Not in Our Own Strength

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Not in Our Own Strength


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Introduction:

Thank you again for being here today. If you are worshiping with us online, thank you for joining us in that way. We would love to know that you are with us so I would invite you to type a short message in the chat box or let us know how we can be praying for you by submitting a prayer request.

We are in our fourth week of our series Resonate with the Songs of the Resurrection. This is the season of Easter – Easter is not over! We celebrate the risen Christ and follow what took place in the days and weeks after his resurrection.

Our passage this morning comes from Acts 4:5-12 and you can turn there now in your bibles or in your Bible app now if you would like. It will also be on the screens in just a few moments.

Context of the passage –

  • Chapter 4 marks the beginning of resistance to the gospel and that has continued for 20 centuries. Jewish people were favorable to the ministry of Jesus but now the Jewish authorities are beginning to express hostility. Peter and John are seized and arrested by the Sadducees, and the captain of the temple guard.
  • Peter had just preached his first sermon and denounced the people for killing the Messiah. Over 3000 people were saved and with such a crowd, one can conclude that he was spared from controversy. But then he heals a lone crippled beggar and then preaches, denouncing even stronger the Jews for killing the Messiah. This was too much and the first persecution began. It was in the middle of this sermon that Peter is interrupted and him and John are arrested.
  • They are concerned about the message of the resurrection. “To say that Christ rose would buttress the Pharisees’ teaching regarding the resurrection, which the Sadducees rejected.” They were deeply concerned about those who heard the message and the Sadducees felt their prestige and pocketbooks threatened when Jesus cleared the temple courts. Because there had been substantial growth – now numbering about 5000 (without counting women and children), this was truly phenomenal and would influence the power of the Jewish rulers.

Here the Word of the Lord

Acts 4:5-12 (NLT)
5 The next day the council of all the rulers and elders and teachers of religious law met in Jerusalem. 6 Annas the high priest was there, along with Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and other relatives of the high priest. 7 They brought in the two disciples and demanded, “By what power, or in whose name, have you done this?”
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of our people, 9 are we being questioned today because we’ve done a good deed for a crippled man? Do you want to know how he was healed? 10 Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead. 11 For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, ‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’ 12 There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”

Exposition:

  • The religious rulers believed that they had power and authority over religious matters and they felt that Peter and John were threatening their authority. In typical fashion when someone feels that their authority is being challenged, they begin by questioning the source of Peter and John’s authority to teach and heal. They knew that they had no power in comparison to that of Peter and John – uneducated laymen. They also asked Jesus by what authority he came in.
  • They came and interrupted Peter as he taught and arrested him and John after the healing of the crippled beggar.
  • The next day the apostles came before the 70 members of the Sanhedrin – the same group that had condemned Jesus to death.
  • Being filled with the Spirit, Peter and John not onlydefend but they attack in their response to the Sanhedrin and proclaim the gospel.
  • “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit”
    • Peter had previously withered under question and denied knowing the Lord. Now he stands strong because of the Holy Spirit. “We should distinguish between this use of the aorist passive, denoting a special moment of inspiration, and the use of the adjective to denote the abiding character of the Spirit-filled person (found with Stephen in 6:5)
    • “Filled with the Holy Spirit” is a key phrase in the book of Acts, found 5 times. Here (and in 13:9) “suggests the instant inspiration Jesus promised in Matthew 10:19-20. This can be referred to as “anointing.”
    • “With the resurrection and the powerful presence of the Spirit of God, these disciples have beentransformed, their fear and silence replaced with hope and boldness. Once, they trembled and hid, fearing that Jesus’ fate would be their own. Now, they directly confront the powers that be, calling them out for crucifying Jesus, the Christ, and informing them that God has acted in a way that undermines their authority and questions their claims.”
  • Peter was speaking directly to the religious leaders of his day because they were the ones competing with God for the hearts of the people. Their version of Judaism had little to do with the Judaism of the Bible, and blinded people to the coming of Christ, the one true Messiah. The same way that competing religions, self-help books, and other forms of spirituality continue to offer people an alternative solution to the sin problem in the hearts of humankind.

