The Increase of Intolerance Part 3

Pastor Mike will be speaking on The Increase of Intolerance Part 3. He will be reading out of Acts 4: 1-37.

You see, that’s what makes relationships work. It’s not that we dominate and that we control and that we micromanage and it always has to be my way, but submitting, it’s the same way in the church family.

We try to submit to one another and be encouraging to one another and maybe this person has that idea and if it doesn’t work, hey, we can regroup and start all over. Hello, this is Pastor Mike Sanders and this is Hope Worth Having.

We are broadcasting God’s Word to you. Today we’re going to be in Acts chapter four and we are studying the increase of intolerance and here we are in part three. We’ve been in this chapter for a few weeks now and we’ve really been learning from the example of the apostles and grateful for their testimony and their faithful witness for the gospel so let’s get into Acts chapter four as we continue to study the increase of intolerance.

The Bible tells us that the bridge is out and you better take a detour and you better go a different way, but yet we’re too stubborn or we’re too prideful and we keep going down that path, but God uses all things for His purposes.

He brings it all together. You say, well, I don’t like this and I don’t like what the government did about that. Hey, listen, I’m telling you that God uses all things, not some things, not just the things you like, not just the things that make you feel good, but He uses all things for His providence, for His cause, and for His purposes.

Well, you see what the people of God did in the book of Acts is they took comfort in trusting in God’s sovereignty. God’s in control. I don’t know why it happened. I don’t know what God’s up to, but I tell you that God’s in control.

The question upon each of us as believers is, why should we… fear? Why should we fear? If we can see God’s hand is moving in all things if He is in charge of all things, then why should we be afraid?

I want you to back up in verse 24 and note again, because this sovereignty, this providence of God, brought the people back to the cross as they were praying to God. So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said, Lord, you are God who made heaven and earth and the sea and all that is in them.

Who by the mouth of your servant David have said, why did the nation’s rage and the people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against His Christ or the anointed one.

For truly against your holy servant Jesus. whom you anointed both Herod and Pontius Pilate with the Gentiles and the people of Israel were gathered together to do whatever your hand and your purpose determined before to be done.

Now Lord, look on their threats and grant to your servants that with all boldness we may speak your word. You see, what I want you to see here is they even knew the crucifixion of Christ was under the mighty hand of God, the sovereign will of God.

And they looked to the cross as their comfort that even in this great tragic moment where our savior, our Lord, our God was suspended between heaven and earth and he hung on that cruel cross and even though all the sins of the world were placed upon him and it was so horrible and so horrendous that the sun could not even shine its face and darkness swept across the land that God was at work in the darkest moment of history.

Reminding us what the apostle teaches us, referring to God, he worketh all things after the counsel of his will. You may be walking through some dark shadows in your life and dark valleys in your life, but I’m telling you that God is at work even in those deep, difficult times of your life.

The reason that you can give praise to God and be thankful to God is because you have confidence trust and comfort in the sovereignty of God. The next thing I want you to see is that we’re to be bold.

Not only were God’s people thankful and praising God, but they were bold and we see this in verse 29. through 32 the Bible says now Lord look on their threats and grant to your servants that with all that you can do better church with all what thank you I mean if you’re gonna say the word bold you might as well say it boldly they’ve had that we may speak your word by stretching out your hand to heal that signs and wonders may be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus and when they had prayed the place where they were assembled together was shaken and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and they spoke the Word of God with what church boldness boldness now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul and neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own but they had all things in common boldness was a characteristic of the early church We see this over and over again.

We already looked at it in chapter four, but I want you to go back up to verse 13, because again, we see that the disciples were bold, and this was the perception that the world had of them. Verse 13, now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, I wonder what people think about you.

Do they think you’re afraid? I mean, if fear characterizes your life, even the world says, what’s up with them? They’re scared of everything. Or do you have this testimony of being bold, and not ashamed, and not afraid for Jesus Christ, and that your life is in His hands, it is in His control, and that He works all things, and all means all, and that’s all that all means.

