Date: 23 February, 2018
Text: Acts 17-42
Title: "Engage the Enemy"
Last week Nicolas Cruz massacred students at a high school in Florida killing 17 students.
An armed officer assigned to the Florida school .... last week stood outside the building during the shooting and did not intervene, the local sheriff says.
Deputy Scot Peterson has resigned after being suspended, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said.
"I am devastated. Sick to my stomach. He never went in," Sheriff Israel said.
Asked how he felt watching the footage, Israel said: "Devastated. Sick to my stomach. There are no words. These families lost their children. We lost coaches. I've been to the funerals, I've been to the homes. ... I've been to the vigils. It's just -- there are no words."
note: We can make excuses for Deputy Peterson - but they fall flat when you realize that people died because he didn't intervene.
POLICE ARE TRAINED TO PUT THEIR LIFE ON THE LINE TO SAVE THE LIVES OF OTHERS.
IF HE HAD GONE IN WE WOULD HAVE HEARD OF HIS HEROISM INSTEAD WE HEAR OF HIS SHAME. (I would imagine that if he had it to do over he would go in - not just for the applause - but for those who died because he didn't do what he was trained to do.)
ill. As a child - playing baseball - you strike out and you say, "I want a do over." (Because it is inconsequential and just a game you can have another shot.)
Much of our life does not get a "do over." We not be police guarding people from physical harm. WE ARE CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS SEEKING TO SAVE PEOPLE FROM THE BONDAGE OF HELL.
In Scotland - THERE IS CURRENTLY VERY LITTLE RISK - in other places there risk similar to Bible times.
ill. Tom suffered the whole night. The NSB pretended that they are the employees of hotel and when Tom open the door, they rushed all in. Tom said there were about a dozen of them. Two of them pushed him down and then search the whole room to find Kent and other coworkers. In the beginning, they thought Tom was Kent. But Kent left when they send the Kimmels and Tom to the airport. So Kent escape the tortured. Otherwise, it will be worse since Kent is the native of He Nan province. We are advising Kent to flee from his home town. Please pray for Kent. The NSB told Tom that they have already watched Kent and his group in a long time.
Tom been asked to take off all the clothes and then they took pictures. After that they took different pictures and arrested him. Of course, they kicked him, slap his face and beat him. Tom was tortured for sure. When they went back to the detention center, they handcuffed him and bond his feet. Place him in a dark room. The NSB spoke through a micphone and Tom was lock inside the dark room with strong light. They treated him like a criminal. They persecuted Tom for 10 hours and then in the morning, after the whole night interrogation, they asked Tom to fine 10,000 RMB. Then he was released. Then Tom quickly took the taxi and went straight to the airport and waiting for the flight to go back to Beijing.
exp. Praise God for men like Tom who risk everything to save men's souls!
YOU OUGHT TO ENGAGE THE ENEMY! Will you put your life on the line (and save lives) or stay outside of harm's way and be ashamed while people perish because you DID NOT DO YOUR JOB?
I. They were delivered to declare.
17 Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation,
18 And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison.
19 But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said,
20 Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.
21 And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.
22 But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned, and told,
23 Saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within.
24 Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow.
25 Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people.
26 Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned.
27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them,
28 Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us.
exp. There is something about irony that is delightful when it frustrates men and pleases God! They were imprisoned - they were commanded not to teach in Jesus name - BUT JESUS SET THEM FREE TO DECLARE THE GOSPEL!
question: Why did God set you free from sin, death and Hell?
ill. Paul - (Saul) incredible conversion - Why?
Acts 9:10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.
11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,
12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.
13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:
14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.
15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.
app. Jesus didn't just save you FOR YOUR SAKE - he set you free to tell others. We are delivered to declare the Gospel!
II. They were set free to submit.
29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
exp. They had already told them (Acts 4) , "19 But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.
20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard."
exp. When they got saved - they were SET FREE TO SUBMIT TO THE LORD!
Ill. Paul's conversion - Act 26:15 And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.
quote: "He is either Lord of all or He is not Lord at all!"
app. Jesus didn't save us to a life on independence from Him - Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. YOU WILL NEVER RISK (YOUR LIFE) FOR JESUS UNTIL YOU GIVE YOUR LIFE TO JESUS! Have you put yourself under your Lord?
III. They were called to testify.
30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.
31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are his witnesses of these things;
exp. They were bold witnesses - YOU KILLED HIM ON A CROSS - GOD RAISED HIM UP TO GLORY FOR THE SALVATION OF MANKIND!
remember - "WE CAN NOT BUT SPEAK THE THINGS WHICH WE HAVE SEEN AND HEARD."
Act 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Ill. In Scripture - Paul's testimony is recorded 3 times. Once when he got saved and twice as he shared it. He refers to it in other places.
ill. Remember the Demoniac of Gedarra - Jesus called him to testify of him.
