Sunday School Material 9-20-15: Speaking Up for God





(Acts 5:27-29, 33-42; 9/20/15)


Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is the Apostles stayed strong in the Lord, in spite of religious opposition. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to stay strong in the Lord, in spite of religious opposition.

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Body:

Read Acts 5:27-29, 33

I. Apostles’ Stand. In our Sunday School material Peter and company are brought before the Sanhedrin. The charge has to do with the Apostles’ teaching about Jesus, in spite of instructions to refrain from such.

Peter and company reaffirm their commitment to putting God’s ways above the ways of human authorities. The Sanhedrin members got so angry that they wanted to kill the Apostles.

Applications –

- Spiritual courage to keep God first. Notice in vs. 29 the principle of keeping God’s will above the will of human authorities. First, we need to prayerfully study God’s word, so we can discern God’s will. What seems right to us and what is right according to God’s word can be very different.

Second, when human authorities, even religious authorities, lead us contrary to God’s will, we should stay with God’s will. Let’s work on having the spiritual courage to stay with God’s will, in spite of human authorities calling us to go another way.

- Angry religious people. Notice in vs. 33 that the religious authorities got so angry that they sought to kill the Apostles. In like manner, we should not be surprised when even religious people get so upset that they want to cause us harm. This is especially the case, when we don’t let them control us.

First, we should strive to have the faith needed to withstand being attacked. Second, we should make sure that we are not the ones attacking. We should make sure we don’t allow the devil to use us to carry out his plans. Let’s work on staying strong in the face of even religious opposition and keeping the devil from using us.

Read Acts 5:34-39

II. Gamaliel’s Plea. Notice in our Sunday School material that Gamaliel was a respected member of the Sanhedrin. He urged them to refrain from killing the Apostles. If the Apostles were following human urgings, their efforts would fail. However, if they Apostles were following God’s will, the Sanhedrin’s efforts would fail.

Applications –

- Gamaliel. Notice in vs. 34 that Gamaliel was the honored, cool, and wise head in the room. First, we should strive to be a constructive voice, in whatever group we find ourselves in. We should really try to be a constructive voice, when violence is being considered.

Second, we should have some people in our lives who can help us sift through our anger issues and do what is best. There are too many people who get in troubled because they make bad decisions in the time of their anger. Let’s work on being and respecting those who are like Gamaliel.

- Waiting on clarity. Notice in vss. 38-39 of our Sunday School material that there are times to wait and see. When God has nothing to do with a situation, it will come to nothing. You don’t have to kill a bad idea. It will die by itself.

However, when God is behind and idea, we will be guilty of fighting against God, when we fight against the idea that He is supporting. This application is for those areas where there are no clear answers.

Where scripture is being clearly breached, we know that we should stand on the word. However, when there is uncertainty, we would do well to trust God to either allow some things to fall or for His favor to be made manifested. Let’s seek God’s wisdom about when to wait on His will to be made clear.

Read Acts 5:40-42

III. Council’s Decision. The Sanhedrin agreed with Gamaliel. However, they had the Apostles flogged/beaten before they were released. We see in our Sunday School material that the Apostles rejoiced about suffering for the name of Jesus. They kept on teaching and proclaiming the good news about Jesus.

Applications –

- Faith development. Notice in vs. 40 that God allowed the Apostles to be flogged, before they were released. In like manner, there are times when God allows suffering in our lives. “Yes” sometimes we suffer because of our sins.

But there are other times that we suffer because of our faithfulness to God’s calling on our lives. We should work on having the faith to get through such suffering. When people stop ministering because someone looked at them the wrong way or because they did not get enough credit, it doesn’t seem like they have enough faith to handle suffering for the name of Jesus.

Let’s work on our faith development. Prayerfully studying and obeying God’s word with the support of other disciples can help us with faith development.

- Attitudes and actions. Notice in vss. 41-42 that the Apostles rejoiced about suffering for the name of Jesus and kept on ministering. Perhaps one of the reasons that they rejoiced was because they believed that God would bless them at such a level that the suffering would be worth it.

Think about how the crown of life is so much greater than the crosses that we have to carry. Don’t overlook their continued service. There are too many who quit too soon.

Let’s work on keeping our attitude and actions right, no matter what troubles we face. Our attitude should be known for rejoicing in what God will do. Our actions should be known for faithfully doing God’s will.

Conclusion: Let’s work on being strong in the Lord, in spite of religious opposition. God has much for those who obey His will.

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