Can God’s people say amen? So I want you to know, that whether it’s good or bad, triumphant or tragic, all things work together. For good to that love God. Jump back to chapter two and verse 29 of Acts.

Again, I just want you to see the characteristics of these folks in the early church. Chapter two, verse 29, the Bible says, men and brethren, let me speak freely, or boldly is the idea of the word to you, of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.

It goes on to teach the history of the Old Testament to the people so that they would know that truly Christ was part of the lineage of David. But over and over again, they prayed for boldness, they spoke with boldness, and they lived with boldness, and this was the key to the effectiveness of their ministry.

And this is important in our faith, because here’s what we’re told, we’re told to, you know, that you be quiet and you be silent and you do what you’re told to do. We’re told that if we speak up, somehow there’s something wrong with us.

But I’m telling you, church, it’s time to speak up for Jesus Christ. It’s time to say something for Jesus Christ. It’s time to step in and it’s time to be bold for the Lord Jesus Christ. We need an unshakable confidence, a faith that cannot retreat, a faith that cannot be moved.

We need a God-given courage in our hearts that tells us that we will not retreat. We will not give up. It is too soon to quit and we will keep marching forward for the Lord Jesus Christ. Now you might ask the question, how do I receive boldness in my life?

I’m glad you asked. I think that it begins with first being filled with the Spirit of God. Any boldness in our life is… from heaven. It is from the power and the work of the Spirit in our life. Again, we go back to chapter 2 and we see in verse 4 that the Bible says they were filled with the Holy Spirit and they began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Do you know what this group was like before the Spirit came upon them? Fearful, hiding, wondering what the future might hold. But the Bible tells us that the coming of the Spirit came upon them and now they were filled with the Spirit and they were speaking with boldness in their hearts.

Remember Peter? He denied the Lord three times. Remember that he was running. He didn’t want to be identified. He was ashamed to be identified with Jesus Christ. But now he’s standing before thousands on the day of Pentecost when the Spirit of God came down and filled them and now he is preaching the Word of God and he is standing before political leaders, religious leaders who are trying to shut him down, cancel him and he is speaking up and he says it doesn’t matter what you say because we’re going to obey God rather than men.

And where did that come from? It’s not like he went to a seminar or a workshop and learned it. It’s not like Peter went through some kind of a transformation relating to the education of men in his life, but rather it was the filling of the Spirit that changed him.

That’s the power of the Spirit. That’s why we’re commanded in Ephesians 5:18 to be not drunk with wine, we’re in excess but be filled with the Spirit. The filling of the Spirit empowers Christians to speak the Word with boldness and to live the Word with boldness.

I want you to take your Bible and I want you to go over to Ephesians chapter 5 if you will. I just want to point out a few things that’ll help you because so many Christians are missing out on the fullness of the Spirit in their life, I want you to know that the Spirit of God lives in every believer and the question is not do you have the Spirit because the Spirit does already live in you.

We’re already taught that. The question is not do I have the Spirit but does the Spirit have you? Are you accessing all that the Spirit is making available to you? If you wanna be a great husband if you wanna be a great wife if you wanna be a great parent if you wanna be a great worker at your job if you wanna be a great leader you wanna be a great servant, wherever and whatever your roles and responsibilities in life are and whatever you want to do and excel for the Lord Jesus Christ, you must be filled with the Spirit of God.

In order to do that, you must recognize your weaknesses and pray that the Spirit will fill you. Now what are the results? What are the results of a Spirit-filled life? Remember, I told you to receive boldness, you must be filled with the Spirit.

The results are right there in Ephesians five, verse 19, speaking to one another in Psalms, hymns, spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. Let me tell you that speaking God’s truth to one another is a result, of spiritual conversations.

It just flows out of you. It’s just, you can’t contain yourself. You just can’t help it. You just keep talking about Jesus. Every conversation comes back to Christ. And if that annoys people, it’s just something you need to understand is the reflection of a spirit that has filled your heart and you’re so overflowing with him, you can’t help but lift up the name of Christ in your conversations.

