Sunday School Notes 4-4-2015

Scripture: Acts 5:21b-32 (HCSB)

The Church: obedient to God, not men

When the high priest and those who were with him arrived, they convened the Sanhedrin — the full Senate of the sons of Israel — and sent orders to the jail to have them brought.o But when the temple police got there, they did not find them in the jail, so they returned and reported, “We found the jail securely locked, with the guards standing in front of the doors, but when we opened them, we found no one inside! ” Asp the commander of the temple police and the chief priests heard these things, they were baffled about them, as to what could come of this.

Someone came and reported to them, “Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple complex and teaching the people.” Then the commander went with the temple police and brought them in without force, because they were afraid the people might stone them. After they brought them in, they had them stand before the Sanhedrin, and the high priest asked, “Didn’t we strictly order you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to bring this man’s blood on us! ”

But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus,t whom you had murdered by hanging Him on a tree. God exalted this man to His right hand as ruler and Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

What is the Church?

  • Is it a building, or is it a people?
    • The Church is the people who live to honor God and who have been saved by the blood of Christ.
    • As members of the Church, we are citizens first and foremost of God’s kingdom.
    • This means that we live to honor God no matter what people think or say, and it means that we do so together.

How important is unity in the Church?

  • In this story, the apostles acted with one heart to honor God.
    • What is the result today when the Church (universal or local) is not unified?
      • We spend more time arguing than reaching people with the Gospel.
      • We focus on our thoughts rather than God’s Word.
      • Can we imagine what it would be like if all of God’s people agreed and moved the Gospel forward?
    • Is it possible, because of sin, for people to stay unified?
      • There is always “that one guy” who has to have his way
      • There are always people who compromise the Gospel.
      • Because of sin, scripture is interpreted differently by well-meaning people.
        • Cause for denominational differences
      • Now, more than ever, it is important for us to follow what God wants rather than striving for what we would like. There doesn’t need to be any more division.

What is the importance of the holiness of the Church?

  • What is holiness?
    • The apostles got arrested because they were unwilling to conform to the world.
    • Holiness means we live for God in a world that lives for itself.
  • If the Church looks like the world, how are we different?
    • If God gives us life, why would we continue to live as though we were dead? The holiness of the Church reflects the holiness of God.

What is the authority of the Church?

  • The Bible
    • Reveals God
    • Reveals sin
    • Leads us to Christ
    • Reunites us with God.
    • Without submitting to the authority of the Bible (which is the authority of God), it is impossible for the Church to honor God.
    • When the Church does not submit to scripture, it is not the Church because it has chosen not to submit to God.

So what?

  • We, the Church, live as a community. Not loners. There is only one Church, and each individual is not his own church.
  • We live to honor God even if the world would require something different of us, and we do this together. We do not stand alone, but united.
  • We trust scripture to be our authority. We let it convict us, encourage us and build us up. Without God’s revelation, we would not be able to live in relationship with God.
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