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August 7, 2020 8:00 am
Wouldn't you like to go back in time and sit with the early believers as they met for worship.
When you love to see how they live together as a community of faith sharing the good news of Jesus. We don't have a Time Machine but in next chapter 4. We do have a portrait of the worship and work of the early church, welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet program with Dr. James voice preparing you to think and act likely Peter led the church in prayer the earth shook, and everyone was filled with the spirit, the believers cared for one another so no one was in the. The apostles talk constantly about Jesus resurrection.
Let's hear all about it now from Dr. Boyce.
I don't know if you enjoy getting missionary letters like I do. I suppose in this age of massive publications and communications that there are people who at those flutters throw them away. Why they do the advertisements come in the mail but I for my part. Enjoy them. I enjoy reading them because by reading them. I feel that doors open for man to the Christian church and some relatively remote area of the world. I get a portrait a picture, a glimpse and what God is doing somewhere else. I say that because when we come to this book about acts that were studying. We have something like that. Only it's not a portrait into a church that exists today, but it's glimpse into a church that existed many hundreds of years ago, almost 2000 years ago have a glimpse into the early church church as it existed in the first day's after Pentecost as the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles and blessed our witness and through their testimony to the resurrected Christ began to draw men and women from all walks of life and all nationalities into this one great glorious fellowship of the people of God that we call the church early church had its problems, was in a perfect church has its sins, just as our churches today have sins when we come to the fifth chapter that were going to be looking at next week were going to see one of them and it was a very serious thing indeed God himself treated it very seriously with cell when we look at these early chapters of discharge. What we find is something which is encouraging and is undoubtedly intended by God to be model and encouragement for us. We seen one portrait of this early church already refounded the very end of chapter 2 after Pentecost which is described at the beginning of the chapter in Peter's first great sermon work of the Holy Spirit to draw many faith in Christ we have that sure of the church observing all the apostles teaching and giving attention to the fellowship in the breaking of bread and prayer as described in verses 42, 47 now when we come to the end of chapter 4 which is the point at which our studies of Protestant, might we find another such portrait portrait is so I have tried to explain by the title of this sermon of this church at worship and at work, worship, because in the first half of the section that is verses 23 to 31 we find Peter leading the church. The fellowship of the people of God and the great prayer and praise and thanksgiving and then at work because it's in the latter portion of the chapter from verse 32 to the end we see them actually operating as fellowship of renewed people find them there. United heart and mind sharing everything I have been doing their best witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. That's what I'd like us look at some things we look at in the Bible are discouraging. At least we see ourselves judged by what we find there. We look at it in our hearts are cast out we say we're not like that. This is not meant to be a discouraging picture it's meant to be an encouraging one. Because what we find here the early church is one in essence every true fellowship with Jesus Christ as is what we are. If we really are thankful to God what is done for us through the Savior bow. It's important to see this in the context and for that I remind you of what we have already been looking at in chapters 3 and four.
The background is this first miracle that was done by Lord Jesus Christ through the hands of his apostles Peter and John were on their way up to the temple. There they saw a lame man man who had been blamed for many many years were told in the fourth chapter that he was over 40 years old when he was healed like been there for a long long time and everybody knew this was his place. That's where he eBay everybody knew that man was there and he was in a good place because that's where people went through the gate to worship God and hard to go into worship God with the stony heart you're going to approach and had to be with the gracious yielded sensitive heart and I'm sure this man.
It was impoverished because of his lameness receive the bounty of many sensitive worshiping people that he raped as see lay there, Peter and John went by, he asked for all Peter said we don't have any gold or silver to give you that point the man must've drawn back greatly disappointed, but Peter said something that was even greater said we don't have any silver and gold to give you but such as we have. We do give you and so in the name of Jesus of Nazareth rise up and walk in the man did. We don't know all of the dynamics of this week probably should assume that this man knew about Jesus of Nazareth and had faith in him. And when that point was put to him and the challenge was made. He believed that Jesus of Nazareth about whom he heard so much and in whom he was already faintly believing really was able to heal and so he responded in faith were told that assisted by Peter and John took a bite.
