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  • Jul 08 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Nothing can stop a true Christian (Acts 5:17-42)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Nothing can stop a true Christian (Acts 5:17-42)

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Nothing can stop a true Christian

Acts 5:17-42 (Pastor Heo)

5:17 Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. 18 They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. 20 “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people the full message of this new life.” 21 At daybreak they entered the temple courts, as they had been told, and began to teach the people. 22 When the high priest and his associates arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin–the full assembly of the elders of Israel–and sent to the jail for the apostles. But on arriving at the jail, the officers did not find them there. So they went back and reported, 23 “We found the jail securely locked, with the guards standing at the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside.” 24 On hearing this report, the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests were puzzled, wondering what would come of this. 25 Then someone came and said, “Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple courts teaching the people.” 26 At that, the captain went with his officers and brought the apostles. They did not use force, because they feared that the people would stone them. 27 Having brought the apostles, they made them appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. 28 “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.” 29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men! 30 The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead–whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. 32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.” 33 When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death. 34 But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. 35 Then he addressed them: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36 Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. 37 After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” 40 His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. 42 Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.


This is round 2 of persecution. Round 1 was in chp 3 & 4 – after Peter and John healed the crippled man in the name of Christ. The Sanhedrin put them in jail and threatened them, but ultimately released them.

They never stopped preaching in the name of Christ, so the second round of persecution was inevitable.

An angel initially freed them from jail and sent them back to the temple to preach more. They brought the apostles before the Sanhedrin again and had them questioned before the High Priest (chairman).

He said, “We already told you not to preach in the name of Christ. Then why did you do so?”

Answer: “We must obey God rather than men. You killed Christ, but God raised him from the dead – we are witnesses of this.”

All the members of the Council were furious at this point and wanted to kill them, but Gamaliel reminded them of previous uprisings that were put down.

He said, “If this is from men, it will end, but if it is from God, you will only be fighting against God.” So, they beat them and ordered them not to preach in the name of Christ again.

The apostles left sadly…? no – happily – because they were considered worthy to be persecuted in the Name of Christ. They never stopped preaching (soon we will see the third persecution).

Here’s one question: Are you holding onto the living truth of God, or a dead tradition?

This is the serious question given to us by this story. And there are 4 reactions to the living truth of God.

  1. Attacking the truth
  2. Affirming the truth
  3. Avoiding the truth
  4. Announcing the truth

Please check yourself and your reaction to the living truth of God.

#1 Sanhedrin attacks the truth

v. 17-28

“5:17 Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. 18 They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. 20 “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people *the full message of this new life*.”

21At daybreak they entered the temple courts, as they had been told, and began to teach the people. 22 When the high priest and his associates arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin–the full assembly of the elders of Israel–and sent to the jail for the apostles. But on arriving at the jail, the officers did not find them there. So they went back and reported, 23 “We found the jail securely locked, with the guards standing at the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside.”

24 On hearing this report, the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests were puzzled, wondering what would come of this. 25 Then someone came and said, “Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple courts teaching the people.” 26 At that, the captain went with his officers and brought the apostles. They did not use force, because they feared that the people would stone them. 27 Having brought the apostles, they made them appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. 28 “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.””

The Sanhedrin is attacking the living truth of God here – there are three reasons why they arrested the apostles and put them in jail.

  1. They didn’t obey the first order to stop preaching
  2. They hated Jesus and killed Jesus – their message was, “Jesus is now alive”. Also key members of the Sanhedrin were Saduccees – and they didn’t believe in the resurrection of the dead – but this is the KEY message of the apostles
  3. They were jealous of the success of these untrained, simple men (v. 17). The angel of the Lord freed them and sent them to the temple courts to preach

That’s why they couldn’t stand their preaching.

What a contrast between the Sanhedrin and the apostles.

  • They were trained, ordained, high class, but had no ministry of power
    • The apostles were unskilled laborers, laymen, but the power of God was in their message
  • The Sanhedrin were trying to protect their old traditions
    • The apostles were risking their lives to preach the new message of God

The dynamic Christian is enjoying the NEW, but the dead religion is holding onto the old.

We can see many emotions here:

  1. jealousy (v. 17)
  2. puzzled / perplexed (v. 24)
  3. fear (v. 26)
  4. fury / furious (v. 33)
  5. murderous intent (v. 33)

Jealousy is murdering my own character.

v. 20 “”Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people the full message of this new life.””

This is holistic life – and can be found ONLY in Jesus Christ.

