The Unstoppable Gospel
1 of 4 Sermon 9/6/20 The Unstoppable Gospel Intro:
2 They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. 3 They seized Peter and John and, because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day.
1. The Gospel raises the dead to life.
“...proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead...”
Sight where there was blindness, hearing from deafness, faith from unbelief, health from sickness, soundness of mind from madness, and so on.
Peter and John ask the question:
9 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, 10 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.
No skirting the issue. “By the name of Jesus Christ...”
”If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness...” Why are we being harassed?
The reason and the real reason.
The following is how they plotted after Jesus raised Lazarus.
Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. “What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation. John 11:47-48
Punished for what? an act of kindness (the reason) or fear of loosing power (the real reason)
In Acts there are currently about 5000 believers and growing.
2 of 4 Sermon 9/6/20 The Unstoppable Gospel
Problem with people following Jesus: Everyone will believe in him (and not in them.)
The outcome: ...then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.
What they feared actually happened in 70 AD.
If they followed Jesus, Rome wouldn’t have taken their nation.
(The fall of Jerusalem was the judgement of God against them for their sin)
Leaders who cared nothing for their people.
"When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.”
Jude warns about these types of leaders.
12 These are hidden blemishes at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; 13 wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.
What’s the problem with Jesus healing people?
If the power of Jesus can heal now, it means He’s alive. 2. The Gospel is the manifestation of a Living God.
13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say.
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Their courage must come from somewhere. Education? High birth? Actually, worse case scenario for them, the power came from Jesus.
3. Centering on Jesus builds courage
Example: Midday meditation on the Lord, his promises, and his command to be strong and courageous.
18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
21 After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened.
Speaking the name of Jesus (Kayleigh McEnany, White House press secretary, giving credit to ‘Jesus Christ’ for being with her during her double mastectomy).
Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him?
4. It’s right in God’s eyes to listen to him.
What is God saying? He makes promises that come true.
God promises protection for those who proclaim his name. God promises that every knee will bow. Which side are you on?
29 “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
What a great prayer to put on your wall.
No prayer for destruction of enemies, just boldness and power to bring life.
5. God gives boldness to those who ask.
4 of 4 Sermon 9/6/20 The Unstoppable Gospel
When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted. Psalm 138:3
Prayer is being driven from schools, the name of God from government, persecution is coming for those who claim Jesus.
Application: Spend time with Jesus then pray for courage to be bold for him.
If not here, where? If not now, when?
32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they
had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them...
Why is that kind of fellowship and community so uncommon in the church now?
How do we get that? Should we be praying for adversity and persecution?
6. A suffering church is a growing church.
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Application: Count persecution for Jesus as reason to rejoice.