Application:

  • The name of Jesus is saving.
    • Romans 10:9-10 – 9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
    • It is through Christ alone that we receive salvation and the power of the Holy Spirit.
    • Repent and be baptized. 2.The name of Jesus is solitary.
    • Romans 5:1–2 – Therefore, having been justified by faith we have peace with God through Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
    • Through Christ alone. He is not reliant on us but is the only one we can rely on.
    • Other people and other things try to take the place of Christ as ruler of our lives but those things or people will eventually return to us void, empty, and we are lost with incompleteness.
  • The name of Jesus is sovereign.
    • Ephesians 1:18-23 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
    • We can try and find our path through other things and other people but they return void. Once we commit our lives to the Lord, we can try and do it on our own knowledge, skill, and strength but we will fail. It is only through the power of Christ in us. He is the cornerstone of faith, the cornerstone we must build our life on.

Conclusion:

Story: Southwest Flight 1380 and Tammie Jo Shults.• Departure from New York’s LaGuardia Airport at 10:30am

  • Normal morning and the passengers are getting settled, laughing, playing Sudoku, catching up on reading for church, and cuddling up to watch a funny movie on the flight. The plane had just been inspected and everything seemed normal
  • The 144 passengers and 5 crew were climbing above 30,000 feet and waiting for the drinks service to begin. Its passengers were New Yorkers heading to San Antonio or Dallas, for a meeting or a technology conference. They were Texans and New Mexicans heading home after a magical first visit to New York City, an education conference in Midtown Manhattan, or a trip to see family.
  • They spent the morning at the airport making jokes about bag-check fees, snapping selfies on the plane, even getting into a tiff with another passenger about who got to board first. Just another day of air travel in America.
  • In the cockpit, a veteran pilot settles in for the flight. Another normal day in the sky. If the passengers knew, they would have a much confidence in their flight today. One of the first women Naval fighter pilots, Tammy Jo Shultz was the first to fly a F/Z Hornet fighter plane and after spending a decade flying and training other pilots in the Navy, she joined the commercial pilot ranks.
  • The time is approximately 11 am and the passengers are startled by a deafening roar. What was a normal day of flying has turned into chaos.
  • The plane’s left engine exploded after one if its fan blades broke off. Shrapnel was propelled into a window and blew it out, partially sucking out a passenger who later lost her life.
  • The plane plunged thousands of feet in a minute and the passengers scrambled for their oxygen masks.
  • The depressurized cabin air swirled with wind and debris, panic and prayers as the pilot rerouted the plane to Philadelphia for an emergency landing
  • Then the voice of the captain comes over the speakers, in a way that later passengers would call calm and wit nerves of steel.
  • Over the intercom, the crew sternly told passengers to put their heads down and brace themselves. Ms. Sears held onto her friend in the seat next to her and wondered, “Will it stop? Will it crash? Will it explode?”
  • It landed.

The captain took the plane into a rapid descent and made an emergency landing in Philadelphia as passengers said their prayers and braced for impact, even trying to frantically purchase in-flight wifi to say goodbyes to family.

  • It landed gently at around 11:20 in Philadelphia, and with whoops and applause, the passengers pulled out their cellphones to text and call their families to report that they were all right.
  • Passengers commenting on the amazing navigation of the captain. “The plane was steady as a rock after (the engine blew). I didn’t have any fear that it was out of control.” “Her grace and knowledge under pressure were remarkable,” she wrote. “She came through the plane personally to check on us after she landed our crippled airplane. … We were truly all in amazing hands.”
  • Those hands belonged to Tammy Jo Shults, the Captain of Flight 1380. Shults is not only a veteran commercial pilot and former Navy pilot and flight instructor, but a graduate of MidAmerica Nazarene University. She is obviously very driven and intelligent given her education and experience. But there is something else.
  • According to the F-16 blog, Shults said that sitting on the captain’s seat gives her “the opportunity to witness for Christ on almost every flight.”
  • She understands that her ultimate strength comes not from her training and experience but from Jesus.

Response:

Fill out back of sermon notes:

  1. What do you need to repent of in your life so that Christ can become more fully alive within you?
  2. What are the things that you rely on instead of Jesus?
  3. Do you live your life through Christ alone? What are the hindrances to your full surrender and reliance on the power of Christ? d.Wesley Covenant Prayer

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