  • “I am the Bread of Life” he says. (there’s a large church in Manila with this name), “he who comes to me, will never go hungry.”
  • “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”
  • “I am the Resurrection and the Life.”
  • “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

John 5:11-12 “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son, has life; he who does not have the Son of God, does not have life.”

Only this kind of life can be found in Christ.

#2 Apostles affirm the truth

v. 29-32

“5:29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men! 30 The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead–whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. 32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.””

Usually, we can obey God by obeying man, because (Romans) all authorities have been established by God. (Also, “do your best to live at peace with everybody”). But in the matter of worship, our position must be exclusive, uncompromising, inflexible. There is a good example in the OT.

Daniel’s three friends, in Daniel chp 3. Nebuchadnezzar made a large image of gold and said all people must bow before it, or be thrown into the fire. But Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow. The king gave them one more chance to worship this idol. What was their answer? Very clearly they said, “Oh, king, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown to the burning furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from that fire. He will deliver us from your hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know that we will NEVER worship your gods, nor the image of gold you have set up.”

This is the true Christian’s position.

In this story, the apostles also could not change their position because they could not serve 2 masters.

We also are ambassadors of Christ, not diplomats (as witnesses) – so there is no compromise. Also, the apostles did not change their message. Their message from 2,000 years ago should be our message as well:

  • Jesus Christ died for your sins (my sins), and was raised again for our eternal life.

“Only Jesus” is the eternal Savior from death, hell, the penalty of sin, etc.

#3 Gamaliel Avoided the truth

v. 33-39

“5:33 When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death. 34 But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. 35 Then he addressed them: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36 Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. 37 After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.””

To the reaction of the apostles, the Sanhedrin were furious and wanted to kill them. They were probably almost about to kill them, but a Pharisee named Gamaliel persuaded them not to – he was highly respected by all the people. Paul also was trained by this man before his conversion. So, he was a very famous man.

Using two examples, he offered advice: “Don’t kill them yourselves now, if this is from man, they will die someday. But if this is from God, they will succeed and we will be fighting God.”

Because Gamaliel was so famous, they received his advice and let the apostles go with a beating. Yes, God used Gamaliel’s advice to save the apostles from death.

Outwardly, this looks “nice” – but spiritually, this response is unwise, unbiblical, wrong, and dangerous. Why?

  • Gamaliel classified Christ with ordinary men – “just another zealot” trying to free Israel from Rome. But, we must understand that in human history, there is no one who is comparable to Christ. His birth, life, death, and resurrection is a one time event – so none of it can be compared to any other. His coming into the world is God coming into human history and saving this world.
  • Gamaliel was only avoiding the truth – this is another method for rejecting the truth. Avoiding = another form of rejecting. His motive is important. He encouraged neutrality when the Sanhedrin was needing a definite decision. He was voting “No” to their death by advising “someday.”

Is Christ your Savior and Lord?

This is a simple and short question. To this simple question, our individual answer must be very clear. “Yes” or “No” – our answer cannot be neutral – it cannot by “maybe” or “almost” or “hopefully” – only “Yes” or “No.” Our answer must be very clear.

ALL answers that are not “Yes” are simply “No” – do not be deceived.

Gamaliel’s suggestion is “be neutral” – not “yes” nor “no.”

But, Christ made it very clear that it is impossible to be neutral. Matt 12:30 “He who is not with me, is against me. He who does not gather with me, scatters.”

You cannot be neutral about Christ. If our answer is “Yes”, then we are to ANNOUNCE the living truth of God.

#4 Finally, the apostles Announce the truth

v. 40-42

“5:40 His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. 42 Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.”

Can you imagine this picture? Can you follow this example in your practical life?

  • In the first persecution, the Sanhedrin released Peter and John with : THREATS
  • In the second persecution, they released them with : THREATS + BEATING

Maybe each apostle received 39 lashes (40 was considered to kill a person) and released. And they left the Sanhedrin not unhappily, but rejoicing. Why? There are two reasons:

  1. Persecution was the opportunity to demonstrate their loyalty to Christ
  2. It was also an opportunity to share in the experience of Christ “Those who share the cross bearing, will share the crown wearing.”

Jesus says, “Blessed are the persecuted – when people insult you and say all kinds of false evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven. They also persecuted the prophets in this way.”

Last verse is an excellent model to follow. If we are witnesses of Christ, remember this last verse is an excellent pattern to follow.

v. 42

“Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.”

