An exposition of Acts 4:1-22. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Church on Sunday morning, August 23, 2009.
Sermon Outline »
I was embarrassed for them. There they were on national television making fools of themselves. All that ranting and raving. Outlandish accusations. Anger. Hateful words. Attacks. You would have thought it was the Jerry Springer Show instead of a “news/talk show.” Sophisticated, intelligent “scholars” red-faced and nearly incoherent. The subject being debated was the claims of Christianity. The Jewish rabbi kept interrupting the seminary president with claims of his being a “spiritual nazi” engaging in a “spiritual holocaust.” The other “Christian” scholar put distance between himself and the seminary president, making it clear that he did not want to be identified with such a “spiritual Neanderthal.” The point of contention? That salvation was to be found in Christ and in Christ alone.
We are living in changing times. We have experienced a major shift in philosophical thinking. We have move from “modernism” into “postmodernism.” Modernism began in the 18th century with the Enlightenment. Modernism is based on the idea that there is such a thing as truth and that it can be known. Modernism said, “Truth exists outside of us and is always true.” Scientific experimentation was a search for truth. Philosophy was a search for truth. Truth that was always true in every generation and in every circumstance. Postmodernism says, “Truth is what we make it.” Truth does not exist outside of us. We all have our own truth. What is true for me may or may not be true for you. What is true in this circumstance may not be true in that circumstance. In such a world there can be no absolutes. Because there are no absolutes there can be no judgments made. As a sign on a college campus recently said, “It is okay to think you are right. It is not okay for you to think someone else is wrong!” Thus the greatest sin in our culture is to declare someone is wrong. Tolerance no longer means that I respect another person’s point of view but that I accept another’s point of view as equally valid. Their view though contradictory to mine is just as true as mine!
Such is life in a pluralistic world. Our culture, once monolithic, has now become multi-cultural. America is no longer a “melting pot” we are a “mosaic.” We are no longer Americans we are hyphenated Americans. We are African-American, Irish-American, Asian-American, and Native-American etc. We are Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhist, New Agers, atheist, pantheist and anything else you can think of! The question we must face is – how do we present the Gospel to such a culture?
Text: Acts 4:1-22
Thesis: In the face of our pluralistic culture the church must faithfully, accurately and passionately preach the Gospel.
That sounds simplistic – but it is not. Much is made today of the need to be “innovative” and “cutting edge” in evangelism. But the truth of the matter is the power is and always has been in the Gospel itself! Paul said, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel for it (the Gospel) is the power of God unto salvation.”
Three things we must keep in mind about the preaching of the Gospel in our pluralistic culture.
- Faithful preaching of the Gospel in today’s culture inevitably results in conflict. (4:1-3)
- Faithful preaching of the Gospel in our pluralistic culture demands an honest, clear, complete telling of the whole Gospel. (4:5-12)
- Faithful preaching of the Gospel is our only hope for reaching our culture for Christ. (4:13-22)
In a culture very much like the one we are living in. A culture filled with gods. Worship whoever or whatever you please as long as you recognize that one is as good as the other. Through the faithful, accurate and passionate preaching of the Gospel their world was changed. May we be found faithful in the preaching of the Gospel.