Conflict in the Council (Acts 23:1-22)

March 17, 2013

Book: Acts

Conflict in the Council (Acts 23:1-22)
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Scripture: Acts 23:1-22


Sermon Notes

(After computer crash…)

In Judaism, there were three main sects of Jews.

The Saducees didn’t believe in the resurrection of the dead. (So, they were “Sad, you see.” – Sad-u-cee)

Paul was on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead.

The Pharisees DID believe in the general resurrection of the dead. They believed that the virtuous ones would be able to rise and live again.

So, Paul decides to divide and conquer – now the two parties will fight with each other. (Pharisees think – ah, he understands us. Saducees think – what a loser)

This is one of the only times he refers to himself as a Pharisee (also in chapter 26:5). We might think it strange that Paul would still consider himself a Pharisee.

But, he didn’t see anything wrong with it, he even boasted in his background to the church (1 Cor 11:21-22) “What anyone else does to boast, I’m speaking as a fool, I also dare to boast about. Are they Hebrews? Me too. Israelites, Abraham’s descendants? Me too.”

But as far as salvation is concerned he saw no value in his Pharisee background (Phil 4) – “we put no confidence in the flesh [human attainments]. If anyone thinks he can be confident of his accomplishments, I’m waaaaaaay better than that dude. I’ve dotted every i and crossed every T. Yet, whatever WAS good for me, is a loss – everything of value is a loss compared to knowing Christ – I have lost all things and consider all things rubbish so that I might be in Christ. Not having my own righteousness, but having that of Christ’s through faith.”

Self-righteousness leads to pride.

When we realize that WE can’t DO anything to get holy, it messes with our pride and makes us get humble.

Paul’s appeal to the resurrection was more than just a general hope in the resurrection (prophesied in Daniel). But, the religious leaders didn’t believe it would come from Jesus – yet Jesus had said, “I am the Resurrection and the Life” (John). And this is the entire focus of Peter and Paul’s ministry throughout the book of Acts.

Many Jews had gone to Jerusalem for Pentecost. When the miracle of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit happened, they heard the praises and preaching of God and Jesus’ resurrection in their own tongues. Some people had thought them drunk – they “technically” were “drunk” as fulfilled by the prophesy of Joel (In the last days, I’ll pour out my spirit on all people) – but they weren’t drunk with wine.

Paul went on “Jesus was handed over to you by wicked men, and you conspired and nailed him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead – since the wages of sin are death, death couldn’t hold him.”

“King David prophesied – he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ – he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has poured out what you now see and here (the Holy Spirit).”

This was Peter’s message in Acts 2.

It was also Paul’s message when he went to Antioch.

“Though they found no good reason for death, they asked to have him executed, and when they had done all that was written about him, they took him down and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead and for many days, he appeared to many people – they are now His witnesses.”

So, for Paul, Christ and the resurrection is the basis for HOPE. (1 Cor 15 – the Resurrection chapter).

1 Cor 15

“Now brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you have received and on which you have taken your stand.”

Paul always made clear what the gospel was. There’s a need to confess, repent, be baptized, follow the Lord.

“2 By this gospel, you are saved, IF you hold firmly to the word I preached to you, otherwise, you have believed in vain.”

Paul emphasizes the need for perseverance, continuance.

“3 For what I received, I passed on to you as of FIRST IMPORTANCE: that Christ died for our sins – according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day – according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter and the disciples.”

The basis for hope and the faith is Jesus and the resurrection.

Here, in the council, he didn’t preach Christ – but just spoke of the resurrection. Now, there is a violent conflict in the council – so Paul had to be rescued from them.

Luke 20:27-40

This shows the mentality of the Saducees – they constantly wanted to trap Jesus in his speech. For example, “Should we pay taxes to Caesar?” Jesus said, “Show me your coin – that’s Caesar’s face – so give Caesar what is his, and give God what is his.”

Here the Saducees say, “A man was married to a woman, and he had 7 brothers. The first died, the second married her – as is the law. He died, with no kids. Eventually, the got through the entire 7 brothers, with no kids. Now, in the resurrection, which brother gets the wife?” Jesus said, “You have no idea. NOW, we get married. But, in the resurrection, there will be no marriage – we’ll be like the angels. Besides that, when God spoke to Moses in the burning bush, he said “I AM the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” – he spoke of them as though they were alive.” So, God is the God of the LIVING.

The Saducees were wrong about the resurrection – there IS. Those who have received Jesus have the HOPE of the resurrection and WILL be raised again.

This is something we need to continue in – even if we sin, God is faithful to forgive us our sins IF we confess and repent.

Isaiah talks about backsliding – the quicker we come to the Lord, the quicker we can be restored to fellowship with him.

Isaiah 44:22 “I have swept away your offenses like a cloud and your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have paid the price for your freedom. Return to me, for I have paid for your salvation.”