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Jan 09, 2022

Faith vs Unbelief

Passage: Acts 5:17-42

Speaker: Omar Ortiz

Series: Acts: Windows into the Missional Church

Category: Sermon

Sermon Summary:
Big Idea: See the contrast between Unbelief that leads to murderous rage and Belief that leads to joy in suffering

(1) The Root of Unbelief
  • Jewish leaders progress from greatly annoyed (4:2), to filled with jealousy (5:17), to furious and murderous (5:33)
  • It's a matter of the head ("annoyance), but also the heart (jealousy)
  • Unbelief should not be left unaddressed, lest it festers into poison.

(2) The perseverance of Faith
  • Persecution = a concerted effort to stop the teaching of Jesus and to attack those sharing them
  • After being persecuted, the disciples rejoice because they were counted worthy to suffer for Jesus (5:41) How can this be? The disciples were:
    • Experiencing the grace of God
      • 5:31 - repentance and forgiveness. The disciples had utterly failed, and Jesus forgave them and restored them and commissioned them
    • Empowered by the Spirit of God
      • 5:32 - Holy Spirit is given them and is their co-witness
    • Engaging with the Word of God
      • 5:21, 25, 28, 41-42 - Teaching = expounding Old Testament scriptures in light of Jesus. This teaching would eventually be written down and become the New Testament.

These 3 things are central and transformative for the discipleship of every believer.
  • Without them we will be discipled by the surrounding culture, and out foundations will erode.
  • With them we will be
    • Rooted in times of turbulence
    • Unified despite our different opinions, perspectives and backgrounds
    • Filled by joy, despite suffering and even persecution

Discussion Questions

  1. One of the aspects of the passage that we did not consider in the sermon is the hand of God in these events.  Read Acts 5:17-42 and note what God is doing.  How do you think a deep sense of God’s providence could have contributed to the faith of the apostles.  (Providence is the holy, wise and powerful way in which God governs all things in creation.)

  2. In the sermon we saw that there were at least three things that helped the apostles rejoice.  They had an experience of God’s grace. They were empowered by the Spirit of God. They were engaging the teaching of God’s word. How could you grow in each of these areas?  As you think about the new year are there new habits or disciplines you can pursue to help you grow in any of these areas?

  3. Read Gamaliel’s warning in Acts 5:34-39. Gamaliel warns them that they may find themselves fighting against God. Acts shows us that in spite of the opposition of the Jews in general and Saul in particular the church grows.  Read Acts 7:54-8:1; 9:1-19; and 26:12-23.  How is Paul presented as a God-fighter?  How does his God-fighting end up expanding the gospel?