Verse of the Day

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Pastor's Sermon Notes: The First Apostolic Witness to the Jewish Authorities in Jerusalem (Acts 4:1-22)

The First Apostolic Witness
to the Jewish Authorities in Jerusalem:
The First Arrest and Subsequent Acquittal of the
Proclaimers of the Resurrected Jesus Christ of Nazareth
Acts 4:1-22


 
1 And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, 2 Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. 3 And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide. 4 Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand. 5 And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes, 6 And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. 7 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this? 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, 9 If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; 10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. 11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. 12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. 13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. 14 And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. 15 But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, 16 Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it. 17 But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth 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 unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. 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 nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done. 22 For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed.

Introduction:

Reminder:  Title(s) of Acts? 
The Acts of the Ascended Christ through the Holy Spirit by His Apostles

Review Chs. 1-3

Compare the trial of Christ in the past, the arrests in the future in the next chapter, 
along with the murder of Stephen and the arrests and trials of Paul in the future

Overview/Introduction of Chapter 4:

Patterns:

1.  miracles → witness

2.  preaching to the Jews → Gospel rejected by the Jews → preaching to the Gentiles

3.  Jewish opposition to the Gospel and persecution of the Christians → the spread of the Christians and the Gospel

Significant events - Between the first two “Pentecosts” (Jewish in Acts 2, and Samaritan in Acts 8), and following the birth of the Church in Acts 2

Significant persons - Peter is at the forefront here, later Paul’s ministry will be the focus

Geographical movement - still in Jerusalem (Acts 1:8), soon to move to Judea and Samaria prior to the journeys to “the ends of the earth”

Outline:

I.  The Arrest and Incarceration of Peter and John (4:1-4)
II.  The Question of the Jewish Authorities to the Apostles (4:5-7)
III.  The Answer of the Apostles to the Jewish Authorities (4:8-12)
IV.  The Reaction of the Jewish Authorities to the Apostles (4:13-17)
V.  The Acquital of the Apostles by the Jewish Authorities (4:18-22)

I.  The Arrest and Incarceration of Peter and John (4:1-4)

1 And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them,
2 Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.
3 And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide.
4 Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.

1.  The Apostolic Sermon Interrupted by the Jewish Authorities (4:1, 3)
2.  The Reason for the Arrest and Incarceration (4:2)
3.  The Success of the Gospel in Spite of Opposition (4:4)

1.  The Apostolic Sermon Interrupted by the Jewish Authorities (4:1, 3)

The Sadducees opposition to the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead

The Captain of the Temple was the “second in command” under the High Priest

2.  The Reason for the Arrest and Incarceration (4:2)

Actually 2 reasons perhaps represented by the groups involved in the arrest

3.  The Success of the Gospel in Spite of Opposition (4:4)

Is the 5,000 to be added to the original 120 + 3,000 + daily additions, or is this to be understood as the total to date?  Is this just a total of “men”, not including women and children, or a generic aggregate?  What was the population of Jerusalem at the time, and how significant was this number as a slice of that population?

II.  The Question of the Jewish Authorities to the Apostles (4:5-7)

5 And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes,
6 And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem.
7 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?

1.  The Identification of the Inquisitors (4:5-6)
2.  The Question of the Inquisitors (4:7)

1.  The Identification of the Inquisitors (4:5-6)

Cp. the trial of Christ in the Gospels

2.  The Question of the Inquisitors (4:7)

This is the issue for them!

III.  The Answer of the Apostles to the Jewish Authorities (4:8-12)

8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,
9 If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole;
10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.
11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

1.  The Irrefutable Evidence (4:8-9)
2.  The Damning Identification (4:10-12)

1.  The Irrefutable Evidence (4:8-9)

Cp. Lk. 12:11-12 - 11 And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say:
12 For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.

Lk. 21:14-15 - 14 Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer:
15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.

4:9 - made whole =saved = delivered - same word in Gk. as salvation and saved in 4:12; different word in each case in 4:10 (whole), and 4:14 (healed).

2.  The Damning Identification (4:10-12)

4:10 - Nazareth - in Galilee!

Cp. Ps. 118:21-24 - 21 I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation.
22 The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.
23 This is the LORD'S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.
24 This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Lk. 20:17 - And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?

1 Pet. 2:6-8 - 6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

The absolute exclusivism of Christianity!  Solo Christo!  And it doesn’t matter who says differently, whether it is a Billy Graham, a Rob Bell, or a Joel Osteen, the Word of the Lord Himself stands against their false assurances of inclusivism!

Jn. 14:6 - Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Cp. also Mt. 11:27-30 - 27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.
28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Jn. 5:19-29 - 19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.
20 For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.
21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.
22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:
23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.
24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.
26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;
27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.
28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

1 Tim. 2:5 - For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

IV.  The Reaction of the Jewish Authorities to the Apostles (4:13-17)

13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.
14 And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.
15 But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves,
16 Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it.
17 But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name.

