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Geared for Growth

Acts 4:1-22, Sam Oldridge, April 9, 2017


Sermon Notes:

Introduction

  • Concentrating on v4
    • 5000 men - no comment on the women or children
  • Looking at some principles for the growth of the church
  • Short prayer
  • We all want to see growth
  • Do we long for God to come and deal with this area?
  • We are utterly reliant upon God
    • Not us or our preaching
    • This is encouraging
    • This good God is in complete control
  • Yet we have a part to play
    • God uses weak and failed individuals
    • Hebrews 11: a list of sinner and failure whom God gave faith and used to accomplish His purposes
  • If we want to see growth - overview:
    • We must be clear concerning the message that we proclaim
    • We must preach the gospel
    • We must be prepared to suffer
    • We must never forgot the ministry of the Holy Spirit

We must be clear concerning the message that we proclaim

  • It is a supernatural message
    • The resurrection from the dead (v2)
      • Jesus really did die, was really buried and really rose again
      • Over 500 eye witnesses saw it (and died for it)
    • The apostles perform a miracle
      • They come across a man crippled from birth
      • Peter told him to get up and walk (3:6-8)
      • He was over 40 years old (v22)
  • This healing mirrors our humanity - we are crippled in our sin
    • Quote: "The world is such a bad place, you as might as well just have fun"
    • Some plough all the efforts into family, career, religion, body, finding themselves
    • Some can't see the point of it and take their lives
    • Some do not see death as the end: being cryogenically frozen
  • Do you know the Saviour?
  • We need a supernatural message for this spiritual condition
    • v10-12
    • This message is centered in the person and the work of the Lord Jesus Christ
    • This message must be personally applied

We must preach the gospel

  • We must keep the first thing, the first thing - we must preach the gospel
  • Imagine if someone who was disabled was miraculously healed
    • This healing wasn't a means to an end
    • It served the preaching of the gospel
      • 3:11ff
  • The apostles shared the faith with words
    • Do we share our faith with words?
    • We must show love and mercy but it must be followed by words
    • Example
    • We must know what we are about
  • We all have a terminal illness - sin
    • We may not share the truth with our first act of kindness - but we must share also
    • Example
  • Our care is important but our gospel is all important

We must be prepared to suffer

  • Not a promotional advert - but no pain, no gain
  • v3 - they were seized
    • v18 - they told them not to preach
    • v19 - they answered that they must obey God
  • Threats went onto imprisonment 5:21 and then murder 7:58
    • Christians have been persecuted throughout the ages
  • Totalian: The blood of the martyrs is seed [the seed of the church]
    • Col 1:24
    • As Christians suffer the Church grows
    • What impact would it have if we died to ourselves daily and took up our cross?
  • The work of Christ is finished
    • There are still those who need salvation
  • We obey and suffer because we love Him
  • Spurgeon: "Every Christian is a missionary or an imposter"
    • Which one are you?

We must never forgot the ministry of the Holy Spirit

  • He is promised to us
    • Especially in times of persecution
    • Especially when we stand for Him
    • Eph 6:10
  • Two evidences that the Holy Spirit was with them
  • The Christians were given boldness (v7)
    • The same Peter who crumbled in the Praetorium is the same Peter who stands before the religious elite
    • Luke 21:12-15
      • This is encouraging
    • We must witness for God
    • The apostles pray for boldness to speak God's word (v24-30)
      • Quote: George Whitfield
    • Jesus answered (v31)
  • God's enemies were shut up and shown up
    • v13 - they recognised they were uneducated, they recognised Jesus
    • v14 - they could say nothing
    • v15 - they were lost for an answer
    • v16 - seeing is not believing
    • v17 - they threatened them (as they had no other action)
  • Nothing can stop the work of the Holy Spirit
    • Do we believe that God can use me?
    • Quote from Hudson Taylor
  • We must reckon on God's power and presence with us
    • Growth is God's prerogative

Closing Remarks




Sermon Passage:

Acts 4:1-22

1And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, 2Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. 3And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide. 4Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand. 5And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes, 6And 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. 7And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this? 8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, 9If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; 10Be 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. 11This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. 12Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. 13Now 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. 14And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. 15But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, 16Saying, 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. 17But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name. 18And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. 19But 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. 20For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. 21So 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. 22For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed. (KJV)


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