Writings on Christianity

Indomitable Kingdom of God

Here’s the notes for my sermon Acts 5:17-42 “Indomitable Kingdom of God” preached at Cross of Christ Fellowship in Naperville, IL. Audio here.

         Acts 5:17-42 “The Indomitable Kingdom of God”

INTRO: Futility of trying to stop something that is unstoppable: trying to stop Earth from going round the sun.
      -Some things are unstoppable from a human perspective. The big word for this is IDOMITABLE.
                  -NOTHING can stop or thwart God and His plans or his kingdomà INDOMITABLE=unstoppable
                              -In Acts we learn about God’s establishing of His kingdom of Earth through church as Christians preach Jesus
                                          -NOTHING can thwart God’s plans, even suffering, persecution, or apathy.

*Because nothing can stop the advance of God’s kingdom of Earth, we ought to preach Jesus even if it means suffering.
-Jesus commissioned his people to be his witnesses and ascended to heaven.
      -Holy Spirit has come and filled Christians, empowering them to preach the gospel
                  -As gospel is preached more and more people become Christians: God’s kingdom on Earth established & expands
                              -God blessing his people as they preach the gospel, and working in extraordinary ways through his apostles.
TODAY: We see apostles face persecution as they seek to proclaim Jesus.
      -Will they keep preaching the gospel, even in the face of more intense persecution or even death?
      -Will God’s kingdom continue to advance, even as religious authorities try to stop it?
      -How will God help his people?
-Today, we see God powerfully bring deliverance for his people in some unexpected ways: 3 Unexpected Deliverers.
        -Ultimately, to oppose the preaching of Christ is to oppose God’s kingdom, which is futile: indomitable kingdom!
                   -This gives us courage to preach Jesus, even if it means suffering.

Scene 1: The Arrest of the Apostles (17-21)
Context: Apostles are preaching the gospel, miracles & signs are happening, and more and more people are becoming Christians.
-Jewish Religious Leaders are Unhappy (17-18)
-Sinful root: “filled with jealousy”
-Persecution of apostles: (18): “they arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison.
                              -They locked them up for the night.
      QUESTION: Will this stop the advance of the gospel? And how will apostles get out of this?
-Unexpected Deliverer #1: An angel! (19-21)
-An angel brings them out of prison (19): 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out
-God sent his angel to deliver the apostles!
                              -Angels (and demons) are real, and they accomplish the tasks God has for them (Heb 1:14)
                                          -2 mistakes to avoid: 1 put undue focus on them; 2 disbelieve them.
                                                      -God’s angels accomplish God’s work, and we can rejoice in God!
      -The angel has an instruction for them (20): “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.”
-The apostles need to keep preaching, even if it looks futile or dangerous
                              –NOTE: description of preaching: speak to the people all the words of this Life.”
-This is evangelism: sharing about the wonderful LIFE that Jesus brings and offers!
                                                      -Knowing Christ is far better than all greatest dreams of suburbia and this world! And more real!
      -The apostles obey (21) 21 And when they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and began to teach.
-It is good to preach the gospel, even if that means we might suffer.
OBSERVE: God is committed to see his kingdom continue to expand as Christians preach the gospel.
      -His kingdom is indomitable, and he can even use angels to help his people proclaim Jesus in the face of suffering.
                  -Angel: 2 Kings 19, King Hezekiah and threat of Assyrian army (Sennacherib), 185k die in the night by angel!

Nothing can stop the advance of God’s kingdom of Earth; God is able to help his people faithfully preach the gospel.

Scene 2: The Second Arrest of the Apostles (5:20b-26)
It is morning now and the priests are in for quite a surprise.
      -The apostles are nowhere to be found! (20b-23)
-Miraculous: prison secularly locked and guards standing at the doors.
      -The chief priests are perplexed (24)
-They do not know what make of this.
      -The apostles are discovered (25)
-They’re back in the temple and teaching the people
-Apostles give us a model of faithful obedience to Jesus.
                                          *APPLICATION: Moms, and dads, and singles, it is good and right to obey Jesus, even when its hard!
      -Apostles are arrested a second time (26-27)
                  –NOTE: Unexpected Deliver #2: SINFUL ATTITUDE OF RELIGIOUS LEADERS!
                              -Motivated by fear of man and cowardice (26b) and thus did not use force.
                                          -God able to deliver his people by the sinful acts and attitudes of others! Gen 50:20; Acts 2:23
                                                                  -Ten Boom sisters (Betsie and Corrie): giving thanks for fleas—saved by them!
Nothing can stop the advance of God’s kingdom of Earth; God is able to deliver his people through unexpected ways.

