Sermon Starters

Support and Resources For Pastors and
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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor

Second Sunday After Epiphany/
Confession of St. Peter

Series C

Option #1: "These Men Had Been With Jesus"
Acts 4:8-13
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.A., M.Div.

  I. Lack of education was not a factor: John 15:15-17; Matt 10:19-20; Lk 22:59--"a Galilean," a term of reproach

 II. The Spirit is the power source: the Spirit brought them to faith in Jesus and motivated them to testify about Jesus; note: "filled with the Spirit" means to be moved or motivated by the Spirit; see Lk 1:15, 41 & 67, Acts 2:4.

III. Faith in the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the only way to eternal life: text, vv10-12; Mark 16:15-16; John 3:36, 14:6; 1 Tim 2:5; 1 John 5:11-12

Albert Barnes:

Neither is there salvation--The word "salvation" properly denotes any "preservation," or keeping anything in a "safe" state; a preserving from harm. It signifies, also, deliverance from any evil of body or mind; from pain, sickness, danger, etc., Acts 7:25. But it is in the New Testament applied particularly to the work which the Messiah came to do, "to seek and to save that which was lost," Luke 19:10. This work refers primarily to a deliverance of the soul from sin, Matt. 1:21; Acts 5:31; Luke 4:18; Rom. 8:21; Gal. 5:1. It then denotes, as a consequence of freedom from sin, freedom from all the ills to which sin exposes man, and the attainment of that perfect peace and joy which will be bestowed on the children of God in the heavens.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon:
"And they took notice of them, that they had been with Jesus."
Acts 4:13
A Christian should be a striking likeness of Jesus Christ. You have read lives of Christ, beautifully and eloquently written, but the best life of Christ is his living biography, written out in the words and actions of his people. If we were what we profess to be, and what we should be, we should be pictures of Christ; yea, such striking likenesses of him that the world would not have to hold us up by the hour together, and say, "Well, it seems somewhat of a likeness"; but they would, when they once beheld us, exclaim, "He has been with Jesus; he has been taught by him; he is like him; he has caught the very idea of the holy Man of Nazareth, and he works it out in his life and every-day actions." A Christian should be like Christ in his boldness. Never blush to own your religion; your profession will never disgrace you: take care you never disgrace that. Be like Jesus, very valiant for your God. Imitate him in your loving spirit; think kindly, speak kindly, and do kindly, that men may say of you, "He has been with Jesus." ... And best of all, as the highest portraiture of Jesus, try to forgive your enemies, as he did; and let those sublime words of your Master, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do," always ring in your ears. Forgive, as you hope to be forgiven. Be godlike, then; and in all ways and by all means, so live that all may say of you, "He has been with Jesus."

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Acts 4:13: When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.

I want to tell you a story about 11 men that we read about in the Bible. (Matt 10:2) These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; (Matt 10:3) Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; (Matt 10:4) Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

All of them except one were from Galilee, a place not very well known for producing great men. Most of them were fishermen, not men that you would be expect to be good at anything except catching fish. And yet Jesus chose them to be his disciples. The only one that was from a more famous place was Judas, the one who betrayed him.

You’d expect Jesus to get the best men from the best schools, but he didn’t. They walked and talked with him for 3 years and were witnesses of him when he rose from the dead.

After they had seen him alive again, they couldn’t keep the Good News about Him to themselves. Jesus did miracles through them, like the healing of the man who couldn’t walk that you just heard about in the reading. Now notice what the Bible says after that: When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.

I’m all for you getting as much education as you can. You’ll need it for the world you’ll be living in. But don’t ever think that you have to go to school as long as a pastor does to be able to tell the Good News about Jesus. Most of these men were fishermen! The Holy Spirit helped them to share the good news about Jesus. He will do the same for you when you want to help a friend find Jesus. Don’t call the pastor to do the talking for you; this person is your friend. The pastor will help you, but he can’t do it for you.

May it be said of you for your whole life: "This boy, this girl, this man, this woman--they have been with Jesus!"

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Option #2: "Crucified For Idiots!"
Acts 4:8-13
Rev. Kelly Bedard., B.A., M.Div.

The Point: Peter well exemplifies the tension and struggle of being a disciple of Christ
The Problem: our natural preference for a theology of glory that bypasses the cross, suffering, and servanthood
The Promise: God gifts us with faith, assuring us of His forgiveness and empowering us for discipleship
Outline inspired by and adapted from William Schumacher
1. sozo {sode'-zo}, v9:  to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction; one (from injury or peril); to save a suffering one (from perishing), i.e., one suffering from disease, to make well, heal, restore to health; to preserve one who is in danger of destruction, to save or rescue; to save in the technical biblical sense; negatively, to deliver from the penalties of the Messianic judgment; to save from the evils which obstruct the reception of the Messianic deliverance. (Strong's)
2. idiotes {id-ee-o'-tace}, v13: a private person as opposed to a magistrate, ruler, king; a common soldier, as opposed to a military officer; a writer of prose as opposed to a poet; in the NT, an unlearned, illiterate person as opposed to the learned and educated: one who is unskilled in any art. (Strong's)

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