Another result is singing. Did you know that singing is a result of a spirit-filled life? If you come to church and you don’t sing, then you’re probably not filled with the Spirit. Spirit-filled people sing out.

You say, well, I don’t like that song. Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me? Do we gotta go back to that? Is this how far we’ve gotten? That if they don’t sing the song that I liked and I’m not singing, hello.

I’ll give you some history. It’s gonna blow you out of the water, okay? And you’re not singing what the early church sang. They didn’t sing, what a day we’ll have in heaven. The apostles didn’t, you understand that?

God said he’s gonna raise up new singers, new songs. He’s gonna give new songs. I like the old songs, I like the new songs. I’m not one of those guys who likes one particular style or one particular song over another.

I think that’s all silliness. I think it’s shallow. I think it’s emotional. I think it’s not rooted in faith. You know what I wanna sing? I wanna sing the truths of God. I want to worship Christ. I want to sing songs that lift up his name.

That’s what I want to sing. Whether I like the tune and it makes my toe tap and slap my knee or not. Makes me want to go out and have some fried chicken. Hello, people. We have to get beyond this. If the depth of your spirituality is the style of song, and I’m telling you, I’m going to tell you something that you’re not going to like, but just pragmatically, whatever style you’d like, go out there and get you a CD, get you a playlist, get on Spotify, get on Pandora, or whatever else is out there, and download it, it’s going to sound a whole lot better.

I mean, come on, we come together and we sing. You say, well, I don’t sing because I really sing bad, Mike. You know what that tells me? It’s all about you. That is about God. Come on in here and sing. Sing, even if it’s bad, sing.

Okay? I told you that time I was singing in the bathroom and my wife was like, Mike, you’re killing me, stop it. And I said, well, honey, the Bible says, make a joyful noise to the Lord. And she said, yeah, it says that, but it doesn’t say make a hurtful noise.

So some of us have issues. I don’t know, tunes, I don’t get rhythm. I don’t get any of it, but I try. I’m trying, and maybe in heaven, I’ll get some rhythm, amen? Wouldn’t that be good? But I’m gonna tell you one of the results of a Spirit-filled life is that you love to sing.

You love to sing. I mean, the result of a Spirit-filled life is you’re willing to sacrifice for God and give thanks to Him. One of the results of a Spirit-filled life, that’s in verse 20, in verse 21, is you express your love for Him and you’re submitting to one another.

Look at verse 21. Submitting to one another in the fear of God. I know you guys like to tell your wives to submit, but how about you guys submitting, too? And here’s what it means. It doesn’t always have to be your way.

It doesn’t always have to be your way. Submitting yourselves one to another. You see, that’s what makes relationships work. It’s not that we dominate and that we control and that we micromanage and it always has to be my way and it always has to be the way I want it, but submitting.

It’s the same way in the church family. It’s not always my way. I know you think differently, but it’s not. It’s not always your way and it’s not always one elder’s way or one deacon’s way. We try to submit to one another and be encouraging to one another and maybe this person has that idea and maybe let’s give it a swing and let’s give it a try.

And if it doesn’t work, hey, we can regroup, punt, and start all over. It’s okay because, in the family of God, it’s not my way or the highway. You know why people can’t stay in a church and they hop from one church to the other?

I’ll tell you why. Because as soon as they don’t get their way, they take their football and they go home. And I’m telling you, I gotta be honest with you, okay? Because we are pastors, we get together. I don’t know if you guys know this.

There’s a secret network of pastors. We have breakfast. And we’re like, yeah, they’ve already been to my church. They’re coming your way, Pastor Mike. And I’m like, is there any way we can detour them?

They go from church to church, complaining, and whining. Everything’s wrong in the church. Everything’s something this and something that and yada, yada, and it ain’t gonna be long. I mean, I had this guy one time and as soon as he came, I knew it was a problem.

You say, why don’t you shake some people’s hands? Well, because I know if they like it too much, they might stay. After every sermon, every one of my sermons, there was something wrong with it. And he’d have to corner me, he’d have to tell me what’s wrong with it.

