God Did It!
Acts 4: 5-12
In Acts we have seen 3000 souls receive Christ as Lord and Saviour.
We have seen a man lame from birth healed.
And Peter and John were arrested for preaching the resurrection of Jesus.
This was a cause for the rulers to be alarmed.
Peter and John were brought before the Sanhedrin.
The Sanhedrin were seated in a semicircle, and they asked,
"By what power or by what name did you do this?"
The Sanhedrin was pretending that the inquiry was a case of exorcism.
The current view in Jerusalem was that all illness and afflictions were caused by demons.
The only way to cure a person was by exorcising the demon who caused the trouble.
In reality the Sadducees were not opposed to the use of a name or a power to cure a person
in some sort of magical way.
The real issue with them was the disturbance of their peace.
Isn't that what we find in the world today?
By what power?
English translators do not present the scorn, which the Greek achieves by ending the question with "you."
A valid paraphrase would be, "By what authority or by what name did you do this, such as you!"
Their contempt for the disciples is due partly to the fact that they were "uneducated in their schools,
or were just common men." (4: 13)
It is not implied that they were illiterate, but that they lacked formal training and appointment.
"By what power"... could be said of what we do for God.
And we would probably say that it was because we planned and we programmed and we worked hard.
Or it was because we love so... or our great courage... our dedication.
It was because we are so well-trained and educated.
By what power?
Peter replies in words inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Peter proceeds to preach the gospel to his judges.
By the power of Jesus Christ of Nazareth -- that is how this man was healed.
Look at the evidence!
This man was lame from birth, and they knew it.
This man was no longer lame -- he was standing before them.
He was standing before them with confidence.
He was quite and courageous.
This man represents the one unanswerable argument to the Sanhedrin.
They could say nothing in opposition to the apostles
because the living evidence of the miracle was standing right before their eyes.
The greatest testimony of Christianity is a Christian life.
And here, we had that kind of the evidence last Sunday.
We saw miracle after miracle of new life.
We saw many lives being changed.
By what power?
The answer is simple.
It was by the same power of Jesus Christ.
"Be it known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel,
that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead."
Jesus healed this man.
Simon Peter tells the Sanhedrin that a living Jesus healed this man.
A dead Jesus could work no miracles such as this.
Only a risen and glorified Jesus could do this.
Jesus healed when He was alive on the earth, and the rulers crucified him.
He arose and He lives and still heals and still saves men from their sin.
Wow, what a message to this august assembly of judges.
It contains no word of apology.
It contains no hint of conciliation.
Peter does not bow beneath them as a slave would bow or a criminal would.
He offers no word of defense for himself.
But with a clearness that could not be mistaken, and a directness that could not be evaded,
He charges his judges with the greatest crime that could have ever been committed.
What a message, and delivered with such power.
The Holy Spirit lived in his heart.
He was a man who had experienced Jesus Christ.
He is courteous as he speaks, but you cannot fail to notice the sarcasm of his opening sentence:
"If we... are examined concerning a good deed done to a lame man."
If this is the case, is it not absurd to treat us as criminals when we have
merely been involved in a man being healed.
So, at once, Peter places the Sanhedrin in a ridiculous light in asking for an explanation of the miracle.
Yet he proceeds to answer their question, and rejoices in the fact that his judges do not deny
the reality of the miracle, or separate it from the testimony which he is bearing.
He boldly declares that this man has been healed in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
Peter preaches the gospel to his judges and he does so by citing a well-known Old Testament Scripture:
"The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner." (Psalm 118:22)
This is one of the earliest testimonies of Christ.
There was a legend that when the stones were brought from the quarries for the erection of Solomon's temple,
one stone did not seem to fit anywhere and was thrown on the rubbish heap in the valley below.
When the temple was nearing completion, the builders found that the headstone was missing.
After a diligent search, they discovered that the the discarded stone was the very one
which made the temple complete.
The Jewish nation, inspired by the Sanhedrin, had thrown away the precious stone, Jesus Christ,
because they believed Him to be worthless.
That rejected stone had, in the plan of God, became the very cornerstone of the church.
"And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men
by which we must be saved."
There is only one way of life, and that is through Jesus.
Jesus is the world's only Saviour!
The narrowness of salvation's opportunity is illustrated by the story of a pilot
who came back from overseas during World War II.
He had been shot down over Germany and had spent nine months in a German prison camp.
He was telling his experiences of his combat over Germany.
He was surrounded by many enemy fighter planes, and his own plane was struck and burst into flames.
He knew that he had to jump.
And because he was surrounded by enemy planes he delayed opening his chute
until he had fallen several hundred feet into a cloud bank.
When asked how he could do such a thing, since he had never done it before,
he said, "I could do it because I knew it was my only chance."
It is Christ or chaos!
It is Christ or death!
It is Christ or an eternal hell!
Jesus is your only chance!
Today may be your only chance for life eternal in Jesus!
Today can be the day of your salvation!
Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White
Email Dr. White at hleewhite@AOL.com