In a court of law, witnesses are important, especially when they are eye witnesses. However it is necessary to state that not all witnesses are credible, whether they are eye witnesses or not. A good eye witness is someone whose perception is truthful as he or she digests information seen (received) and then understood according to the facts as they occur. A good example of this is found near the beginning of Acts:
Ac 1:21 “Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.”
The “witness” who would speak with the apostles as a replacement for Judas Iscariot needed to have experienced Jesus’ life and ministry from when John the Baptist baptized Him through to His ascension. The sequence of all ingredients from start to finish are there so that an accurate testimony may be given. Under the leadership of Peter, the apostles stated, as we saw yesterday:
Ac 5:29 “We must obey God rather than men!”
This is followed by:
Ac 5:30 “The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead—whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. 32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”
They declared themselves truthful witnesses.
1) They called upon the God of their ancestors. Not is a “Traditional Religion” way. They were referring to the God who was Abraham, Isaac and Jacob’s God. In other words, the God of Israel … the God the Jews claimed as their God. Many people speak about “god” today, yet we don’t know which god they are referring to! They might be good people, sincere people and loving people, but if their “god” is not the God of the Bible, then their “god” is nothing more than an idol … a manmade god. All religions do not lead to the true God and to His heaven. We need to be very clear about this. Today, as an illustration, the “god’ of the Jews, Islamic people and Hindus are not the same God as that of the Bible. The God of the Bible is the God of Calvary and He has given man one Messiah, who is Jesus Christ.
Ac 4:12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
Many might say we are unkind and unloving because we judge and condemn them and their religion, but the truth is that we don’t … God does! When we speak of God as Christians we are speaking of the God who reveals Himself as God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, three persons in one substance. There is only one God! This means that when God became incarnate, He was God in the flesh without ceasing to be fully God. Although He limited Himself, He did so as the Godman, Jesus of Nazareth. As Christians we must understand that when we speak of Jesus we are speaking of Almighty God. In essence, to speak badly of or to take Jesus’ name in vain (as a swear word), we are taking God’s name in vain because the name of Jesus is the name of the God of the Bible. Consider:
Jn 17:11 “I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one.”
What is the name the Father gave the Son? The angel instructed Joseph:
Mt 1:21 “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.”
Jesus means “God is salvation” and to prevent any misunderstanding He is also called Immanuel which means “God with us. The God of our fathers is not only the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob whom the Jews believed they followed … the God of our fathers is the Christian God … the God of The whole Bible. Know this. Believe this and rejoice in being able to know the One, True and Living God. That is grace!
2) They stated doctrinal truth.
Ac 5:30 The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead—whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel.
If ever anyone heard the Gospel presented so articulately, accurately and theologically, it was the Sanhedrin … the Jewish Ruling Council.
(1) They murdered Jesus but God the Father gave Him back His life.
(2) God the Father appointed His Messiah to the power seat in heaven where He rules and reigns as Prince and Savior. The Jews wanted a king David … they got better … for God’s Prince and Savior is not seated upon some earthly throne. He is enthroned on the Throne of Glory! What a Savior! What a Prince! What a Lord … our God.
(3) He is exalted. He is to be to be loved, adored and appreciated because of His Sovereign status.
(4) He alone and none other may give repentance and forgiveness of sins … be it to Israel or anyone else who comes to Him through faith. Paul affirms this statement in Ephesians:
Eph 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith.
Salvation is because of God’s free grace. When He dispenses grace, He enables faith. This is what it means… that … he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins. Many want to save themselves through good works or good behavior. They cannot because all our good deeds are like filthy rags in God’s sight.
Isa 64:6 all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.
Because of Sovereign Grace, God, as He enables faith in the soul, He grants the ability to turn away from sin (repentance) and then He pardons (forgiveness) our sin and guilt, past, present and future. Only He can save your soul. If He has, praise Him eternally!
3) The two-fold witness.
Ac 5:32 “We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”
God gives the Spirit to those who obey His Gospel, repent and believe and follow Jesus.
(1) The apostles are witnesses to the Gospel, Jesus’ death and resurrection.
(2) So is the Holy Spirit. You see, although the Spirit authenticates the Gospel in the soul, He clears up all confusion, questions, distrust and unbelief as to whether Jesus is alive and reigning in Glory. He is!
Lord God Almighty, thank You for free grace and free salvation. Thank You that Your Son Jesus did it all for us, to deliver us into Your Eternal Kingdom. The Spirit is our witness of the Gospel’s truth and our salvation. Amen.