“An Eyewitness Account”
Pastor David Moore
Old Testament reading: Exodus 23:1-13 (NIV)
“Do not spread false reports. Do not help a guilty person by being a malicious witness. “Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd, and do not show favoritism to a poor person in a lawsuit. “If you come across your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to return it. If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help them with it.
“Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits. Have nothing to do with a false charge and do not put an innocent or honest person to death, for I will not acquit the guilty. “Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the innocent. “Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt.
“For six years you are to sow your fields and harvest the crops, but during the seventh year let the land lie unplowed and unused. Then the poor among your people may get food from it, and the wild animals may eat what is left. Do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.
“Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and so that the slave born in your household and the foreigner living among you may be refreshed. “Be careful to do everything I have said to you. Do not invoke the names of other gods; do not let them be heard on your lips.”
New Testament reading: Acts 4:1-20
The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. They seized Peter and John, and because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. But many who heard the message believed, and the number of men grew to about five thousand.
The next day the rulers, elders and teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and the other men of the high priest’s family. They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or name did you do this?”
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is
“‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.’
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everybody living in Jerusalem knows they have done an outstanding miracle, and we cannot deny it. But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn these men to speak no longer to anyone in this name.”
Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
How can we filter the truth? GK Chesterton was right; when people lose the foundation of truth in God, the issue isn’t that folks will believe nothing, but that folks will believe anything. ~D. Moore
Theme: We have in Acts the original documents of Peter and John giving an account of what happened to Jesus before the Sadducees. I want to relate this account in Acts about unbelief and the failure to believe the truth.
What the people believed:
∙ Sadducees were secular Jews, their beliefs about God were liberal, they didn’t believe in the resurrection.
∙ Pharisees were very religious, believed in miracles and followed the law closely.
∙ The rest were the military, rulers and politicians. ~D. Moore
Interpretation of the Torah Torah Alone
Middle Class Upper Class
Resurrection of the Dead No Resurrection
Belief in Afterlife No Afterlife
Rejected the Jewish Leaders Supported Jewish Leaders
The Pharisees and the Sadducees had nothing in common, they were at opposite ends of the political and the religious spectrum. But what was in common was the antagonism towards Jesus and His followers. ~D. Moore
Even if the probability of God is tiny, the infinite reward means that it’s a better bet than other choices. In fact, it’s an infinitely good bet.
Peter tells the Sadducees, “The stone you rejected has become the capstone (cornerstone). Everyone has a center, something they build their lives on. That thing you experience becomes your security and confidence. That thing becomes the lens through which you see the world and how you understand the world. ~D. Moore
The lens for the Christian is the Cross and it is Jesus. ~D. Moore
The cross for the Jews was offensive and the Greeks thought it was foolishness. ~D. Moore
The gospel comes after everyone’s center; every center that is not God. Any center of life that isn’t God is too fragile, too breakable. If you have built your life on your career or your family, or your education, or your personality, you are unstable and sensitive. You know deep down that what you have isn’t enough to sustain you through the hard times, because you will always be relying on your performance. ~D. Moore
The question becomes: Do you have Jesus as your foundation?
Ephesians 2:8: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.
The hard part of Christianity is to keep growing in the knowledge and love of Christ when we think we understand it all. ~D. Moore
Many people have died for the truth. Are you willing to stand for the truth in a world of falseness? Are you ready to proclaim the message boldly like Peter?
This week: Think about and act on how you can help the world to hear that God loves them.
God bless you all!