Pastor Mike will be speaking on Four Keys to Evangelism Part 2. He will be reading out of Acts 5:12-42.
God was showing them that they cannot stop what God wills to do and though they may try all the schemes of man and Satan may try all the tricks in his arsenal, God will overcome and he will work miraculously and fulfill the advancement of the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is Pastor Mike Sanders and I want to welcome you to Hope Worth Having radio broadcasts. We’re excited about learning the Word of God today and we’re continuing our study in Acts chapter 5 learning about the four keys to evangelism last week we took some time to talk about those different keys.
We want to continue that study today so I want you to join us in Acts chapter 5 and let’s get together now and study God’s Word. When we come to Acts chapter 5 this morning we continue our study of the keys to effective evangelism and as we are striving to not only understand that a relationship with Christ is our hope and is our true help in this world, it is a message that we cannot contain to ourselves only, that we have this responsibility to share this wonderful grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, this wonderful news that we can be forgiven of our sins and our past can be washed away and we can have a new beginning in the Lord Jesus Christ.
In Acts chapter 5 in the birth of the church as Jesus Christ poured out his Spirit upon his people we see the church launching into its community, into the known world of its day, and sharing this wonderful news, fulfilling that great message that Christ had given them in Acts chapter 1 in verse 8 when he said you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit is has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.
This is our responsibility. We cannot neglect this calling in our life, we cannot do it personally, nor can we neglect it collectively. But in order for us as a church to be effective in evangelizing and reaching our family, reaching our friends, it is essential that we see in observation of the church in Acts chapter five, what the keys to their effectiveness.
But I want you to remember the first key was that the church must remain pure. The second thing we learned in verses 12 through 16 is that the church must be an instrument of God’s power. The third thing that we learn in how to be an effective witness is that we are to be prepared as a church people for the satanic persecution.
And I want you to note in verse 17 of chapter five, that the apostles have already been warned by the religious leaders that they are not to share the gospel. They are not to be active for God. The Bible says that they were already doing this.
All these miracles are happening. We just read it in verses 15 and 16. But look at verse 17. Then the high priest rose up and all those who were with him, which is the sect of the Sadducees, were filled with indignation.
And what did they do? They laid their hands on the apostles. That means they grabbed them. They put them in the common prison. You say, who are the Sadducees? The Sadducees were a religious sect of Judaism.
They only believed in the law, the first five books of the Old Testament. They did not believe in the Psalms. They did not believe in the prophets. They only believed in what Moses taught. But they also did not believe in angels.
They did not believe in the resurrection. They did not believe in life after death. The religious and political leaders of the Sadducees became jealous and full of anger, and they arranged for the apostles to be imprisoned.
And this was an attempt to silence them. And you will note that their motive was jealousy. And that as they are watching God work miraculously through the lives of the apostles, they are witnessing that God is changing lives, God is answering prayers, God is exploding the church.
He is making an impact. And what is the reaction? It is anger. I want you to understand something whenever God begins to bless your life, whenever God begins to do something special in you and through you and around you, Satan is not happy.
And I want you to see that Satan is going to do whatever he can to destroy your life, to destroy your family. Because when God is saving people and God is changing lives, Satan gets upset about that.
And he’s gonna bring persecution upon your life. The Bible says in 2 Timothy 3, 12, yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. Doesn’t say they might. I mean, friends, if you’re an all-in person for God, if you’re totally dedicated to the cause of Christ, you can anticipate that Satan is not gonna sit on the sidelines and say, well, you just go on and live for God.
But you know what he’s gonna do? He’s gonna try to set up traps in your life. He’s gonna try to trick you into going down the wrong direction. He is going to try to convince you that God doesn’t care about you, that God’s checked out in your life.
He is going to cause the world to persecute you, and the religious people to critique you because he wants you to be discouraged, defeated, and give up. And that’s what Satan wanted for the apostles. They had been already apprehended and thrown into jail.
They were let out. And now again, where do they find themselves in jail? Again. Why were they in jail? Because they were simply telling people the good news. And the good news is that Jesus Christ went to the cross and he died for our sins.
We don’t have to carry the weight of that sin, the burden of that sin. We can come to Christ and we can confess our sins to Jesus Christ. And the Bible teaches us that Christ will wash our sins away.
He will forgive us our sins. And the good news is that Christ not only came to take care of your past, but he has come to take care of your future and it is affirmed and it is validated through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
I had a Q&A with the young people up at the school this week in the chapel and they were asking some wonderful questions and they said, how do you know that Christianity is true? And I said it’s really simple.