I had lifted him up. He found faith restored and he went with them in the temple leaping and jumping and praising God. It's really a marvelous picture that Luke paints for us.
She describes at first miracle. Peter and John were happy. The Christians were happy.
The lame man was happy for the rulers of the people were not happy now wasn't exactly the kind of situation that you have some war-torn countries where there's a curfew.
Everybody has to be off the streets by 9 o'clock at night. There can be no gatherings of any groups greater than six or seven wasn't exactly that. But these were volatile times the leaders were worried whenever anything too intense began to happen here that was a big crowd gathered around was somebody speaking it was Peter who was preaching the gospel because he had a marvelous audience. As a result of this great miracle man like that so they sent the temple guard. I called Peter and John in the began to question them. And as they began to question these men it says they were astonished because they were the learned man, that is, they haven't been trained in the rabbinical schools yet here they were not only eloquently preaching something they earnestly believe, but courageous enough to do it in the face of the Sanhedrin, because the message as it turned out, was about Jesus, whom the Sanhedrin had been most instrumental in seeing crucified and Peter and John didn't hesitate to say that they have done it and were answerable to God for his death. Nothing to courageously so they look at these men.
They were greatly astounded by what was happening and they said to themselves whatever we going to do this a picture of great frustration here and it's what I'm going into this because it's important background for what Peter is going to lead the early church and doing later as they worship God for his deliverance background part of these religious leaders is frustration. They had thought because this was one source of their frustration that they had done away with this business of Jesus of Nazareth by the crucifixion because trouble for three years. He got around all over the country preaching these crazy things, winning a lot of disciples moving a lot of people, but entirely apart from the established religious structures and taking upon himself him a man with no official learning and no official sanction by this august body of Jewish leaders taking upon himself to interpret the law and not only to interpret the law, but doing away contrary. In some cases to their regulation. Such men are dangerous and so they did away with them, but here within a short time after this man's death and his alleged resurrection for men who were like him on thoughts yet who were equally courageous and who like Jesus were beginning to turn the city upside down letting been a great deal more frustrated and frightened of.
They do know what was happening. What Jesus said because it said to them, I'm sending you to be witnesses not only to Jerusalem but Judea and Samaria under the outermost regions of the world. Sometime later, when Paul was carrying out the same ministry and came to a certain city. They said in reference to him.
These men who were turning the world upside down, and come here also, and that's certainly what Peter and John and all the others were doing these men only begun to see the world so I doubt that's a message of God on God.
They were greatly frustrated and that was something else to frustrated them. Something I haven't referred to earlier in verse 14 of that fourth chapter that were studying the we passed on beyond this. Now it says, but since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them. There was nothing they could say no to appreciate the sort of thing. As you study the Bible but looks certainly use that word standing intentionally. I mean, it would've been quite all right with the been perfectly good historical narration to say there was the man who had been healed with them. Nothing wrong with that. That was true was Larry was with them, but you're safe is a man who had been laying as Amanda couldn't stand as almost as a man would been healed a lame man would been healed, was there in the presence of the Sanhedrin with Peter and John, the vehicles by God of his healing standing with them and everybody knowing you say some story of some supposed far off healing somewhere that may or may not have been true family and seemed day after day after day at the gate of the temple all these priests, always leaders of the people going in and out and about in and out every time they did it several times a day because they were pious Jews. They live in Jerusalem might see that man I know that man and here he was standing standing water frustration. It was to make an application of them. I want to do it in this way, the word standing is the basis of the word for resurrection. Now I'm not saying it's the same thing but it's his word use resurrection word for resurrection as a preface in front of it is this statement a anatomist they may is the way you get word for resurrection so in the Greek mind is the Greek talk about the resurrection that once were resurrected were standing up once as you can understand why did man is like data resurrected man standing up.
