The Message Calls for a Decision
A Sermon on Acts 4:13-22
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition. But when they had commanded them to leave the council, they conferred with one another, saying, “What shall we do with these men? For that a notable sign has been performed through them is evident to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.” So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people, for all were praising God for what had happened. For the man on whom this sign of healing was performed was more than forty years old. (ESV)
Those who reject Christianity do not do so on the basis of rational thought. This is seen in the actions of the Jewish leaders, who do not deny the miracles done by the apostles in the name of Jesus Christ, but they nevertheless sought to stop their ministry and silence their preaching. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones proclaims that the reason for this opposition to the truth of God’s Gospel is found in the fallen and sin bound minds of men. Because of the fall, all men have been enslaved to sin and the devil. Their every faculty is thoroughly and wholly dominated by sin, and it is this sin that produces unbelief. For this reason, we should not be surprised when men reject the Gospel, for the Bible tells us that without the work of God in their hearts, no man will believe. This is because belief is not a matter of reason, facts, or compelling argumentation, but it is about the state of one’s heart. The church should not fear the many so-called intellectual assaults against Christianity, for all these arguments are really a matter of one’s relationship to God and his Gospel. Only the heart that has been regenerated can truly think rightly about God.