The grave is empty. Now of all the other religious leaders, they’re all dead and their bones and their decayed bodies are still in the grave. But our Savior is a living Savior and three days after his crucifixion, he walked out of that tomb he is a living Savior who was seen by over 500 witnesses and we know that he’s true and we know that he’s right not only because he is a living Savior, but because he has saved our soul and he has given us a brand new life in Jesus Christ.
The devil doesn’t like that. And when he sees that kind of thing happening, he is going to bring persecution and we must be prepared for it as a church. We must be prepared for it as God’s people. Remember what the Apostle Peter taught us in 1 Peter 2:20, for what credit is it when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently.
You deserved it. You were being ignorant and so you have to face the consequences. You go out there and you are acting like a fool and you break the law and you get in trouble for it. Peter says, what credit is that to you?
But here’s what he really says, when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. What God is looking for is for his people to be prepared for persecution that we are enduring, that we’re not quitting, that we’re not giving up, and that…
even when we face persecution for doing what is right before Almighty God, that we are focused on Him and we’re not gonna have a pity party, we’re not gonna whine and cry, we’re not gonna complain, but we are gonna keep moving forward for the Lord Jesus Christ.
That’s what God wants you to be prepared. God was at work. And you’ll note again in verse 19, I want you to follow with me that night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out and said, go stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life, verse 21.
When they heard that, they entered the temple early in the morning and taught, but the high priest and those with him came and called the council together with all the elders of the children of Israel and sent them to the prison to have them brought.
I love this portion of the passage of scripture because there’s a lot of irony just in these three verses. First of all, remember what I told you about the Sadducees? They don’t even believe in angels.
What does God use? He uses an angel. to set his people free. Just in case the Sadducees didn’t understand it, God wanted to manifest his power in their life and to see that their beliefs were wrong. And so it’s just amazing how he works so dramatically.
We see this consistently in the scriptures. Some of you may not even believe in angels. You may think that that is just something mystical out there that is not even really true. But I’m here to tell you the Bible teaches us that angels are true, and not only are angels true, but the Bible teaches us that there are ministering angels all around us.
And the Bible teaches us that every child has a guardian angel. Acts chapter one, verse 11, at the ascension of our Savior after he had been resurrected after he’d been seen by over 500 people, he met with his disciples, and the Bible tells us that he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, that’s verse 10, who also said, these are the angels, men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven this same Jesus who was taken up from you into heaven will so come in like manner as you saw him go into heaven.
Sometimes God sends angels to send a message to us. But I also want you to go over to chapter one, verse 26, and I want you to see that God uses angels as he is trying to accomplish his perfect will.
Well, let’s just back up to verse 23. You remember the struggle that Judas had betrayed the Lord. They were short an apostle, and the Bible says that they proposed two particular names, verse 24. They were praying to God, and then in verse 25, as they were praying to God for the answer, the Bible says they cast lots in verse 26.
One of the things that the early believers believed in was that the angels, when they cast the lots, would make sure that the lots would fall towards whatever the will of God was. Now, people operated like this because they didn’t have the spirit of God living in them.
They didn’t have the guidance of God’s word in its totality, and therefore they would… sometimes to try to understand God’s will, they would cast the lots believing that the angels were hovering over the balcony of heaven, or perhaps even in the presence of their earth, and the angels were fleshing out God’s will in the casting of the lots.
I also want you to see in chapter two in verse nine of Acts, again, these mighty works, what I want you to see is that the angels consistently, through the book of Acts, were working effectively and bringing about angels to carry out the will of God and to proclaim the word of God.
And what did these angels say? Well, what the angels said back in our text in chapter five is that the angels told the disciples, verse 19, an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out and said, go stand in the temple.
Did the angel, when they were in prison, say, give up? Did the angel say, now you need to retreat? Did the angel say, you need to go hide? Did you need to quit? Did you need to stop? Quit causing problems quit making these religious people upset No, the angel said to go go stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life Now look at verse 21.
Here’s the second irony when they heard that that is the Apostles Peter and John were in Prison they heard the angel the angel let them out when they heard they entered the temple early in the morning Did they say we’ll get to it later?
No, they jumped in they got busy for God They began to go to the temple early in the morning and they taught they were teaching the Bible There were so many people hungry for the Word of God But in contrast, while the Apostles were let out of jail and they’re in the temple teaching early in the morning They were waiting for the Apostles when word got that the Apostles were at the temple They came flocking to the temple to hear the Word of God, but I’m in verse 21 Well, that’s going on.