1.  The Reaction of the Inquisitors (4:13)
2.  The Inability of the Inquisitors (4:14)
3.  The Decision of the Inquisitors (4:15-17)

1.  The Reaction of the Inquisitors (4:13)

unlearned and ignorant vs. boldness + they had been with Jesus

The blindsiding of the blind - the nature of the witnesses
  
2.  The Inability of the Inquisitors (4:14)

The silencing of the Sanhedrin - Peter and John were not alone here - the evidence, exhibit A, was standing there also!

3.  The Decision of the Inquisitors (4:15-17)

council = Sanhedrin (HCSB)

The nature of the witness and the sign = front page news with banner headlines

Logic + prophetic power did not result in a persuaded or convicted Sanhedrin.
Faith is not produced by an accumulation of overwhelming evidence and proofs.

V.  The Acquital of the Apostles by the Jewish Authorities (4:18-22)

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 unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.
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 nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done.
22 For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed.

1.  The Prohibition by the Inquisitors (4:18)
2.  The Refusal by the Apostles (4:19-20)
3.  The Release of the Apostles (4:21a-c)
4.  The Reason for the Acquital  (4:21d-22)

1.  The Prohibition by the Inquisitors (4:18)

The Attempt at Censorship of Christ

2.  The Refusal by the Apostles (4:19-20)

3.  The Release of the Apostles (4:21a-c)

4.  The Reason for the Acquital  (4:21d-22)

Conclusion:

11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

[Sermon preached 18 AUG 2013 by Pastor John T. “Jack” Jeffery at Wayside Gospel Chapel, Greentown, PA.]

Resources:

G. K. Beale and D. A. Carson, eds., Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007), pp. 513-606.

Darrell L. Bock, Acts, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, eds. Robert W. Yarbrough and Robert H. Stein (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007)
                                                  
F. F. Bruce, The Acts of the Apostles: The Greek Text with Introduction and Commentary, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1951, 1952).

I. Howard Marshall, Acts: An Introduction And Commentary, Vol. 5 in Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, gen. ed. Leon Morris (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1980; 2008 reprint).

David G. Peterson, The Acts of the Apostles, The Pillar New Testament Commentaries, gen. ed. D. A. Carson (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2009).

John B. Polhill, Acts, Vol. 26 in The New American Commentary, gen. ed. David S. Dockery (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, Publishers, 1992).

Eckhard J. Schnabel, Acts, Vol. 5 in the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, gen. ed. Clinton E. Arnold (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012).

Hymns based on Acts 4:12

Source:  Cyber Hymnal at http://cyberhymnal.org/scr/acts.htm  [accessed 17 AUG 2013], except for the first.

There’s Not A Name Beneath The Skies

Thomas Kelly, in A Selection of Hymns for Public Worship, by William Gadsby (London: Gospel Standard Publications, 1987; also, n.p.: Gospel Standard Trust Publications, 2000), pp. 699-700, Hymn #949.  Meter: L.M.  See also Hymns 205, 208, 573, 585, 678, 789, and 935.

1        There’s not a name beneath the skies,
          Nor is there one in heaven above,
          But that of Jesus, can suffice
          The sinner’s burden to remove.

2        Sweet name, when once its virtue’s known,
          How weak all other helps appear!
          The sinner trusts to it alone,
          And finds the grand specific there.

3        ’Twas long before I knew this truth,
          And learned to trust the Saviour’s name;
          In vanity I spent my youth;
          The thought now fills my heart with shame.

4        But since I’ve known the life and power
          With which his name is richly stored,
          The world can keep my heart no more,
          Nor can its joys content afford.

5        The things I once esteemed the most
          I now account as worthless dross;
          Thy name, dear Saviour, is my boast,
          For which the world appears but loss.

Conquering Kings Their Titles Take

Words: Un­known au­thor, in the Par­is Bre­vi­a­ry (1736), for the Feast of the Cir­cum­ci­sion at Se­cond Ves­pers (Vic­tis si­bi cog­nom­i­na); trans­lat­ed from La­tin to Eng­lish by John Chand­ler in his Hymns of the Prim­i­tive Church (1837).
Music: In­no­centsThe Par­ish Choir (1850); har­mo­ny by Wil­liam H. Monk, 1861.


Conquering kings their titles take,
From the lands they captive make;
Jesus, Thine was given Thee
For a world Thou madest free.

Not another name is given
Power possessing under heaven,
Strong to call dead souls to rise
And exalt them to the skies.

That which Christ so hardly wrought,
That which He so dearly bought,
That salvation, mortals say,
Will ye madly cast away?
Rather gladly for that Name
Bear the cross, endure the shame;
Joyfully for Him to die
Is not death but victory.

Jesus, if Thou condescend
To be called the sinner’s Friend,
Ours the joy and glory be
Thus to make our boast of Thee.