That's why they use the word I want to throw another text into that the apostle Paul when he is writing about his aspirations as a follower of Jesus Christ says in Philippians in the third chapter that his desire in life is to share in the fellowship of Christ's sufferings, becoming like him in his death. And so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection of the dead did Paul mean by that.
Did Paul mean that somehow if he suffered enough of Jesus Christ. Jesus might raise them at the last day. I don't think Paul meant that all wild and have the faintest doubt that he was going to be raised somebody with Christ at the last day. He's not talking about the future here is talking about the present disease saying here is, he talks about his aspirations as a Christian. He wants to be so conformed to Jesus Christ in his death, is dying to self in order that he made to Jesus that right here and now he stands before the people as a resurrected one was everybody else, spiritually speaking, is flat on their back and Paul wanted to be known as one of standing up. I say that in order to say that what really does frustrate the world is not the words of Christians, but the resurrected power of Jesus Christ that makes us standing up ones in their midst.
See here somebody who before his conversion was a great scoundrel everything he could to get ahead, he would clamp on anybody. His motto was that it's a dog's world and what you have to do is get hit by whatever means, and then he meets Jesus Christ be transformed is not like it was before. He's in the midst of dead men. But he's not a dead man is a resurrected man.
He's at standing up one or here's another person was a great gossip while they like to do was spread stories and then I met Jesus Christ and began to learn something about him learn what truth was he set on the way the truth and the life I learned that have to speak truth and so their speech is changed and now the midst that same company company of people that operate like dead people spiritually speaking. Here you have another standing up one that is always going to be the frustration of the world and that was the frustration of these leaders. All if it were merely a matter of philosophy I could about argue Peter were only a matter of interpretation of the law they could've interpreted as they thought and perhaps with the conviction of the people better than John but usually there was at standing up one was a man who had been healed but I couldn't say anything against that.
So they did what the world is a world threatened him and behind the threats. There was imprisonment eventually that happened and after imprisonment. There's death world can always kill you and eventually that happens, but in the meantime, there was standing up one and they know it and everybody else knew it as well.
Out this early stage. They really didn't have anything to do.
I couldn't stop which I couldn't very well for the sake of the healing kill Peter so they stopped at the threatening and they let them go and Peter and John went out for that company.
They rejoined the brethren we find in this latter portion of the chapter and they had an impromptu worship service as they began to thank God for what he had done in this first significant appearance of the disciples of Jesus Christ before the mighty of this world. Apparently they look into prayer instinctively. See verse 24 says when I heard this Peter and John came and told their story how they had appear before the Sanhedrin about a given the words to say Jesus himself said when you appear before the rulers of this world and give thought in advance what you're going to site and will be given you want to say and that is certainly what happened to give a courageous testimony, and they explained that perhaps even explained it in reference to what Jesus Christ said and were told when they heard this instinctively as I say they raise their voices together in prayer to God and they began to praise him for his deliverance. Now the prayers given. Perhaps Peter is the one that led it. I don't know that. But I do know that they began to quote from the second Saul say when God's people worship God, they always do two things they pray and they reflect on the Scriptures prayers are talking to God. Scriptures are God's talking to Austin to go together. You pray aright when you're praying scripturally and you study the Scriptures right when you study them prayerfully and here's what this early church was doing, they began to reflect on the Scriptures and as they began to pray the Scriptures as it were welled up in their consciousness and they articulated their praise to God in God's own words. Words I had in Scripture is amazing isn't it. I hope you're beginning to get this by now, but it's amazing. I think that already so early in the church. Everything they do all their thoughts all the reflections when it comes to the gospel are based in some way or another upon the word of God. I say that's amazing, because it was a time not very long before this six weeks before the seven weeks before this eight weeks before this. I didn't understand these things at all. Recall that Jesus Christ tried to teach them about his death and resurrection during the days of his ministry and he did so scripturally told again and again he began to teach them that he had to fulfill the Scriptures by being delivered up to the chief priests of the Gentiles to be tried and beaten and crucified. But he said the third day I will rise again understand any of it all.