What are the high priests doing unaware that the Apostles are teaching unaware that the Apostles have escaped through an angel out of Prison the high priests and those with him came and called the council together.
We’re gonna have a meeting about these guys They came together with all the elders of the children of Israel and were sent to the prison to have them brought They were clueless that they had already escaped They were clueless that the angel had already let them out and there’s the irony of it All is that here they were so focused on their religious activity so focused on what they were doing to try to thwart the will of God that God was showing them that they are powerless to him and that they cannot stop what God wants to do and what God wills to do and though they may try all The schemes of man and Satan might try all the tricks in his arsenal to try to stop the work of God That God will overcome and he will work miraculously and powerfully to fulfill the advancement of the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ and so these religious people met What did they find out?
Look at verse 22. When the officers came and they did not find them in the prison, they returned and reported, saying, indeed, we found the prison shut securely, and the guards standing outside before the doors, but when we opened them, we found no one inside.
Now when the high priest, the captain of the temple, and the chief priest heard these things, they wondered what the outcome would be. Friends, I want you to understand something. When you stand up for God, and you live for the Lord Jesus Christ, there is gonna be persecution, but you be assured that God is working, and God is working in you to fulfill his great will, and you do not need to retreat, you do not need to give up, you do not need to quit, you need to keep marching forward for the Lord Jesus Christ.
First Peter 4 .12 says, beloved, do not be surprised at a fiery trial. When it comes upon you to test you as though something strange. were happening to you, the test of a person’s character is not what it takes to get him going, but what it takes to stop them from doing what God has called them to do?
And some of you are going through that test right now. What’s it gonna take to stop you from living for God? What’s it gonna take to stop you from believing in God? What’s it gonna take to stop you from praying to God?
What’s it gonna take to stop you from being sold out for God? For some, it might be money. For some, it might be materials. For others, it may be friends. For others, it may be prestige power, and fame in their life.
All these things will stop them from living for God, but what will it take you? For God is testing your faith, and He is testing where you’re at, and the true test of your faith and character is what does it take to stop you from living for God?
Why is it that so many have retreated from their faith, have operated in fear, and choose that they will not be engaged in the family of God and that they will not be on the front lines for the Lord Jesus Christ?
Are you ready? Because we often value our safety and our security more than the gospel of the Great Commission. It’s happening all around us that if you stand up and speak up for Jesus, everything is now a hate crime.
If I preach against homosexuality, then it’s a hate crime. If I preach against divorce, it’s a hate crime. If I preach against any sin out there, then all of a sudden it’s a hate crime because people don’t want the pastor to step on their toes.
People don’t want the preacher to rub them the wrong way. They wanna come in, and they got those itching ears. They just wanna hear the good stuff, but let me tell you something, friends. You can’t make it right until you come to the grips of acknowledging what’s wrong.
You’ll never make any change in your life without acknowledging first what’s wrong in your life. And the most important thing to acknowledge what’s wrong in our life is that we’re sinners in need of a savior.
Can God’s people say amen? But thank God, He has made it possible, so we must be alert to these things. We must stand strong for our Lord and Savior. The apostles did not relent, but they insisted that they would continue to follow God.
I want you to look at verse 22. The Bible says that when the officers came and they couldn’t find them in the prison, they returned and reported. So they were stunned and jumped down to verse 25. So someone came and told them, saying, look, the men whom you put in the prison are standing in the temple and teaching.
And so then, verse 26, the captain went with the officers and they brought without violence, for they feared the people lest they should be stoned. And when they brought them, they set them before the council.
I’m in verse 28. Here’s what they told the apostles. Didn’t we strictly command you not to teach in His name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine. Would that we were guilty of that.
The average church is not guilty of filling the country with its doctrine. The average person is not guilty of filling their family with their doctrine of Jesus Christ. The average person is not guilty of telling their friends and their neighbors about Jesus Christ.
This was the indictment upon them, and they said, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine and intend to bring this man, referring to Christ’s blood upon us. Notice Peter in James’ response, verse 29, Peter and the other apostles answered and said, we ought to obey God rather than men.
We ought to obey God. They refuse to relent. They refuse to give up. They refuse to stop speaking for the Lord. I wanna help you this morning. I want you to see something, we are called to obey the rulers of this world.
