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Preaching Christ in Custody (Acts 4:1-12)

April 16, 2014

Reflecting on the Passage:

Here at East Point Church, we have begun a new sermon series entitled “Acts: The Spirit and the Church in the World“. This week’s sermon highlights the most essential truth of the Gospel, Christ’s resurrection. Pastor Carter labors the point that without Jesus Christ, there is no hope for humanity. The focus of this sermon is on the uniqueness, necessity, and exclusivity of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

The Uniqueness of Jesus Christ

20140311-184658.jpgAnd they arrested them and put them in custodyand when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well (Acts 4:3, 7-10; ESV).”

Peter was questioned by the same men who questioned Jesus, and not only had these been the same men, they asked Peter the same question they asked Jesus, “by what power did you do this” (Luke 20:2)?  The real irony is in fact that while they were questioning Christ, Peter was outside denying Him. Now, Peter stands boldly testifying before these men in the power and conviction of the Holy Spirit. Peter testifies of the Jesus whom they crucified, but whom God has raised from the dead. This Jesus provided the power to heal the lame man.

The Necessity of Jesus Christ

This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone (Acts 4:11; ESV).

The resurrection of Jesus Christ was enough to convict the Sadducees, considering they denied anyone being able to rise from the dead, but now Peter takes his indictment a step further.  Filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter was able to use Psalm 118:22 to convict the Sadducees and Pharisees of rejecting Jesus Christ, who is the cornerstone. The reason why this indictment was so convicting lies in the fact that these men believed themselves to be the keepers and builders of God’s house.  These leaders prided themselves on their knowledge and traditions of the law given by Moses.  However, as Christ said to them many times, although they sought the Scriptures diligently they missed the most important truth, the only way to God the Father is through Jesus Christ, His Son (John 5:15-47).

The Exclusivity of Jesus Christ

And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12; ESV).

Peter sums up his message with the exclusivity of Jesus Christ.  After illustrating the uniqueness and necessity of Christ, Peter provokes these men to respond to the gospel by giving them the truth of the gospel.  “There is salvation in no one else”. These men had no other option, but to surrender to this Jesus whom they crucified and whom God raised from the dead. This message was great and promising because even though these men had sinned greatly against God, yet God still provided a way for them to repent and receive forgiveness of their sin.

Are you living a life without Jesus Christ?

The presence of God is not a safe place. Those in their sin, run from His Word; but those who rest in Him, know while His presence is not safe, it is the best place to be. There is only one way to God, which God has graciously provided, namely his Son, Jesus Christ. The reason we must have Christ is that there is no salvation without Him.  If there were another way, then Christ would not have had to die on the cross at Calvary. However, because God has provided in Jesus the way to God, we can be reconciled to a God who loves and cares for us.

Are you seeking salvation in some other way today? Do you think that your works will please God? God attested to Jesus through the resurrection. Jesus lives up to His name (Matt. 1:21).  Thus, if you build a life without Jesus Christ, your labor is in vain, because without Him you have nothing (Ps. 127; John 1:3, 15).

Listen to this week’s full sermon for free.

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