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Freed from Prison (Acts 5:12-32)

May 22, 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 Power of God’s Word and Spirit at Solomon’s Portico. Elder Duncanson warns against having an indifferent attitude toward Christ. The focus of this sermon is on how the Gospel requires a response and reliance on Christ in the face of persecution.

A Response: Disbelief/Apprehension

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None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem (Acts 5:13; ESV).”

These early believers had a message they could not contain.  Solomon’s Portico was becoming a commonplace for them to share and show the love of Christ in unexplainable ways, through signs and wonders (v. 12). Unfortunately, the hearts of the people in this area were not much different from when Christ displayed the power of God (John 10:23-42). Elder Duncanson describes their attitude as indifferent, to which they were unwilling to believe the message of the Gospel. Although they held the church in high esteem, their hearts were hardened toward the message of Christ.

Another Response: Belief/Awakening

And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, so that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed (Acts 5:14-15; ESV).

Christ understood the significance of conversion. In fact, He directly linked seeing, hearing and a penitent heart to His healing power (Matthew 13:13-17). Therefore, He charged His apostles along with their fellow-believers to preach the gospel to all the nations and make disciples, teaching them what He had commanded them (Matthew 28:18-20).  The early church desired to obey Christ, knowing that their popularity would lead to definite persecution.  As a result, Christ honored His Word by drawing men and women unto Himself and granting these believers the words to say in the face of persecution (Matthew 10:15-26).

Reliance: Boldness in the Face of Persecution

But the high priest rose up, and all who were with him (that is, the party of the Sadducees), and filled with jealousy they arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life. And when they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and began to teach (Acts 5:17-21; ESV).

Apparently, the religious leaders did not understand that their efforts of trying to stop the proclamation of the Gospel were just adding fuel to the fire. They did not understand that Jesus Christ is Lord, Leader and Savior (cf. Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Herod). However, Peter reminds them that Christ is Lord of All. He is Leader because He has life-sustaining power. He is also Savior because He alone saves completely (vv. 31-32).

How will you respond in light of the Gospel?

The problem for the religious leaders and the indifferent was not a deficiency or lack of signs and wonders to accompany the Word of God, the problem was the hardness of their heart. Indifference will not be an option on the Day of Judgment.

Do you want to know why we cannot remain silent? This community of believers walked faithful to their calling, they were unashamed for the Gospel’s sake, and they face persecution boldly for Jesus because when it comes to obey God rather than man, we cannot be silent.

Listen to this week’s full sermon for free.

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