But whenever the rulers step into the realm of the church, we are not called to obey the rulers. Jesus said, render unto Caesar’s the things that are Caesar’s and render unto God the things that are God.
The head of the church is not a governor. The head of the church is not a mayor. The head of the church is not a president. The head of the church is no bureaucracy in some office in Washington, DC. The head of the church is the Lord Jesus Christ.
And whatever he has commanded, we are to obey God rather than man. We wanna be respectful to the authorities that God has ordained over us. We wanna do the right things. But listen to me, friends. If they say to me, Mike, you cannot come to church anymore.
You cannot preach the gospel. You cannot tell people how to be saved. You cannot preach against sin. You cannot gather in the name of the Lord. And you cannot follow the command that we should not neglect the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is.
That I’m here to tell you, I’m gonna obey God rather than men. The advancement of the kingdom of Jesus Christ cannot be stopped by religion. It cannot… Let me stop by politics. I said, if we’re gonna be effective for God, we have to be prepared for these satanic persecutions.
You say how? Write these three things down, how to be prepared for satanic persecution in my life. Number one, be devoted to Jesus. I mean, every day that you get up, you quote to the Lord, Romans 12, one, I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present yourselves as a living sacrifice to God.
Now, if you’re like me every once in a while, you’ll get off that altar and you’ll try to live for yourself and God will smack you upside the head and he’ll tell you to get back up on that altar. And listen, it’s not just a day-by-day thing.
It’s not just a moment by moment. It’s not just that, hey, I did it last year and it’s good for a whole year. No, every day of your life, every moment of your life, you are offering yourself to God. And you’re saying, Lord, here I am, send me.
He may not send you to another country, but he might send you to your neighbor. He may not send you to another region, but he might send you to your family. All I’m saying is that if you want to be prepared for the persecution, you’ve got to have a regular time in which you are offering yourself up to Jesus Christ you are living out Romans 12:1, and you are preparing your heart.
The idea of presenting in the New Testament has the idea of relinquishing. So I’m relinquishing my agenda. I’m relinquishing what I want. And I’m saying, God, I’m all in and I’m all yours. However, you want to use my life.
How about this one? How to be prepared? Number two, be fearless for Jesus. Be fearless. You have not been given a spirit of fear. Are you kidding me? Do you think God wants us to quit and give up? Do you think if I had listened to some of the people, they said, look, Mike, we can’t do this and you can’t do that?
No, my friends, we can do all things through Christ. And we’re not going to be making decisions out of fear. We are going to make decisions out of courage for the Lord Jesus Christ. And we’re going to be bold for Christ.
And we’re going to do whatever we can to finish the mission to fulfill the ministry and to do what God has called us to do. Number three, be joyful in the Lord. You can read this on your own. But in chapter 5, the Bible says in verse 41, they departed.
And what were they doing? Rejoicing. They just got beaten again. They just got out of prison. They didn’t like what they were doing. So the religious leaders smacked them upside the head and the political leaders whipped them and beat them.
And what did they do? They didn’t complain. They didn’t whine. They didn’t cry. They didn’t say we’re going to give up. They didn’t have a pity party. They didn’t sit under the juniper tree and say, why me?
But they rejoice. I’ll tell you something, church. You are a joyful warrior for God. You are a joyful fighter for the cause of Christ. What makes you think that everybody’s going to like you? What makes you think when you stand up for the gospel that people are going to flock to you?
You are joyful. No matter what their response is to you. You be a joyful warrior for the Lord Jesus Christ. The question that I would like you to consider this morning is are you prepared? Are you prepared to suffer dishonor for Christ’s name?
Are you prepared to be ostracized because you love Jesus? Are you prepared that people want to stay away from you because you’re dedicated to the Lord? Because the devil will do whatever he can to discourage you.
But you be prepared. Now in verses 29 through 42, we learn that the church has to be persistent in the face of opposition. As I already mentioned to you in verse 41, the reaction of the apostles was not to gripe about their treatment, but it was to bless and rejoice.
Jesus said to us as believers, that this is a distinguishing mark of Christians. We are not whiners. We are not complainers. We are not fault finders, but rather we are blessers. We are rejoicing. We are full of joy.
Jesus said in Matthew 5, 10, blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. If God lets you suffer for him, give praise to him. If God allows you to suffer for him, you lift your hands unto him.
I know some of you are wanting to lift your hands just in song, but listen, it’s more than that. You lift holy hands to God even when you suffer for Christ, even when you suffer for Christ. Opposition can paralyze us with fear and prevent us from proclaiming God’s truth.