They received 39 lashes, but NEVER stopped. In this one verse, this is an excellent pattern we should follow. Here are five points to practice.

  1. “Day after day” – witness is a daily job, not a special event / performance – just like our eating, drinking, sleeping. This should be our lifestyle
  2. “In the temple courts” – witness should be PUBLIC, official, before a crowd – in your class, school, government, office, etc
  3. “From house to house” – witness can be private job – individual, door to door, man to man, to our family members and relatives, co-workers, strangers on the street, in the market, etc
  4. “Teaching and proclaiming” (teaching and preaching) – witnessing = teaching and preaching (not only preaching) Teaching = instruction, growth, Preaching = evangelism, conversion – so the two of them together gives us the full process of salvation. Do you have somebody as your student whom you are teaching for his spiritual growth?
  5. “Good news that Jesus is the Christ” – our teaching / preaching must be focused and centered on Christ – the author and perfector of our faith

2 Cor 4:5 “We do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ our Lord and ourselves as your servant for Jesus’ sake.” Whether we teach or preach, our witness should be focused on Jesus Christ alone.

Let us pray together.

  • Jan 26 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Retaliation and Rejoicing (Acts 5:34-42)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Retaliation and Rejoicing (Acts 5:34-42)

01.26

01.26.2014 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

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34 But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while.

35 Then he addressed them: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36 Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. 37 After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

40 His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. 42 Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.


Peter had spoken to these guys earlier and been quite clear that THEY had condemned Jesus to death on the cross.

But he was equally clear that God was granting repentance through this – to the Jews first, then the Gentiles.

But it was clear that these guys weren’t ready to hear this at that time. They were furious – they wanted to kill them all. But then Gamaliel stood up and spoke and changed their minds.

He was a very respected man – grandson of Hillel (who had founded a school for Pharisees). Later, in Acts, Luke tells that Gamaliel had been Paul’s teacher. He was so respected that he was given the title “Rabban” – this is higher than “Rab” (teacher) or “Rabbi” (my teacher) – “Rabban” = (our teacher).

In other texts, it’s said that when he died, the glory of the Torah came to an end. These in the Sanhedrin can’t really take action without the help of Gamaliel. Even though Gamaliel is in the minority, he is more popular and respected among the people – so they would need his agreement to harm the apostles.

Gamaliel speaks and says, “If this is a human thing, it’ll fail. If it’s from God, it’ll never fail.”

He reminded them of the attempted Nazarene revolution and how the Romans would kill the leader and the revolution would fail.

Why would Gamaliel advocate leniency toward the apostles?

Previously, in the gospels, when the man was lowered through the roof for healing, Jesus forgave his sins first, then healed him physically to prove his authority to forgive sins.

Another instance (Luke 7:29-30) “All the people, when they heard Jesus’ words acknowledged that God’s way was right because they had been baptized by John. But the Pharisees…didn’t accept it because they hadn’t been baptized by John.” John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. Renouncing sins, turning away and being prepared for the further ministry of Jesus.

So, on that occasion, the Pharisees didn’t agree with this.

Luke 11:37-41 – Jesus was invited to eat with a Pharisee. So he went in and reclined at the table. But the Pharisee was surprised when he saw that Jesus didn’t wash before the meal. (The Pharisees did a ritual cleansing – not because they were dirty – before meals) – Jesus said, “You guys clean the outside, but inside you are dirty and full of wickedness. Did not he who made the outside also make the inside? So be kind to the poor and all will go well with you.”

Gamaliel must have also been on the counsel when they condemned Jesus and handed him over for crucifixion. So, he hadn’t helped Jesus out at that time, but now he’s trying to help these guys? What’s up with that?

Well maybe not all the Pharisees hated Jesus. Remember Nicodemus? John 3? “How can I be born again?” Jesus said, “Unless you’re born of the Spirit, you cannot enter into the kingdom of God, or even see it.”

New biography of C.S.Lewis – how he first came to believe in Christ. He believed in God – he was a theist – but he didn’t know where Jesus fit in. Lewis, “I was on my way to the zoo – BAM – on the way home, I knew it.” (Revelation of God after God had been working on his heart for a while). For some people, this is gentler, for some it’s very dramatic, but ALL people must believe and accept this truth to become NEW – old has gone, new has come. We are new creations.

Later on, after the outpouring of the HS, many Pharisees became Christians (Acts 15:5) – they still had trouble breaking away from their legalism, but many were added to their number.