I knew he wouldn’t be here long because he wasn’t, you know, I was nice at first, okay? I tried my best and I bit my tongue. I have scars to reveal it. But then my facial expressions, even though I bit my tongue, my facial expressions were speaking loudly.

And finally, I just said, hey buddy, if you don’t like it, it’s okay. There are a lot of good churches out there and I have some pastor friends who are in need of members and they’ll take you in a heartbeat, okay?

Now I’m having fun with you, it’s okay. But in that, there is some truth. Why can’t people stay in a relationship? Why can’t people stay in a church? Why can’t people stay? Because if they don’t get their way, then they take their ball and go home.

And they run from church to church. Listen, I wanna say something. I appreciate you church members that you have been here through the different pastors. You’ve been here at the good times of the open-door church.

You’ve been here at the bad times. You’ve been here all the way. This is your church home, this is your church family. And when the church is at its best, you love it. And when the church is at its worst, you love it.

You’re not running from your church family. Can God’s people say amen? Well, I’m not gonna go to that church because Dr. Padrone’s not there anymore. Hello, who are we following? You know what I’m saying?

Any of you that have come to Christ under my ministry, if God calls me home and promotes me to heaven, and you say, well, I’m gonna quit going to church because Pastor Mike’s not there. Let me tell you something, that’s shallow.

If you come to church because of Pastor Mike, you’re coming for the wrong reason. You come because you love Jesus because you’re exalting him because this is where he called me. This is where He placed you, I’m with you, I’m with you.

Now listen, I know some churches sometimes they go doctrinally off track and I’m with you. I wouldn’t stay in a liberal church that didn’t preach Jesus and lift up Christ. I wouldn’t be a part of a church that wants to dilute the word of God and wants to compromise with the world.

I wouldn’t be a part of it, okay? I understand that, but I’m just talking about, oh, my feelings got hurt today. Nobody talked to me. Nobody, I could tell you stories, we could be here all day, but you don’t wanna hear that, do you?

But I wanna say something to you, how can we be bold? That is to be filled with the Spirit, but also I would say to spend time in prayer as you seek God for boldness. In verse 29 of chapter four, that’s what they did.

They called upon God and they asked God to give them boldness. Boldness is a gift from heaven and it’s something you ask God for and you seek Him. That you would have all boldness that you may speak his word.

I would also say rely on the word of God. Rely upon the word of God. Don’t be ashamed of this Bible. People say, pastor, you still preach on hell? Absolutely. And you say, well, why do you believe in hell?

Because Jesus did. Do you understand that? You say, I mean, we got preachers out there saying they don’t preach the Old Testament anymore. I said they had a problem because Jesus believed in the Old Testament.

Jesus preached in the Old Testament. He talked about Jonah. He talked about Daniel. He talked about Amos. He talked about the great men of God in the Old Testament, those prophets who proclaim the word of God.

What’s wrong with these people? They’re ashamed of the word of God. They’re backing down from it. I try to be pleasant. I try to be kind. I try to be nice. But I’m telling you, I’m not backing down from the Bible.

I’m relying on the word of God. Thank you. Last point and all God’s people said, amen. All right, let’s be passionate. That’s our third point, verses 33 through 37. You can take time to read it and digest it.

But I want you to note something about the church. They were passionate even when they were facing opposition. And the first thing that they were passionate about is to serve one another. They served one another.

Look at verse 34. Nor was there any among them who lacked, for all who were possessors of lands, or houses, sold them and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold and laid them at the apostles’ feet.

And they distributed. to each as anyone had need. You gotta understand the context before you start drawing principles and applications out of this passage. This is not communism, this is not socialism. It is a church that is facing opposition.

It is a church that is in crisis because thousands are coming to Christ. Their families are rejecting them. They’re losing their jobs. They’re losing their means of any kind of income. And what did the church do?

They said, look, we gotcha. We’re gonna be there for you. We’re not gonna abandon you. We’re gonna help you in the midst of these problems. They were passionate about taking care of each other. They were passionate about serving each other.

