In Acts 5 we see the need for heroes, the Hero of heroes, and the unstoppable Hero. We need heroes today, like the apostles were in their time, because heroes look to character rather than appearance, are loyal to a higher power rather than their own hearts, and substitute themselves for the good of others. Jesus is the ultimate Hero (verse 31) who lived a life of character, always lived in submission to God the Father, and willingly sacrificed himself to reconcile us to God and to defeat the enemy within us—our sin. Because Jesus is our Hero we can live heroic lives—caring what God thinks rather than what man thinks, and substituting ourselves for the good of the world as we seek to make disciples and love our cities to the glory of God. The world can only persecute, or, at worst, kill us. And persecution (even to death!) has always served to further the mission of the gospel in the world. As the third century church father Turtullian said, “The blood of Christians is the seed of the church.” The more the world tries to silence us, the more we grow. Ultimately the mission of the church is unstoppable because it’s origin is not in man, but in God.
ACTS 5:17-42 17 But the high priest rose up, and all who were with him (that is, the party of the Sadducees), and filled with jealousy 18 they arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison. 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, 20 “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.” 21 And when they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and began to teach. Now when the high priest came, and those who were with him, they called together the council, all the senate of the people of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. 22 But when the officers came, they did not find them in the prison, so they returned and reported, 23 “We found the prison securely locked and the guards standing at the doors, but when we opened them we found no one inside.” 24 Now when the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these words, they were greatly perplexed about them, wondering what this would come to. 25 And someone came and told them, “Look! The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people.” 26 Then the captain with the officers went and brought them, but not by force, for they were afraid of being stoned by the people.
27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, 28 saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” 29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to giverepentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”
33 When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them. 34 But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in honor by all the people, stood up and gave orders to put the men outside for a little while. 35 And he said to them, “Men of Israel, take care what you are about to do with these men. 36 For before these days Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. 37 After him Judas the Galilean rose up in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him. He too perished, and all who followed him were scattered. 38 So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; 39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. Youmight even be found opposing God!” So they took his advice, 40 and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. 42 And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.
1. Was there anything from the sermon or the big idea that stood out to you or challenged you? Was there anything new? Was there anything confusing?
2. What stands out to you in Acts 5:17-42 and why?
Jesus is the ultimate Hero (verse 31) who lived a life of character, always lived in submission to God the Father, and willingly sacrificed himself to reconcile us to God and to defeat the enemy within us—our sin.
3. In what ways have you been fearful of sharing the gospel? How does your confidence in Jesus being the Hero, Exalted at the right hand of the Father to give repentance and forgiveness of sins, help you press on?
Because Jesus is our Hero we can live heroic lives.
4. Have you experienced hostility of any kind toward your belief in the gospel? In what ways do you relate or not relate to the apostles rejoicing in the face of persecution?
The world can only persecute, or, at worst, kill us. And persecution (even to death!) has always served to further the mission of the gospel in the world. As the third century church father Turtullian said, “The blood of Christians is the seed of the church.” The more the world tries to silence us, the more we grow.
5. Why do you think this truth seems so lost on 21st century American Christians? Are you willing to suffer for the sake of more people being saved by Jesus? How can we recover the mindset that is this: “the more we suffer for Jesus, the more we become like Jesus and the more other people will meet Jesus”?
6. Spend some time praying for the lost to be saved by Jesus, praying for your city, and praying for Jesus to build His church in Checotah, Eufaula, and Muskogee.
Dear Christians, the world can only kill us. The lower the lay us, the higher they raise us. “Death has been swallowed up in victory!” Jesus is alive, and if we are united to Him through faith, our death is gain because our death will bring us to His face.
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