The Cornerstone

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Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone that the Jews rejected. Salvation can be found only in Jesus Christ.

Transcript of The Cornerstone

  • 1. Acts 4:1-12

2. Before we get into Acts 4, lets just recallwhat has taken place. Peter & John see a lame man and they heal him(3:1-7). A great crowd assembled when they saw theman walking around praising God (3:8-11). Peter uses the opportunity to preach (3:12-26). Peters sermon lays out important themes: Jesus is the Servant of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob(v 13). He was killed and raised from the dead (3:13-15). The people need to repent (3:19). Jesus is the Prophet of whom Moses wrote (3:22-23). 3. A common feature in Acts is that speechesare often left unfinished, and they are ofteninterrupted. About 1/3 of Acts is composed of speeches. Luke seems to be making the point that thespeeches in Acts drive the action. That seems to be a quite apt way of looking at theGospel in general. The Gospel always prompts action of some sort oranother. What sort of action might the Gospel prompt? 4. As they spoke to the people (v 1). Apparently John spoke as did Peter. Im not at all sure how Peter and John did thepreaching. Its important to notice that they are both preachingthe same messageonly one sermon is recorded. The Jewish leadership shows up while Peter &John are speaking. The message they are preaching has promptedaction. Why does the Gospel often bring about anger? Do we sometimes make the Gospel too easy? In otherwords, should the Gospel make some people angry? 5. Peter & John are at the temple, and theirmessage angers those who have authorityover the temple. The captain of the temple guard was thecommanding officer of the temple police force. He was second in command to the high priest. He had oversight of the whole body of priest. 6. The Sadducees were Levitical priests whoclaimed to represent the ancient orthodoxy. They opposed any developments in biblicallaw. They also denied the resurrection. They also believed that the Messianic Agebegan with the Maccabees (168-134 BC). They believed the Messiah was an ideal, rather thana Person.Thus, the preaching of Peter & John isgoing to anger them. 7. Two things bother the leaders: Peter & John are teaching the people. The Sadducees were the recognized teachers of thepeople. Do we sometimes fall into the trap that only certainpeople can be teachers? Peter & John are teaching in Jesus theresurrection from the dead. The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection. The resurrection was an Old Testament concept (e.g., Dan12:2). The Greek means from the realm of the dead ones. 8. How is theresurrection fromthe dead inJesus? 9. It was too late in the day to begin a courthearing. It should be pointed out, however, that the timeof day had not prevented the Sadducees fromgiving Jesus a mock trial. It could be that the Sadducees werent expectingtrouble out of Peter & John. They already had a plan in place to take care ofJesus. The Sadducees become the first opponents ofChristianity. 10. How should Christians respond to beingopposed?Why isChristianity soopposed? 11. Many of those who heard the wordbelieved. Notice the connection between hearing theword and believing. Why is hearing the word such an importantpart of believing that word? What might this say about our preaching &teaching?What is the importance of believing? 12. The number of believers came to about fivethousand men. The Greek term is for male. In Acts 2:41, about three thousand souls wereadded to them. The term here is not gender neutral; Luke says thatthese believers are all male. I wonder why the number of males is given. Granted, women were very undervalued in thatsociety. But, I wonder if this doesnt say something aboutmale spiritual leadership. 13. How should men exercise their leadershiprole?Why is malespiritualleadership soimportant? 14. Peter and John are brought before theSanhedrin. The Sanhedrin was both the senate andsupreme court of Israel. The council (v 15) consisted of the high priest(who served as the presiding officer) andseventy other men. The majority (the aristocrats) were Sadducees, butthere were Pharisees on the council also. The Sadducees were considered more conservative,and the Pharisees were considered liberal. 15. This is the first of four times that Jesusfollowers stand before the Sanhedrin inActs.The other occurrences: Peter & the apostles (Acts 5:27). Stephen (6:12). Paul (22:30). 16. The Sanhedrin asks, By what power or bywhat name have you done this? (v 7). The you is plural hereThe Sanhedrin isaddressing both Peter and John here. Why did it really matter by what authorityPeter and John had healed this man? Why did the Sanhedrin want to know by whatauthority Peter and John had acted? Does authority matter that much today? 17. Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit (v 8). This was a promise of Jesus (Lk 21:12-15). Jesus said that the apostles would be able to use suchoccasions for testimony (Lk 21:13). That seems to go back to Acts 1:8 where the apostlesare called upon to be witnesses of the Risen Christ. Why was it important that the apostles befilled with the Holy Spirit when beforehostile crowds? Are there any lessons we might learn? How can we handle hostile opponents of truth? 18. Peter and John are being judged for a gooddeed done to a helpless man (v 9). The man was lame from his mothers womband was carried to the gate of the temple to askfor alms (3:2). This man could do very little for himself. This mans helplessness says a great deal about themiracleHe was really healed, he couldnt do healhimself, he couldnt give Peter and John somethingin return. Does that make a good analogy to Christianity? 19. Might the lame mans helplessness saysomething about helping others? What are some good ways to help those whoare helpless? Have you ever been helped when helpless?The word made well in verse 9 is theword for saved. Throughout Scripture, this word is used to referto salvation from sickness, enemies, etc. However, the usage at v 9 prepares for a morespecific meaning at v 12. 20. Peter tells the Sanhedrin that in the name ofJesus Christ this man had been madewhole. They had killed this Jesus, but they could notdeny Him forever the miracle they hadwitnessed had been performed by the power ofthe One they had killed. Why can people not deny Jesus forever? 21. Its somewhat surprising to me that theSanhedrin does not attempt to discredit theResurrection. If the Sanhedrin had produced Jesus body, thedisciples claims would have been over. If the Sanhedrin had good-soundingarguments, the disciples would have needed tomeet that challenge.Nowhere in Scripture is there any attempton the part of Christianitys opponents todiscredit the Resurrection of Jesus. 22. At verse 11, we find the Messianicprophecy of this text. This is the stone which was rejected by youbuilder, which has become the chiefcornerstone. The prophecy comes from Psalm 118. This is an important Psalm for understanding theMessiah. Lets read the Psalm in its entirety to understand thetext. 23. Psalm 118 can be divided as follows: A call to worship the LORD, for His mercyendures forever (vv 1-4). Why is it interesting that a psalm which predicts theMessiah calls on Israel to worship because Godsmercy is ever present? The psalmist is in distress, but his confidence isin God (vv 5-9). The psalmist details his distress (vv 10-14). The psalmist understands Gods power (vv 15-18). 24. Psalm 118 can be divided as follows: An appeal for God to open the gates ofrighteousness (vv 19-20). The psalmist will praise God, for He is hissalvation (v 21). Do we praise God enough for our salvation? I fear many people want salvation, but they arentinteresting in praising God. The rejected stone has become the chiefcornerstone (vv 22-24). Praise of God for His salvation (vv 25-29). 25. How is Jesus the chief cornerstone?There are two main interpretations of thistext: Jesus is the cornerstone, the foundation ofGods building. Is 28:16. 1 Pet 2:4-7. Jesus is the capstone, the final piece of Godsplan. Dan 2:34-35. Both interpretations fit Scripture. 26. Salvation can only be found in Jesus. This verse stands in stark contrast to thereligious pluralism so many advocate. Why is Jesus the only way to the Father? How can we help people understand that Jesusis the only way to God?