Scene 3: The Apostles Before the Religious Authorities (27b-41)
The apostles have been arraigned and are now being questioned by the religious leaders.
      -Opening Statement from High Priest (27b-28)                  -CHARGE: We CHARGED you not to teaching int his name (ch 4), and you have not obeyed!
                              -FURTHER: Your intention is bring us harm “bring this man’s blood upon us
                                          -OBSERVE: Sinful, self-serving fears of the religious leaders.
                                                      *APPLICATION: Where do sinful, self-serving fears & motives show up in my life?
      -Peter’s Response (29-32)
                  -It is more important that we obey God than you (29)
                              -True then, and now!
                  -Peter preaches Christ to the religious leaders! (30-32)
                              -Jesus’ death, resurrection, and exaltation in heaven (30-31a)            
                                          -Repentance and forgiveness of sins, from Jesus! (31b)
                                                      -You can experience this today as well if you believe in Jesus!
                                          -Apostles are witnesses to the gospel, and so is the Holy Spirit (32)
                                                      -Christians are witnesses of Jesus today too
                                          -Holy Spirit has been given to those who obey God (32b)
                                                      –INFERENCE: Not religious leaders, but those with faith in Jesus have gift of H.S.
                                                      -2nd INFERENCE: Rejecting Jesus=disobeying God!
                                                                  *APPLICATION: Jesus not optional, then or now. He is Messiah & only way to God!
      -Religious Leaders Response: Murderous RAGE (33)
                  -They get very angry and want to kill the apostles
                              –Serious Situation: they do have a history of killing (Jesus) and apostles know this.
QUESTION: How will they get out of this? How will God deliver his people now?
      -UNEXPECTED DELIVERER #3: Gamaliel! (34-39a)
-Gamaliel: Pharisee (in council with mostly Sadducees), well-known, respected (34a)
                              -Apostles put outside while he stands up to make his address (34b)
                  -Gamaliel’s Speech (35-39)
                              -Be careful about what you are about to do (35)
                              -Other religious leaders rose up, died, and movement came to nothing (36-37)
                                          -Could be the same with these Christians, so leave them alone (38a)
                                   –Key statement of caution (READ 38-39a)

                                          –If it is of man it will fail.
                                          –If it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them—it is futile! Work is indomitable!
                                                      -Further: You might even be found opposing God!”
                                                                  -LUKE wants us to hear this insight and see God’s kingdom this way.
-Chief Priests Listen to Gamaliel (39b-40)
-They “took his advice” (39b)
                              -Called the apostles in and “beat them” =Unjust bullying/beating. (Same happening today around world)
                              -Another charge to the apostle “not to speak in the name of Jesus
                                          -RELEASED! “they let them go
OBSERVE: God delivered his people through unexpected deliverer (Gamaliel), which saved lives and allow them to keep preaching!
      *3 UNEXPECTED DELIVERS: Angel, Sinful Motive of Persecutors, a Pharisee!
                  -God is committed to see his kingdom expand and will powerfully help his people as they preach his gospel.

   *QUESTION: What now? Keep preaching? Or be quiet about Jesus?
-Surprising joy (41)
                  -Continued faithfulness (42)
                              -Everyday; house to house…did not cease
                                          -Teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ!

Because nothing can stop the advance of God’s kingdom of Earth, we ought to preach Jesus even if it means suffering.

NON-CHRISTIAN: The kingdoms of this world will all fade away. The mini-kingdom of our lives will fade away
      -There is a better kingdom and a better king to live for: Daniel 2
                  -Jesus is the king of kings: God the Son: He deserves your love and worship.
                              -As king, he died for your sins and offers forgiveness of sin: Come to Him in faith! Enter indomitable kingdom!
CHRISTIAN: Jesus has saved us from living for this world and kingdom of our making.
      -He has kingdom work for us to do here, and that includes preaching the gospel.
                  -Don’t allow fear of suffering to stop you from preaching the gospel.
                              -The kingdom of God is indomitable!
Because nothing can stop the advance of God’s kingdom of Earth, we ought to preach Jesus even if it means suffering.

By Tom Schmidt

Christian, husband of Rach, Church Planter,musician,

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