Acts 4 – part one

We arrive today at Acts chapter 4 – a pivotal one in the whole power dynamic between the old guard (the Temple rulers) and the new (the apostles). But first, we need a little background.

The truth will shine

How confident are you in the truth of the gospel? That it makes rational sense? Are you confident that despite all of the other enticing belief systems on display in the great smorgasbord of faith – that the Christian gospel will stand out as the truth?

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Acts 4 – part two

Yesterday, we looked at the background to the looming showdown in Acts 4 between the Temple rulers and the apostles. (You’d best start there if you’re just joining us.) Today, we look at the showdown itself.

The leaders are threatened

Because the ruling elite in Jerusalem are threatened by all that had happened, particularly after the healing of the lame man in chapter 3. You can see it in their reaction, immediately after Peter’s speech, which begins today’s chapter.

Acts 4:1-2 The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.

Teaching the people? Hang on… That’s our job! Arrest these men!

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Acts 4 – part three

This week, we’re continuing to look at the showdown between the Temple elite and the apostles, recorded in Acts 4. (You’d best start with part one on Thursday if you’re just joining us.) They were arrested and warned not to keep speaking about Jesus, but because the crowd had seen the miraculous healing, the authorities were effectively powerless to stop them. We pick the story up where they’ve just been released.

The apostles pray

As soon as they’re released, Peter and John go back to the rest of the believers and tell them what happened. Their first response? To high-five each other over their impressive rhetoric and bravery? No.

4:24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them.”

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Acts 4 & 5 – the truth will shine

Today, we wrap up our week-long look at the showdown in Acts 4 and 5, and draw some lessons from it.

The truth will shine

Because the way Luke’s told this story, he’s trying to say something to his reader, Theophilus. Probably a wealthy, educated man. Someone who knows his history of Greek philosophy. Someone who knows the story of Socrates – how he was accused of leading the people astray; how he was opposed by jealous rulers more worried about their own power than the truth; how he, famously, refused to give in to intimidation – he must obey the gods rather than humans; and how ultimately, history vindicated him. The truth prevailed. A generation later, Socrates’ rational style of teaching had become the foundation of Greek philosophy.

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