Gamaliel, as a Pharisee, would be more sympathetic to those who preached about the Resurrection (remember Sadduccees didn’t believe in angels or demons or the resurrection).

After the martyrdom of Steven, Gamaliel probably gave approval to persecute the church. So, was Gamaliel’s help here tinged with personal interests?

He probably didn’t want to get involved in a situation that would end up having bad political influences on the Jews. (Plus, those other two guys’ revolutions came to nothing).

Anyway, he persuaded them, and they flogged the apostles (39 lashes – 40 should kill a man, so they were nice and let them live by a thread).

Paul later says in a letter, “5 times I received from the Jews 40 lashes minus 1.”

The apostles rejoiced in being counted worthy to be persecuted for Jesus’ name. Jesus also said this, Matthew 11 “Blessed are you when men despise you and curse you…”

We should realize that we can forgive, we can overcome addition, through Jesus help.

Recap the chapter:

  1. An angel of the Lord releases the apostles from prison and they go back to the temple and begin to teach the people the full message of salvation and the New Life in Christ.
  2. Some men were supposed to go to the prison to get them and bring them before the Sanhedrin for trial. But they guys weren’t there. So, they had to go back to arrest them again.
  3. The apostles don’t resist arrest.
  4. The High Priest says, “We ordered you: Don’t do that!”
  5. Peter says, “We must obey God, not you dudes.”
  6. The priest want to kill them.
  7. Gamaliel says, “Yo! Let it be~”

Ananias and Sapphaira (supplement)

There is a danger in neglecting (not continuing) our salvation.

Some believers can quote the Scripture, “If you know the truth, the truth will set you free” but they aren’t free, why not?

They should really remember the previous verse, “IF you CONTINUE in my Word…”

It’s in the continuing and progressive truth that we will be set more and more free.

There is a danger of demonic control of the saints – losing control. It’s important to know that your openness to attack or wounding is present. Luke – there was a woman who’d been sick for 18 years be a spirit. She was bent over double – it was caused by a demon. She was a “daughter of Abraham” – a believer – but she had a problem. As soon as Jesus dismissed the spirit from her, she was able to be physically healed.

Peter is an example of a believer who lost control to Satan for a short time. Jesus says, “Peter, Satan will sift you.” (Separate the wheat chaff (rejects) from the grain (to make flour)). Jesus is warning Peter that Satan has demanded permission to sift him. Apparently he’d given Satan a foothold when they were arguing amongst themselves about who is the greatest (pride). This may have opened a door to allow Satan to come in to influence him.

Even though Peter says, “I’ll stand with you to death.” Jesus says, “You’ll deny me three times.” But Jesus had already prayed for Peter’s successful restoration – which he achieved after meeting the resurrected Jesus.

Eph 6:10-17 (The Full Armor of God)

To stand against the schemes, the whiles, the strategies of Satan. Why? To protect the body from the arrows of the enemy.

1. The Belt of Truth (believing the doctrine of the gospel – also inner truth – to bring our lives into conformity with the truth – don’t allow deception to grab you). A&S were part of the church, taking part in the church – but they believed and told a lie and brought God’s judgment upon them and fear upon the church.

  • “In your anger, do not sin.” We can do something about our anger – someone cuts you off on the road, what should you do?
  • “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.”
  • “Don’t give the devil a foothold.”

We allow the devil an opportunity to tempt and influence us if we don’t repent, confess, and shut that door.

It’s like someone who comes to your door selling something, and they stick their foot in your door and eventually, this “foothold” becomes a stronghold when they get IN your house.

Don’t allow him in – not EVEN a foothold. Shut that door!

1 Peter 5:6-9

“Your adversary the devil prowls about like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.” (1 Cor 15:54) “Death is swallowed up in victory.” (same word).

Devoured = something is controlled by something else. For example, a python that eats a gazelle. The animal is being swallowed up.

Peter “Resist. Steadfast in the faith.”

This is about believers.

Unbelievers are already in the grasp of Satan.

Perhaps Peter is remembering his own failures. So he says, “Humble yourselves and he will lift you up in due time.”

A&S conceived their lie in their hearts and Satan fueled and filled their hearts to make a massive deception. Actually, the church is filled with deception. The global church in fact…

The days are evil.

We don’t have to get bogged down in fear, but rejoice in Christ’s truth – because that truth will set us free.

Like the disciples, we can rejoice in our sufferings because it is Christ alone who breaks our bonds and sets us free.

Let’s pray.

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Listen