Acts 4:13-20 (ESV)
"13 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. 14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. 15 So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together.16 “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everyone living in Jerusalem knows they have performed a notable sign, and we cannot deny it.17 But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name.” 18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”(Acts 4:13-20, ESV)
THE IMPACT OF CHRIST’S PRESENCE!
“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men…”
"13 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." (Acts 4:13)
“And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.”’ (Luke 5:26, ESV)
THE UNDENIABLE POWER OF GOD!
"16 “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everyone living in Jerusalem knows they have performed a notable sign, and we cannot deny it." (Acts 4:16)
“you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses…” (Acts 1:8, ESV)
“2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:2-4, ESV)
“There is an extraordinary power available to believers, a power that can accomplish far more than we ordinarily think or imagine. It comes by the Spirit. It accords with the riches of God's glory. It is the very fullness of God, as unimaginable as that sounds” ~ John Piper
“4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5, ESV)
THE UNSTOPPABLE CONVICTION!
"19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19-20)
“If you live for people’s acceptance, you’ll die from their rejection” ~ Jaelene Hinkle (twitter)
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes….” (Romans 1:16, ESV)
The passage from Sunday, (Acts 4:13-20), contained a statement from Peter in v.20, “As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” This statement is in response to an order by the Sanhedrin, in which they tried to stop the spreading of the Gospel message by ordering Peter and John to stop talking about Jesus. Peter and John’s response is incontrovertibly profound! Notice that they don’t say, “We won’t stop” or “we refuse to stop.” The response is that it is not in their ability to stop. They are incapable of controlling the message. They are not saying that their message is a natural response for followers of Christ, but that it is a supernatural response of Christ in and through them.
The passage for today’s study is very similar in that is points out that God’s message cannot be stopped! As a group, turn to Jeremiah 20:1-9.
1. Briefly read through Jeremiah 20:1-6. What type of message is Jeremiah tasked with sharing to Pashhur?Now that we have looked at the context of the message from Jeremiah, let’s look at Jeremiah’s response to having to preach such a tough message. The verses that follow are not only Jeremiah complaining TO God, but Jeremiah complaining ABOUT God!
2. Read closely v.7. What does Jeremiah mean when he says that he has been deceived? Notice Jeremiah’s acquiescence that God is stronger than him and that God will always prevail. This is Jeremiah stating that God’s call on him to be a prophet was stronger than Jeremiah’s resistance to that call, and whose “will” prevails. IT IS ALWAYS GOD’S WILL THAT PREVAILS. This may seem arbitrary and unrelated to today’s topic, but it plays a primary role in the understanding of v.8 and v.9.
3. What is Jeremiah’s message in v.8? Have you ever felt like this before? Have you ever been frustrated at the message that God has given you to share? If so, you are not alone. This is Jeremiah’s sentiment exactly!
4. Turn to and read aloud v.9. The natural response to Jeremiah’s complaint in vv.7-8 is to just say ”That is it, I am done! I am not going to share God’s message anymore! And this is how v.9 starts out, BUT NOT HOW IT ENDS! What does Jeremiah say next in the second part of v.9?
Now, back to understanding how “God’s will always prevails” is related. Jeremiah closes v9 with his weariness to try and withhold the message of God. He says, in fact, that he “cannot” withhold this message. This is where we see a correlation with Peter and John’s response in Acts 4. They too “could not” keep this message back; primarily because it is not their message--it is God’s message. God’s will is to have his message shared and to use us as the medium for sharing this message. His call on our lives to share the message is infinitely stronger than our resistance to this call. The desire to share the Gospel is supernatural. It is placed in our hearts by God Himself and we are guided through it by the Holy Spirit. Let us take away two things from today’s passage.
First, as a believer, we are called to share God’s message. It is unhealthy and painful if we don’t! We should respond with a willingness and eagerness when called to share, even if the message brings about ridicule and mocking from our intended audience.
Second, if we do not have an uncomfortable feeling, the building up of pressure (if you will), when we refuse to share God’s message, we need to take a long look at our relationship or lack thereof with God. It should not be easy for us to conceal the message of Hope--in fact, it should be impossible. Remember, Jeremiah, and Peter/John all stated that they “could not” keep quiet, which is a statement relating to their ability. It was impossible for them to keep quiet!