Glory to the Father be,
Glory, virgin born, to Thee,
Glory to the Holy Ghost,
Ever from the heavenly host.

’Tis for conquering kings to gain

Words: Anon­y­mous, in the Par­is Bre­vi­a­ry (1736), Vic­tis si­bi cog­nom­i­na; trans­lat­ed from La­tin to Eng­lish by John Chand­ler, Hymns of the Prim­i­tive Church (1837).
Music: Vienna, Justin H. Knecht, 1797.
Al­ter­nate tune:  In­no­centsThe Par­ish Choir (1850); har­mo­ny by Will­iam H. Monk (1861).

’Tis for conquering kings to gain
Glory o’er their myriads slain;
Jesus, Thy more glorious strife
Hath restored a world to life.

So no other Name is giv’n
Unto mortals under Heav’n
Which can make the dead to rise,
And exalt them to the skies.

That which Christ so hardly wrought,
That which He so dearly bought,
That salvation, mortals, say,
Will you madly cast away?

Rather gladly for that Name
Bear the cross, endure the shame;
Joyfully for Him to die
Is not death, but victory.

Dost Thou, Jesus, condescend
To be called the sinner’s Friend?
Ours, then, it shall always be
Thus to make our boast of Thee.

Only One Name

Words: Ro­bert Low­ry, The Glad Re­frain (New York: Big­low & Main, Pub­lish­ers, 1886), No. 1.
Music: W. How­ard Doane.

There is only one Name that the saints adore—
Jesus, our Elder Brother;
They give Him all the praise, now and ever more;
His Name is over every other.

Refrain

Then lift the happy strain,
And sing the glad refrain—
The Name, the Name of Jesus;
Then lift the happy strain,
And sing the glad refrain—
The Name, the Name of Jesus.

There is only one Name that the soul need know—
Jesus, the Lord’s Anointed;
He suffered to redeem us from sin and woe,
And bear us to the rest appointed.

Refrain

There is only one Name that the angels sing—
Jesus, the Lord of Glory;
They gather at His feet while they hail Him King,
And listen to redemption’s story.

Refrain

To The Name Of Our Salvation

Words: Un­known au­thor, poss­ib­ly 15th Cen­tu­ry (Glor­i­o­si Sal­va­tor­is); trans­lat­ed from La­tin to Eng­lish by John M. Neale in Med­iae­val Hymns (1851).
Music: Tri­umph, Hen­ry J. Gaunt­lett (1805-1876).
Al­ter­nate tune:  Oriel, Cas­par Ett, Can­ta Sac­ra (1840).

To the Name of our salvation,
Laud and honor let us pay,
Which for many a generation
Hid in God’s foreknowledge lay;
But with holy exultation
We may sing aloud today.

Jesus is the Name we treasure;
Name beyond what words can tell;
Name of gladness, Name of pleasure,
Ear and heart delighting well;
Name of sweetness, passing measure,
Saving us from sin and hell.

’Tis the Name for adoration,
Name for songs of victory,
Name for holy meditation
In this vale of misery,
Name for joyful veneration
By the citizens on high.
’Tis the Name that whoso preacheth
Speaks like music to the ear;
Who in prayer this Name beseecheth
Sweetest comfort findeth near;
Who its perfect wisdom reacheth,
Heavenly joy possesseth here.

Jesus is the Name prevailing
Over every name by right;
At this Name, in terror quailing,
Powers of hell are put to flight;
God, in mercy never failing,
Saves by this Name of might.

Therefore we in love adoring,
This most bless├Ęd Name revere;
Holy Jesus, Thee imploring
So to write it in us here,
That hereafter, heavenward soaring,
We may sing with angels there.

To The Name That Is Salvation

Words: Poss­i­bly by a 15th Cen­tu­ry Ger­man author (Glor­i­o­si Sal­va­tor­is); trans­lat­ed from La­tin to Eng­lish by Per­cy Dear­mer (1867-1936).
Music: Oriel, Cas­par Ett, Can­ta Sac­ra (1840).

To the Name that is salvation,
Praise and homage let us pay;
Life of every generation,
Law that all the stars obey;
Love and light by Whose creation
All that is stands fast today.

Fairest Name beyond all speaking,
Fullest end of all desire,
Close, yet far beyond all seeking,
Goodness, beauty, truth, entire;
Wisdom, never vengeance wreaking,
Radiance never vexed with ire.

’Tis the Name of mercy, speeding,
Just and unjust with His ray;
Power that rules by patient leading,
Not by force, the easier way;
So that man, in freedom heeding,
May the law of love obey.
Name of awe and Name of pleasure,
Glow divine of grace untold;
Sum of values, whose full treasure
Striving art can ne’er unfold;
Sea of virtue passing measure,
Life that doth all life uphold.

Hail, O Father, all creating,
Now, as when the world began;
Master Mind, amazed we hail Thee,
As the light-year depths we scan;
Spirit of transcendent union,
True and just Thy ways to man!



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