Mark 5:19 Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.
20 And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.
app. They risked everything because the knew that what they had seen and heard was true! Do you feel in your heart today a compulsion to share how God has worked in your life and how He will work in the lives of others? THEY KNEW THEY WERE CALLED TO TESTIFY!
IV. They were filled to fulfil.
32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.
exp. We could think them bold - but they were not of themselves! What they possessed in boldness was God given.
ill. God proved that conclusively to us at the crucifiction of Jesus Christ and before the coming of the Holy Spirit - Peter denied Jesus - all the disciples forsook him and fled.
Mar 14:50 And they all forsook him, and fled.
exp. But, when God's Spirit came at Pentecost - that all changed.
Act 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.
Acts 4:29 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,
30 By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.
31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
ill. Paul testified of His Gospel THAT IT WAS EMPOWERED BY GOD'S SPIRIT.
1Co 2:4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
Act 6:3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.
app. You aren't going engage the enemy today without HOLY GHOST BOLDNESS - JESUS FILLED US TO FULFIL HIS CALLING! Act 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me
V. They were opposed but not overthrown.
33 When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them.
34 Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space;
35 And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men.
36 For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought.
37 After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed.
38 And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:
39 But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.
40 And to him they agreed:
exp. Even these self righteous unbelievers knew that GOD IS TOO GREAT TO OVERTHROW EVEN THOUGH THEY OPPOSED HIS SERVANTS.
Rom 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
ill. It is futile to try to stop God's plan - chief priests and pharisees should have learned this from experience at the tomb! Matthew 27
63 Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.
64 Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.
65 Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can.
66 So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.
Matthew 28:2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:
4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
app. We will be opposed - but never overthrown! 2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.
VI. They had bleeding bodies but not bleeding hearts.
...and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.
41 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.
exp. THEY WERE BEATEN - THEY COULD HAVE ESCAPED WHEN THEY WERE RELEASED FROM PRISON - BUT THEY WERE COMMANDED TO PREACH IN THE TEMPLE. NOW THEY'VE GOT BLEEDING BODIED BUT NOT BLEEDING HEARTS.
Matthew 5:11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Ill. Later - Paul and Silas - in prison - Acts 16:25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
QUESTION: HAVE YOU NO DESIRE TO IDENTIFY WITH JESUS WHO WENT TO THE CROSS TO IDENTIFY WITH US? He took their beating - now they have taken His! (It doesn't compare but it is more than most of us have suffered for Jesus.)
Gal 6:17 From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
ill. tiny scar on my thumb - I bare in my body...
app. Have you any battle scars that you have suffered for Jesus! Those who do - have bleeding bodies - but not bleeding hearts - THEY HAVE the JOY OF THE LORD.
VII. They accelerated through the world's red light.
42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
exp. The Sanhedrin in opposition to Jesus Christ -the ruling body of the Jews - demanded that they stop - the DISCIPLES OF JESUS JUST AMPED UP THE TRUTH OF GOD'S WORD!
app. Our World is putting up stop signs!
ill. Mike Pence - The View (entertainement talk show) - speaking with Jesus - mental illness
ill. Case against street preachers in England - In our day to quote parts of the KJV "Jesus is the way, the truth and the Life" is a hate crime."
ill. Rebekah - told Katie that in her coursework -they teach that rapid conversion to religion - is a sign of mental illness!
app. Has what our world says, thinks, or does - STOPPED YOU FROM SAVING MEN'S SOULS WITH THE GOSPEL OF JESUS?
CONCLUSION: I believe Deputy Peterson regrets not saving the lives of those who died and is ashamed that he did not fulfil his duty but saved himself.
Are you standing outside (ashamed) while people die - when you have been trained with the Gospel?
OTHERS IN OUR DAY ARE PAYING A GREAT PRICE TO OBEY GOD. THE EARLY CHURCH PAID THAT PRICE. THEY ENGAGED THE ENEMY! HAVE YOU?
They were delivered to declare - and so are we! (Are you preaching Jesus?)
They were set free to submit - and so are we! (Is Jesus Lord of all?)
They were called to testify - and so are we! (Are you sharing your testimony?)
They were filled to fulfil - and so are we! (Are you filled with God's spirit?)
The were opposed but not overthrown - and so are we! (Are you holding fast God's Word?)
They had bleeding bodies but not bleeding hearts - and so can we! (Have you suffered anything?)
They accelerated at the world's red light - and so can we! (Have you put on the brakes?)
May God not respond about us as Sherif Israel responded when asked how he felt about Peterson not going in, "Devastated. Sick to my stomach. There are no words. These families lost their children. We lost coaches. I've been to the funerals, I've been to the homes. ... I've been to the vigils. It's just -- there are no words."