He was teaching them. He was the greatest teacher that ever lived was expounding the Scriptures. The Scriptures made it perfectly clear that they just didn't get it didn't fit their preconceptions.
They said to themselves or the Messiah, the Messiah doesn't die. We know that the Messiah is the one who reigns in power, the Messiah is the one was going to drive out the Romans why I don't know what you're talking about Jesus. And when Jesus said that on one occasion Peter had the temerity to rebuke him, he said, far be it from you Lord that you should never stop or die. And Jesus said to say get behind me Satan you're not being led by the Holy Spirit. That's the devil speaking through you. I must die to say but still he didn't get and I look just a short time after long passages I say weeks six weeks seven weeks eight weeks very short time afterwards. They begin to speak about the significance of his death and resurrection, and instinctively extensively they refer to the Old Testament see what we found. Already we found in the first chapter that when they began to choose replacement for Judas. They did so on the basis of what it said in Psalm 69 and Psalm 109 Solomon Peter stood up again preaching the day of Pentecost.
Steve made the basis of the sermon. Three. Great text from the Old Testament he preached from Joel two verses 28 through 32 prophecy of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit in the latter-day Psalm 16, verses eight through 11 prophesied the resurrection of Christ in Psalm 110 verse one, in which the Lord, that is God Almighty said to my Lord, that is Jesus Christ set up my right hand so I make your enemies a footstool for your feet, and even in chapter 4 when Peter appeared before the Sanhedrin. He quoted from Psalm 118 verse 22 the stone you builders rejected has become the capstone. See what's happening their minds been transformed because although in a certain sense, you would say being devout Jews, they knew the Scriptures they read them and they heard the bread in the synagogues and I am sure they even memorize them.
They knew these words, the way people used to know the Bible in our country when they really did memorize it. They don't anymore. They knew the words but they didn't really know the Scriptures and then Jesus died and rose again Holy Spirit came in. Their eyes were opened and now they saw the Old Testament in an entirely new light where I think about that I think about how the Lord himself was instrumental in doing that with the Emmaus disciples send their friends on that first Easter day story is told Luke 24. If you read carefully, you find that in that chapter.
There are three great openings.
First of all when he meets with the two of them on the way to Emmaus. They don't understand what's happening or has happened were told.
He opened the Scriptures to he could have said you say look at me, Jesus don't you understand, but he didn't. He went to the Scriptures in the open Scriptures.
Things began to explain what the Scriptures taught concerning the resurrection.
That's the first thing and then secondly while they were sitting with him and he broke bread in their midst. It says their eyes were opened and they perceived we was they hadn't perceived that earlier. Their eyes had been blinded, but now suddenly their eyes were opened. First, the Scriptures, you say, and then their eyes, and then we are told.
Thirdly, later on in the chapter that after they went back to Jerusalem with the message were all assembled there in the upper room and Jesus came and appeared in their midst. It says then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures generally reopen the Scriptures they open their eyes. Now he opened their minds.
From my point on I never understood the Old Testament of the same way again or put it in more correct language for the first time in their lives. They really understood it. Now you see when they turn to Genesis.
They found Jesus there when they turn Exodus about Jesus there.
When they turned the Psalms, I found Jesus there, and when they speak about him and when they pray to God.
These words just naturally come tumbling out.
I wonder if you do that when you pray to God you express your delight in him, in the words of Scripture's natural to do it. If you know Scripture. And if you don't I'll that's a great deficiency in your Christian life it's text, Peter uses especially the second Solomon's first time this is appeared at second Solomon is one of the great solvents I guess are all great. One of the especially great solvents in the solar it's a Psalm of human rebellion patents. That's the portion of it that Peter preaches right at the beginning. Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain. The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his anointed one. You know that Psalm you know what they say they go on to say this united force of the rulers of this world, let's break their bands and cast their fetters from us. The rebelling against God. You see God in his anointed, that is God the father and God the son, they say, as they did at the time of Jesus Christ. We will not have this man to rule over us as they said the pilot we have no king but Caesar cc we can manage. We know how to deal with Caesar, but we certainly aren't.
