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Unashamed: The Boldness of Peter and John (Acts 4:13-22)

April 30, 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 underlines the need for boldness in the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Pastor Carter expresses that the Christian life is not one of simply knowing about Jesus Christ, instead it is one characterized by being sure of His life-giving and sustaining power in your life. The focus of this sermon is on how the Holy Spirit enabled Peter and John to rely on the promises of Christ made them unexpected, undaunted, and unashamed.

Peter and John: Unexpected 

20140311-184658.jpgNow when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition (Acts 4:13, 14; ESV).”

How could these men dare stand up against the religious leaders, who by their accolades, achievements, and popularity among the people?  They perceived Peter and John to be unlearned and ignorant men (KJV). Pastor Carter expounds on these two words. Carter points out that unlearned or agrammatos (Greek), meant that these men were seen as poorly educated or illiterate, and ignorant or idiotes (Greek, to which we get the word “idiot”) in the eyes of these religious men. However, the irony was although these were educated and not ignorant, they acknowledged that Peter and John had been with Jesus and knew Him well. Thus, the mere fact that Peter and John had nothing to boast in expect the power of Christ and His promises, they were undaunted when standing before these men to witness for Christ.

Peter and John: Undaunted

But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name. So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:17, 18; ESV).

Apparently, these religious men were not as educated and wise as they perceived themselves. They had previously recognized that Peter and John were with Jesus and held firmly to what they saw Him do and told them. Jesus told His disciples to preach. The council tells them not to preach. Think how illogical this approach to try to stop these men from spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ was for these religious men.  Therefore, the disciples ask themselves, “Should we listen to God or man?

Peter and John: Unashamed

But Peter and John answered them, Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard. And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people, for all were praising God for what had happened (Acts 4:19-21; ESV).

Peter and John rightly understood to whom they should fear (cf. Prov. 1:8, 9:10).  They did not fear the council. They did not fear the people (cf. King Saul, 1 Samuel 13). In fact, Peter and John were bold for Jesus. They refused to be silent after all they seen and heard from Christ their Lord and Savior. They were walking in the promises of Christ.

Shall I listen to you or should I listen to God?

Sin is not rational, nor is it logical. Desire for popularity approval will numb your spiritual senses (Jer. 17:5-10). You can know about Jesus Christ and not know Him (John 5:37-39). The council wanted Peter and John to deny Christ. Nevertheless, Peter had sinned in this way against Christ before, and since he received forgiveness from Christ, he had a heart of gratitude that compelled him to obey His commands this time around.

Is that you today? Have you received the grace and truth found only in Jesus Christ (John 1:14)? When you have seen the power of Christ in your life and others, no one can tell you to deny Him. When you spend time with Jesus, your life will become an undeniable testimony of what He has done. Boldness comes when you forget about yourself and you really consider Christ (Heb. 12).

Listen to this week’s full sermon for free.

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