The text for this sermon is Acts 5:29-42
In verse 28, the high priest had a right to be concerned. The court is being charged with responsibility for Jesus’ blood. To “lay someone’s blood” on someone is an OT expression of charging that person with murder and according to the law “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”, the law demands the death of the guilty party.
vs. 29 Because the apostles are now in the same place that Peter and John were not long ago, its like deja vu for Peter and John. Peter delights in sharing the gospel with the Temple Mafia again.
vs. 30-33 The Temple Mafia had knowledge of God but did not have a relationship with God. They read, taught, and memorized Scripture. They studied Scripture all the time. They never saw Jesus as the prophesied Messiah. They did not see Jesus as the fulfillment of the law. They did not have a relationship with Jesus. They hated Jesus. If you are passionate about Jesus, you will naturally share Jesus. You naturally talk about what you are most passionate about.
It doesn’t matter at this point what Peter said. The Temple Mafia would have been angry anyway. They hated Jesus and hated anyone who would dare speak the name of Jesus.
vs. 34-37 Gamaliel was the most prominent rabbi of his day. Paul studied under him (Acts 22). He had considerable influence. He was the kind of man that when he spoke – everybody listened.
vs. 38 Let this thing play out – if it is of men, it will fail.
vs. 39 If it is of God – There is no stopping them.
If the church is about God’s glory, God’s renown, and making God famous, it will thrive. If the church is about the glory of the pastor or the glory of the church – the church will fail.
So how do you know if the movement or church is of God? God’s hand is on the church and it is going to accomplish the purposes of God.
- The pastor and elders are devoted to prayer and to the study of the Scripture. These men have been with Jesus. If the pastor and elders are not studying the Scripture to accurately interpret and communicate it, they can make it say whatever they want it to say.
- The church has a biblical understanding of regeneration. A regenerated person (saved) is drawn by God to repent of their sins. They believe in their heart that Jesus died and rose again and they confess with their own mouth that Jesus is Lord. There is a distinct difference between a person who has truly repented and one who is only sorry that they were caught.
- There is a biblical understanding of church membership and church discipline. What is expected of the church, what is expected of you as a member, what will be the steps taken if your conduct is unbecoming of a disciple of Christ.
- There is a biblical understanding of what discipleship and spiritual growth is. It should be a crime when a person is born again and the church leaves them at the altar. Teach new believers how to read and study the Bible. Do life with them. Show them what it looks like for a disciple to be conforming to the image of Christ. Jesus said that you will know a tree by its fruit.
- A biblical understanding of the gospel. The gospel is the good news that Jesus Christ died on the cross as a sacrificial substitute for sinners and rose again, making a way for us to be reconciled to God.