I have, God is arcane.
We certainly are good. I have this man Jesus is our King.
I went up break any claim he may have on my life because I want to run my life myself a course that's the spirit of the human heart. That's what sin is. It is saying to God I will not acknowledge you to be God, not for me.
You will be God for somebody else but not for me on my own God is what sin really is. You say here in this great song you have for classic Old Testament expression of it. Why is it that Peter and John and the others quote this on this occasion of the answer is obvious that's comes to mind because this is what the Sanhedrin is been doing I did in the case of Jesus is that we won't have this man to rule over us and they were doing it in the case of his disciples saber sign we will not hear their testimony or manhole were instrumental in the hands of God in the healing of the lame man they gave glory to Jesus Christ say it is by the name of Jesus of Nazareth that this man is made whole and the leaders of the people, the ones who should be most sensitive to spiritual things and certainly should search out the cause of a miracle and give God glory up that way it happened. These men simply said, we forbid you to speak in the name of Jesus anymore. They didn't want to hear you said you say we will not have this man to be our king. And you also know if you know that second Solomon what God's response is here all the rulers of the world taking arms against the Almighty gathering up all their weapons all their missiles all their tanks. All their guns resists God and break his claim upon what is inside us would say that God in heaven trembles with the United opposition of the race doesn't say anything of the sort.
It's the only place in the Bible. To my knowledge that were told that God laughs and says the Lord laughs, the Lord has them in derision. The Lord says they think they can break my falling sin leads men and women to any turns Lord Jesus Christ is anointed and says the I have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. You see, it's perfectly evident why the early church was praising God in those terms. They had said you say Sanhedrin will get rid of Jesus will kill Jesus will do away with his influence in God in power raised him from the dead and we just read about the ascension, God brought them up to heaven and seated upon his holy hell of Zion the king the king the king the Lord of all the earth.
Now they would do the same thing the disciples as I don't preach the name of Jesus.
You can preach in the name of Jesus I want. They say they said God is going to exalt Jesus. So we praise them for accuracy. Nothing is going to frustrate God.
That's why they begin by saying sovereign Lord that's the first time an accident with a prayer precisely his wife slobber Lord why because God is a difference whether men and women like it is asking their opinion. God is God. God is sovereign God will exalt Jesus Christ, and these been these early Christians are say well how marvelous how wonderful it is by the grace of God and by the grace of God to be on the winning side you say I might put the apostles in jail answer is not only might they they did say they might put them in chains and the responses. Not only might they put them in chains. I didn't put them in chains. You say I might kill them, and the responses they did, and yet you say Jesus is upon God's holy hill.
Jesus is the King Jesus is the ruler in Zion. The service you can buy the word of God is not bound.
That unleashed on bound powerful word reached out from that remote city of the Roman Empire to go throughout the entire world we come in second section of this and we see this brief little vignette the reflects of the church in these great early days like Eden.
Oh I know they were sinful, but that was still a glorious time and the author of the book once more sums up what God was doing among them. Notice first of all, verse 32. They were one in heart and mind is the foundation of everything they were going to do. I have spoken of this is the church at work.
They were at work they were doing a great work the greatest work the wrists and this is the foundation we were one in heart and mind.
The Greek text literally says heart and soul. I read that I know why they changed I suppose because it sounds like the old song heart and soul. I fell in love with you.
I do know maybe they thought that sounded inappropriate so they changed the heart and mind. Maybe the translator see something in that the goes beyond what I say perhaps it does imply mind that's the case at significant.
It's not only that they were one in heart that is one in spirit that they were committed to the same thing.
They had the same experience. They wanted to do the same task with someone in mind, that is, they thought the same thoughts they had the same theology. They acknowledge the same Lord I say I don't know whether that's proper translation or not, but I do know that that is a proper foundation for any Christian work. Proper foundation for anything we do. We should be one in heart and mind. Same theology same desires to see if we are all are doing is realizing in a practical way the thing for which the Lord Jesus Christ himself prayed Jesus prayed in John 17 that his disciples might be one even as father and the son are one. He spelled it all on his longest section.
