and we'll cheer him on. And our participation will be in support from the seat, from the chair. That will be our participation. And we'll post a quote or two. And we'll like The Chapel on Facebook. After all, he's a professional and I'm just an ordinary person. But the unschooled, ordinary guys named Peter and John, would beg us to not believe that lie. They would plead with us to not allow the potential for embarrassment to put a muzzling effect on our mouths. They would beg us. H.G. Wells said a long time ago, "The trouble with most believers "is that the voice of their neighbor "is louder in their ears than the voice of God." But the disciples were unaffected by threats. And then third and last, they were unshaken from their mission. Boldness meant that the disciples were unshaken from their mission. But get how verse 31 puts it in Acts chapter four. It says this, "After they had prayed, "the place where they were meeting was shaken. "And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit "and they spoke the Word of God boldly." The whole place was shaken. John Chrysostom, early church father, he said, "The place was shaken, "which meant that they were all the more unshaken." The place was shaken, which meant that they were all the more unshaken. Because they had prayed for boldness, and then it says, and they spoke with boldness. God answered their prayer. They prayed for boldness and it happened. And the Word of God spread through every day, ordinary disciples. The apostle Paul doesn't come on the scene for a few more chapters. And by the time he does, it's already outside of Jerusalem. But the filling of Jerusalem with this teaching, happened through people like you, like me, filled with the Spirit. That the spirit had emboldened Christ's people to share in His mission. But there's one more thing that I didn't show you before. And it's maybe how we can just wrap this up and hold onto this as we leave. And it's again from Acts 4:13, one phrase that I didn't really spend too much time on. "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, "and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, "they were astonished." And then this. "And they recognized that they had been with Jesus." This wasn't necessarily like a spiritual assessment on the part of the Sanhedrin that they were like, "Man, we could just tell Jesus was in our midst." No, they were realizing these guys say and do exactly like Jesus. And it annoyed them like you wouldn't believe. But there is something we can draw from this. The source of their boldness was because they had been with Jesus. But allow me to paint this picture even more specifically. Because for Peter, this had special significance. Because on the night that Jesus was betrayed, he and all the disciples scattered, but then Peter followed from a distance as the temple guard brought Jesus into the home of the high priest. And he warmed himself outside by the fire. And as the council seated Jesus in the center interrogated Peter's Lord, there was a little servant girl who was probably in her teens, who the scripture, Luke particularly, says, she looked closely at him and said, "You were with Him. "You were with Him." "I was not." "No, you were." A little later, someone says, "You too are one of His disciples." "No, it's not me." A little bit later, "Your accent betrays. "You're a Galilean." "I don't know the Man!" And he rained down curses. And Luke, out of all the gospel writers, says this, that after the rooster crowed, which all of the gospel writers say, the Lord looked at Peter. I imagine that as Peter, two months later, stood in front of these power players, he remembered where he'd been. He remembered how he had not spoken of his allegiance to Jesus. He remembered how he had denied and even fell right in with the betrayal. "I don't know the Man." But the Spirit changes everything. Because what he was ashamed to admit to a servant girl in her teens who recognized that he had been with Jesus, now he stands in front of the Sanhedrin, guilty of the same charge, and he's unashamed. This is boldness. Unwavering in allegiance. Unaffected by threats. Unshaken from mission. And if you might be asking, "Can anyone recognize that I've been with Jesus?" If the answer's no, maybe it's a boldness question. That you haven't opened your mouth when given the opportunity. That you've preferred to be a secret disciple and just see where the chips fall. Or maybe it's an obedience issue, because you've got a lot of truth going in and a lot to talk about, but nothing in your life to support what you're saying. Or maybe it's a relational issue. You've maybe been with Jesus' associates, but you've never been with Him. You've never spent time with Jesus. Whatever it is, God wants each one of us to step into the fullness of His mission. And He will give us the boldness to do it. Let's bow together for a word of prayer. With your heads bowed and your eyes closed, before we leave, let me ask you this. If you're here today and you don't know Jesus personally, is it perhaps that, just like the Sadducees, you don't have any room for the Jesus of this book in your life? You haven't made room for Him. You've carved out your life as you want it to be and yeah, there's this stone over here named Jesus. And He doesn't quite fit in the structure that you're putting together. And just like the Sadducees, you've rejected Him but He's actually the most foundational stone in your life. And without Jesus, whatever life you're building, will just topple over at the first storm that comes by. It won't take much to devastate you. But it's never too late to return or to turn to Him. It's never too late to say, "Jesus, I want You to be Lord of my life." Because as Peter said, "Salvation is not found in any one else, only in Him." So that's exclusive. That's narrow-minded. How narrow-minded would it be for your doctor to tell you, "You have a terminal illness "and there's only one medication that you can take "and you will live?" Would you consider that physician to be narrow-minded? Would you thank him for telling you that there's hope? Would you thank him for telling you that there's an option other than death? Sin is terminal, but you can be forgiven of sin. Instead of being separated from God forever, you can be forgiven and restored in relationship to God to know Him and be known by Him. And it's never too late to do that, but it's also never too soon. It's never too soon to give your life to Him. Don't wait until life has passed you by or you've built your career and then try to fit that capstone in where maybe you've not created any room. Instead, build your life right now on the foundation of Christ. And if that's where you're at today and you're here at the Crosspoint campus in the room, then I wanna invite you after we're done to stop by the Fireside Room. There's some pastors and prayer partners there who would love to talk with you and pray with you just a moment. If you're watching online, you can simply go to thechapel.com/knowingJesus and reach out to us. We'll be happy to follow up with you and talk with you about what it means to follow Christ. thechapel.com/knowingJesus. So God, I pray that You would take Your truth and write it on our hearts. That we would be the kind of disciples who are emboldened to speak for Christ as You give us opportunity to live for Christ always and to give people a glimpse of what it means to know You. That they would be able to see that we've been with Jesus. That they would see and hear Him in us. That's our desire, but we need Your Spirit to do it. So we ask You to do that by the power of Your Spirit in our lives and through Christ's name, which we pray. Amen.


More From This Series

He Baptizes

Pastor Jerry Gillis Part 1 - Apr 11, 2021
Watching Now

He Emboldens

Pastor Jonathan Drake Part 2 - Apr 18, 2021

He Speaks

Pastor Edwin Perez Part 3 - Apr 25, 2021

He Encourages

Pastor Jerry Gillis Part 4 - May 2, 2021

Share This Message

Share This With A Friend

Subject: He Emboldens

Sharing URL: https://thechapel.com/messages/praxis/he-emboldens/

Send Email