But you and I need to be a people of praise because there is power in the heart and the mind when we praise the Lord Jesus Christ. We are taught in the scriptures to not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you.
Yes, they filled Jerusalem with their teaching and they said, we’re gonna obey God rather than men. This verse is teaching us some important things that we obey God, but as we respond, we respond with joy.
I want you to learn two things here how do we respond to opposition in our life? How do we respond when people resist us, okay? And I want you to see something in verses 41 and 42 of the apostles.
Verse 41, so they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer, shame for his name. And daily in the temple and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.
They didn’t stop. Would you remember this? Don’t resent God for your trials. Don’t resent God when you suffer. How do you respond to suffering? How do you respond to opposition? Don’t resent God.
God is at work in our hearts. He’s at work in our life. Whatever God is allowing in your life or he is causing in your life is not anything to blame him for. God has purposes that are beyond what we can fully understand.
And the Bible says the secret things belong to the Lord. I don’t want you to walk away. Some of you are struggling. Some of you are suffering. Some of you are dealing with heavy burdens in your heart.
And maybe you’re dealing with some problems in your family. And maybe you’re dealing with some resistance in your family as you’re trying to stand for Christ and live for Christ. Hear me, do not resent God for any trial in your life.
How do I make sure I don’t resent God for suffering? Here’s the key, the two things I want to give you. Learn to rejoice in your suffering. That’s what they did in verse 41. They rejoiced in their suffering.
Are you with me? That’s number one. If I don’t put the positive in my life, if I don’t put the godly in my life, then the negative, the critical, and the hate and the bitterness and the resentment fill my heart.
So you fill your cup so much of Jesus, and you fill your cup so much of godly truth and so much of godly principle that there’s no room for negativity. There’s no room for resentment. There’s no room for bitterness in your heart because your cup is running over.
Are you with me? I said, don’t resent God. How do you do that, pastor? By rejoicing when you suffer. And let me just add this to the rejoicing part. You won’t always feel like it when you suffer. You won’t always feel like it.
When was the last time you lifted your hands to God when you didn’t feel like it? When’s the last time you said as Job did, the Lord’s gifts? And the Lord takes away, bless it be his name. You read that in the Bible and you think there’s no emotion there, but Job was devastated.
He lost all his wealth, he lost everything in his life. He lost his health, he lost his family and his children. He lost it all, but somehow he fought through the emotions of it all, somehow he rose above it all and he said, blessed be the name of God who gives and takes away.
Are you there in your life where you can rejoice in your suffering and that you don’t need an emotional pick me up, what you need is a God who will pick you up, a refuge, and a rock in your life that you can always run to.
Point number two, serve through your suffering. The greatest healing comes into your heart, not when you are on the couch eating potato chips and having a self-pity party. The greatest healing in your life is not when you isolate yourself from others close the blinds and refuse to connect, but the greatest healing in your heart as you suffer for God is when you are serving God.
Every physician will tell you, you gotta get up after surgery, you gotta get moving. We’re gonna get you moving because you can’t just sit. And what I’m saying to you is that what is true physically is true spiritually.
You get out there and serve. Did you see verse 42? It says they were daily in the temple. They were daily serving God in every house. They went house to house just teaching the word of God. They did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus.
They were going to every person and they were going to every house. They were going to every gathering. They were doing all that they could to stay busy for God. I’m here to tell you that if you want to heal the most then you serve through your suffering.
What helps me serve through my suffering? Here’s a key point. Don’t judge each day by the harvest that you reap, but judge each day as you’re serving God by the seeds you plant. You’re not always gonna see the harvest on this side of heaven.
You’re not always gonna see the fruit. You’re not always gonna see the results, but you judge. and measure your life by how many people you blessed, how many people you encouraged, how many people you served, how many people you helped, and how many people you prayed for.
You measure your day by the seeds that you plant, not by the harvest that you reap. And you leave the harvest up to God, you leave the harvest in His timing, you leave the harvest up to the way He wants to do it.
But every day of my life, I’m not gonna sit here and whine and cry, but I’m gonna be all in for Jesus serving Him and doing my best, knowing that God is gonna open doors and God’s gonna do something special and God is gonna make a way when there seems to be no way.
I hope this message has been a blessing to you. You can learn more on YouTube. If you go to YouTube .com, check us out. You can see. all of this entire message and the whole series in the book of Acts.
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