There is, he begins to deal with unity.
That's not unity that's conformity when everybody's alike. That's not unity where everyone's forced into the same organization's not that the worst times in the history of the church of been when everyone's been part of one great big organization becomes corrupt.
It's not that kind of unity and so unity pattern on the unity of the father the son is at the unity of mind and will love and purpose. That's what the church should experience things that divide us. We have different points of view and different things about which were concerned we have different ministries send their different talents that are given to us in different gifts that we function differently. There's nothing wrong with that. That's proper that's God's giving Jesse as a foundation for effective work. We must be one as these early Christians were one in heart and mind and then it's says next that they shared everything I have that is not only were they one foundation of the work they were generous and I was the validation of it what it means is that the spirit of Jesus Christ did come to live within them before this they were generous were not generous support for the work of Christ.
Everyone's offer himself.
People who speak about the world speak in cynical Tartan server, especially what's a reality that's what the world is like all people are applied each know it at end the morning lightens all the people you deal with. Apart from Jesus Christ know that you want to get something done you want to get what you want. You have to get it sometimes whether people so you have to keep other people happy in the way to do that is to do something for them and then they do something for you and so forth with the basis of it all is not generosity of selfishness.
Yet you say here something new in the world.
People who have come to know God is basic nature is grace or generosity and didn't have to do anything for us.
Let us go to hell and we deserve it, and it would've been perfectly justified was all there was. But in spite of that God it was generous with us and send Jesus Christ that great gift of God to die for us, that we might be saved.
Say nobody who has ever really come to know that to understand that that's what reality is all about God was gracious and was given his son for our salvation was ever really understood that it is going to be the way they were before and it follows from that you say is if somebody heard that said, I believe it with a go on and just the way they were before. They haven't really understood it or not born-again say see when you come to realize that your nature is changed and that's what happened in his early Christians.
They shared what they have now some people look at that and said well they were very wise in the way they went about it. I may be true. I know from a human point of view that there are many acts of generosity done by Christian people that are not wise, they give more money than as we would say they can afford to give. But I think that shows more about our limited expectations of God's blessing than it does about our understanding of finance say they gave generously because God had given to them.
Then you see not only did they have a foundation of their work.
Not only did they have a verification of its and their change lives. They had the work itself, work itself. As we've seen again and again as expressed here in verse 33 is to testify the gospel here says testified to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus as they did that much grace was upon them all. When they were praying earlier in this section 1 of the request they had was that God would not abandon them in power but that God would stay with them and do great great works were told the God responded to their prayer. The answered that he did it and what happened is that the place where they were meeting was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and as a result of that what they spoke a word of God boldly. That's the work of God to speak of Jesus Christ do so in the power of the Holy Spirit find that God by his spirit adding his own power uses that to draw men and women to himself. You by being a standing up one of the verifying data of the resurrection you show to world whose eyes are blind. What it really means to be a child of God, a new made creature in Jesus Christ but is by your words are the words of the gospel which God blesses that those who were dead themselves are made alive and find salvation all my God, give us grace to be faithful to that tiresome all sorts of things that can distract us from certain things we can do instead, God make us faithful to speak his word boldly as these early Christians did the spray father. We see in the passage like this with the church can be and what we are in part by your grace. We speak of unity or generosity witness.
We recognize that those are things by your grace of existed among your people at all times and exist among us are father we do want to be single minded and that we want to focusing of our activity and tension upon the gospel. The salvation of the lost and only you can do that for us grandfather that might be so we might be known here as a congregation of standing up once resurrected ones in Christ to speak often frequently lovingly and effectively of him because they do it because you love him, and desire to glorify him and honor such testimony find many others coming to know him as the Savior through that testimony we pray in Jesus. You are listening to the Bible study hours with a Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview.
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