Old Brick Reformed Church, Organized 1699

490 Route 520 • P.O. Box 153 • Marlboro, NJ 07746

Office Phone: (732) 946-8860 • Office Fax: (732) 946-9254

Secretary's Email: secretary@oldbrickchurch.orgInfo

Sunday Worship: 9:30AM - 10:30AM

Pastor Kaden's Sermon Notes for Sunday June 7th, 2020

"Is There Enough Evidence to Convict?"

We're all familiar enough with criminal trials to know a jury can only convict a defendant of a crime if the Prosecuting or District Attorney has provided enough evidence to prove, "beyond a shadow of doubt," that the defendant actually committed the crime. If the prosecutor is unable to provide this kind of evidence to prove the defendant's guilt, a jury will return an innocent verdict, the charges against the accused will be dropped, and the case will be dismissed.

It all comes down to the evidence. "Is there enough evidence to convict?"

It's true in the Christian life too. Perhaps you remember the question, "If you were convicted of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to prove it?"

Well, what do you say? If you were accused of being a Christian, as people began taking a look at your life would they know, could they tell, you're a Christian based on the things you say, the way you live and on your things you do?

In the case of the lives of Peter and John after Pentecost, as others looked at them, listened to their words, and watched their actions, the evidence convinced everyone, "beyond a shadow of a doubt," that Peter and John were Christians, followers of Jesus.

Following the indwelling of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, and the ridicule of some skeptics, Peter delivered a Pentecost sermon to the crowds. The sermon is recorded in Acts chapter 2: 14-41. Take a look at it. In the sermon, Peter draws from his Old Testament knowledge as a faithful Jew to point his listeners to Jesus, whom Peter is convinced is the long-awaited Jewish Messiah. Peter talks about Jesus death, what his death means and what his death demands and requires of us, repentance, a turning away from sin, a turning towards Christ and the beginning of a lifelong pursuit of following Jesus as one of His disciples. Peter indicates, as we entrust our lives to Christ, the Holy Spirit will come and take up residence inside of us. At the end of Acts 2, Dr. Luke tells us in vs. 41, what the response was to Peter's sermon. He says: "Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number (that is the Church), that day."

Now there's some hard evidence that proves the sincerity of Peter's faith. Do you think that would be enough to convict him of being a Christian in a court of law? No? Still not enough?

Well read on further in Acts. Take a look at Acts chapter 3.

Here we read about a time when Peter and John are heading into the temple to pray around 3 pm in the afternoon. Outside the temple disabled individuals were often brought by others so those disabled friends could beg for money from approaching worshipers. As Peter and John approach the temple, a disabled man asks them for money. Peter looks straight at him, says Luke, and he says, "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." Then, taking him by the hand Peter helps the man up and "instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk." This sets into motion a whole host of things that follow.

First, the healed man goes with Peter and John into the temple courts; he's walking and jumping and praising God. When people in the temple courtyard saw the man, they recognized he's the same disabled beggar that sat outside the temple every day. And of course, they're amazed and wonder how it's possible that he's able to walk and jump?

Second, seeing the crowds who are wondering how the man has been healed, Peter seizes the opportunity to deliver another sermon. Peter, again, speaks about Jesus and gives God all the glory for healing the man. As an outcome of the sermon, Luke tells us "...many who heard the message believed, and the number of men grew to about five thousand."

Here's more rather convincing evidence that Peter and John are committed followers of Jesus, don't you think? What? You say you're still not convinced? You need more? Well, take a look at what follows in Acts chapter 4.

Luke tells us that, as Peter is speaking, priests and the captain of the temple guard and other Sadducees, (religious rulers, the spiritual elite in Judaism), approach Peter. They are greatly disturbed because the apostles are teaching the people about Jesus and the resurrection so they arrest Peter and John and put them in jail overnight.

The next morning Peter and John are brought before the rulers, elders, and teachers of the law in Jerusalem where the High Priest, Annas, and other members of the High Priests family are present who begin questioning Peter and John. They ask, "By what power or what name did you do this?" (that is, heal the disabled man). Peter answers with a powerful defense. Once again Peter directs his accusers to Jesus referencing the Old Testament. He quotes Psalm 118 verse 22: "The stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone." The stone the builders rejected is Jesus; He is, says Peter, 'the cornerstone' of salvation that is why Peter adds: "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."

Now, do you have enough evidence? Well, if you're still not convinced, you're about to find the religious leaders in Judaism disagree with you. Dr. Luke tells us in verse 13: “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men, (now pay careful attention to this), "HAD BEEN WITH JESUS."

In other words, the religious leaders in Judaism knew, they heard it in their words, they saw it reflected in their faces, they witnessed it through their actions, that Peter and John, HAD BEEN WITH JESUS.

The Prosecutor's final argument would end something like this:

"YOUR HONOR, THE EVIDENCE IS CLEAR, THESE TWO MEN; PETER AND JOHN, ARE CHRISTIANS! AND THEY ARE GUILTY BEYOND A SHADOW OF DOUBT!"

Again, let me ask you; "If you were accused of being a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict you?" I hope there would be. I would like to think that whenever people look at you and me, they recognize that you and I, HAVE BEEN WITH JESUS!

Remember this: (anonymous author)
You are writing a gospel, a chapter each day,
By deeds that you do, by words that you say.
Men read what you write, whether faithless or true.
Say, what is the gospel according to you?

God bless.

2 Thessalonians 2: 16-17

Yours in Christ,

Pastor George Kaden

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