You will note that the Bible says that they had one heart and one soul. That’s back in verse 32. They were dedicated. They were dedicated to those who were in the family. They were dedicated to meeting the needs of each other.

Listen, when the church started facing problems in opposition, they rallied together. I want you to know I’m super proud of this church because when we were walking through COVID, not one of you said, let’s run.

Let’s quit. But we kept calling each other. People were calling me, texting me, are you okay? We were doing things. I appreciate those who got involved and we shared food. People would call me and say, well, I can take some groceries over to so -and –so’s house.

And I know we’re not allowed to go in, but we’ll put it on the porch and run. Amen. Not everybody in our church has adult children who live in this area. And I’m saying the pastors, the elders, the deacons, the people, the Sunday school teachers, we all stepped up.

Sunday school teachers call their classes. Sunday school teachers doing Zoom classes. People getting together and saying, hey, we wanna be there for each other. I don’t know, I can’t explain it. And I don’t have all the answers.

But during COVID, the giving of the church went up. I’m not asking for COVID again, but everything I learned on how to build support and get the people to give was turned upside down on its head. And in one moment, everything I learned in Bible college was swept away and COVID motivated God’s people to pull together, rally together.

That’s the kind of church I wanna be a part of. That’s my crowd. That’s the people I wanna hang out with that don’t disperse and run, but they come together and say, I am there and I wanna support and I wanna help and I wanna be a part.

That’s what this church did. What was the key? Unity, did you see that? They were in one accord. They were in one accord. That’s what took place. There was one heart, one soul. And let me tell you the purpose of unity in the church.

Are you with me? Hang in there, I’m almost done. It is to glorify God. When the world says, wow, look at the church. Look at the church, they’re loving one another. They don’t all agree on every little detail, but they love one another.

They’re there for each other. What I’m saying is church, when we face opposition, the last thing we need to do is run. The best thing we can do is rally together and support each other. And I wanna just say in this passion, not only were they passionate for each other, but they were passionate to reach out into their community.

They possessed a servant’s heart. The early church was a witnessing people. They were a people who were not ashamed of the gospel nor afraid to share. the gospel, here’s what I want to say, is that God can use even people’s evil actions and he can use even all the problems of this world to accomplish his purpose.

COVID has opened some new doors to talk about Jesus. COVID has opened eyes to people that they need to give their lives to Christ. COVID has awakened and it is revived and it has energized many of God’s people.

That’s why you don’t have to be troubled. That’s why you don’t have to be shaken. You can be very much like the apostle when he was in jail in Philippians 1 .12, he said, but I would you should understand brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel.

If in God’s sovereign plan and his great will, he said, I’m gonna allow this to take place and it may have been, whether it started an evil of people or whether it just is something that happened or something that spread a virus that came through it, I do not know and now do I have the answers to it all and I am not interested in all your websites.

Okay, I’m just not, I ain’t got time. I’m just trying to get people saved, honest to God, honest to God. But whatever it is that happened, and however it happened, all that matters to me is that God be glorified and the gospel be furthered.

And that’s how we respond to opposition. And that’s how we respond to problems. Be glorified God, be glorified in COVID, be glorified, let’s be there for each other. Let’s show the world how you do it.

Let’s be there for each other and let’s reach out to each other. Would you pray with me, Church? The gospel knows no boundaries and God is sending forth his servants and his truth around the world. But that doesn’t mean that we won’t have opposition or pushback.

and we have to be ready. So the principles we’ve learned in Acts chapter four, they’re for today, they’re applicable to our lives now. So embrace these principles, keep coming back to Acts chapter four, and be encouraged as God continues to get his message to the ends of the earth.

And we really encourage you to take advantage of that. I also want to encourage you to make sure that you check out our website, hopeworthhaving .com. We have a newsletter that we put out on a regular basis and you can sign up for that newsletter on the website, hopeworthhaving .com and you can get information about our ministry of broadcasting the gospel to the world.

And we want to thank those who are standing with us in their prayers and their financial gifts and we appreciate each and every one of you. This is Pastor Mike Sanders reminding you that in Christ there is hope worth having.

Thank you.

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