Intro: From the beginning the church of Jesus Christ incurred great opposition. So much so that -
The entrenched religious authority of Israel was their biggest obstacle at first, opposing them at every turn and finally spearheading severe persecution of all who would believe the message of the apostles.
In the face of all this you would think that everyone would be scared off yet the bible says,
Why this ferocious opposition? What terrible things were the apostles doing? What terrible things were they teaching?
A. Continued to be a cause of great opposition.
1. Sadducees did not believe in a resurrection (sad u see)
2. Pharisees supposedly did
3. Pagans did not.
B. Pagans thought it foolish
...They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. ...
1. Pagans believed in the immortality of the soul.
2. Resurrection to them was a disgusting idea.
3. Pharisees did (but not all as many were also influenced by the Greek idea of immortality)
C. Challenged their Authority
1. Real “disturbance” to Authorities was
2. Acts 4:7
3. They were the recognized authority.
4. To guide the affairs of the nation, etc.
5. Ordered the apostles not to teach anymore in Jesus’ name (authority)
A. Their authority was God.
1. Acts 4:19
2. Gospel in specific terms. Not simply “salvation” but what is salvation?
3. There is no salvation without resurrection
4. There is no gospel without resurrection
5. There is no believing the gospel without believing in “resurrection in Jesus”!
A. Currant movie of unleashed power of dead people rising up from the earth – still dead. “Mysterious Dead” or something
1. That’s the stuff of the occult, dead people living.
2. Stuff of the bible is the dead in Christ being raised to life again
B. Consider power unleashed when the dead in Christ
1. 1 Thes. 4:16 ... dead in Christ will rise first.
2. Rev. 20:13 The sea gave up the dead ... death and Hades gave up the dead ...
C. Reason for Courage to defy the powers that be?
1. Jesus’ promise to the faithful.
John 6:39-40 ... and I will raise him up at the last day." (raise him up at the last day repeated to twice more)
Philip. 3:10-11 ... power of his resurrection ... attain to the resurrection from the dead.
A. No one can control what we believe
1. Unless we surrender them the option
2. Many relinquish that choice to others
3. Feel safe giving it to the authorities that be
4. Or the established dogma
B. But God commissioned the preaching of “resurrection in Jesus” as a cornerstone of the Gospel He wants preached and believed.
1. Pharisees believed in the resurrection but not the resurrection in Jesus.
2. Remember a message similar to the gospel is not the gospel.
3. A counterfeit 20 dollar bill is worthless.
C. Apostles “continued to testify of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus” v. 33
1. Is there two messages here? One of Jesus’ resurrection and another of the resurrection for believers?
2. There is not point in the message of Jesus’ resurrection unless it is proof of the believers resurrection.
3. 1 Cor. 15:12-13 ... preached that Christ has been raised ...
D. “Unschooled, Ordinary men” v. 13
1. Unschooled” unlettered. Without a formal education
2. Ordinary- KJV “ignorant” from Greek root from which we trace our word idiot.
3. Perhaps rude, not polished.
E. Man at camp. “All the scholars I know don’t believe much of anything”
1. We need more “ordinary” men preaching the gospel. Plain spoken men.
Conclusion: “Church” was the most common name for the early Christians collectively “Believer” or “believers” was the second most common name for Christians, being used 14 times in Acts and a total of 27 times in the NT. Actually “Christian” is used only 3 times and that in Acts. One cannot be a Christian without being a believer. And one cannot be considered a believer without believing in the message of the resurrection in Jesus.