Listen to Gamaliel (Acts 5:33-42) *New Living Translation*
– Read Acts 5:27-29
– There is an ongoing clash between the Apostles and the Jewish High Council.
– The apostles are healing people, preaching “Jesus is the Messiah”, and creating a huge following.
– The high council is feeling like the target. This “Jesus revolution” has made them the enemy, and has diminished their power, prestige, and authority. They worry the people will turn against them.
– They have beaten and threatened Peter and John. They have thrown them in jail and ordered them to stop preaching, but they won’t stop preaching or change their message.
– Read Acts 5:29-33
- Listen to Gamaliel.
Read Acts 5:34-39
– The Jewish High Council is made up of pharisees, who are the experts in the Law of Moses.
– Pharisees were mostly God-fearing and law-abiding, w/ a lot of influence in the synagogues.
– Their basic belief was that eradicating sin by strict obedience to the law would usher in God’s Kingdom here on earth.
– Their understanding of the Law, and their own traditions were the only important things.
– The mistake most of them made was replacing a relationship with God with service to God, and knowledge of God. They didn’t know God, so they didn’t recognize him in the flesh.
– Who Is Gamaliel?
– A leader of the high council, a famous and respected Pharisee and teacher of the law.
– He has surely seen his fair share of uprisings, false prophets, and fake messiahs in his day.
– The Apostle Paul mentions him to add credibility to his own knowledge and pedigree:
– Acts 22:3, Then Paul said, “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, and I was brought up and educated here in Jerusalem under Gamaliel. As his student, I was carefully trained in our Jewish laws and customs. I became very zealous to honor God in everything I did, just like all of you today.
– Jesus contradicts everything the Pharisees believe, and the things they have built their lives on.
– The irony here is that they are willing to violate the very law they have dedicated their lives to protect, by killing these men who they think are trying to turn people away from following the law.
– Exodus 20:13 (The 10 commandments) Thou shall not murder.
– Eccles. 7:9, Control your temper, for anger labels you a fool.
– Prov. 14:29, People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness.
– Psalm 37:8, Stop being angry! Turn from your rage. Don’t lose your temper, it only leads to harm.
– The high council has lost their way, and are willing to fall into sin to get what they want.
– Gamaliel speaks from his experience, “So my advice is, leave these men alone. Let them go. If they are planning and doing these things merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown. But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God!”
– Basically, Don’t do something you can’t take back. Leave it alone.
– If this is the work of men, it will fail, just like those other guys that came before them. If it’s of God, you can’t stop it.
– Basically, let God sort this one out.
– Verse 40, The others accepted his advice. They called in the apostles and had them flogged. Then they ordered them never again to speak in the name of Jesus, and they let them go.
– The members of the council agree with Gamaliel, but again have Peter and John severely beaten and threatened?! Not quite “leaving them alone”. More like half-obedience.
– We are quick to condemn the pharisees, but do we see this same behavior in ourselves?
– When we are wronged, anger quickly rises inside us. We want to “get them back”!
– We want to Hit the pause button on our faith long enough to enact our own justice, then we can go back to being the shining example of God’s forgiveness and grace.
– We can quickly fall into sin and violate our own convictions by just having to “do something,” even if it’s something small so we can have the satisfaction. Small sin is still sin!
– Example: High School JV football vs Ballard, hit in the back, attacked the wrong kid, recognized it but still acted mad so I could feel justified in my actions. I can’t apologize now!
– What I should have done was used that injustice to inspire me to play even harder! Excel on the field and show them that THEY CAN’T STOP ME!!
– This is what the apostles did. Wrongfully treated but didn’t respond with violence, so that their message would not be discredited.
– Acts 5:26, The captain went with his Temple guards and arrested the apostles, but without violence, for they were afraid the people would stone them. (They could have stirred up the crowds against the guards, but they didn’t.)
– Romans 12:19, Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.
– When the Egyptian army had Moses and the Israelites trapped with their back against the Red Sea:
Exodus 14:14, Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. 14 The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”
– When we feel trapped in an impossible situation, we need to have the courage to stay calm, and let the Lord rescue us.
- Peter and John set the example for us yet again.
– Read Acts 5:41-42
– “Be ready in season and out of season!” When the opportunity is there, and when people don’t want to hear it. When it’s easy, and when it’s difficult. Don’t miss an opportunity to share the gospel.
– 2 Tim 4:2, Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.
– Encourage (Greek para-ka-leo) means to urge a person towards action or a new thought pattern, this is done with a positive attitude and a desire to help.
– This is what we see Peter and John doing in good times, but mostly in bad times.
– 2 Tim 4:3-5, For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will reject the truth and chase after myths. 5 But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.
– This isn’t just meant for the preacher in the pulpit. This is how YOU should live your lives!
– How the apostles responded to their treatment testified about the Jesus they preached.
– If Peter and John were to quit, that would disqualify them, just like those other guys.
- Now it’s YOUR turn!
– Your words and actions testify about the Jesus you preach. You CAN’T represent redemption through grace, if every time you are angry you give yourself license to sin!
– Angry and vindictive sin cannot be used to defend a holy and righteous God.
– 1 Cor. 9:27, (Apostle Paul says) I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.
– Matthew Henry said, “It ought to be the constant business of gospel ministers to preach Christ; Christ, and him crucified; Christ, and him glorified; nothing besides this but what is reducible to it.”
– Every sermon is a gospel sermon. Be ready to represent “in season and out of season.”
– prayer –