Speaking God's Word is the most powerful thing you can do. Are you bold enough to do so?
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Acts 4 (ESV)
1 And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them,
2 greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.
3 And they
and put them in custody
until the next day,
for it was already evening.
4 But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand.
5 On the next day their rulers and elders and scribes gathered together in Jerusalem,
Annas the high priest
and all who were of the high-priestly family.
7 And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired,
or by what name
did you do this?”
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders,
9 if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man,
by what means this man has been healed,
10 let it be known
to all of you
and to all the people of Israel
that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,
whom you crucified,
whom God raised from the dead—
this man is standing before you well.
11 This Jesus
is the stone
that was rejected by you, the builders,
which has become the cornerstone.
12 And there is salvation in no one else,
for there is no other name
given among men
by which we must be saved.”
13 Now when
they saw the boldness of Peter and John,
and perceived that they were uneducated, common men,
they were astonished.
And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.
seeing the man who was healed standing beside them,
they had nothing to say in opposition.
15 But when they had commanded them to leave the council, they conferred with one another, 16 saying,
“What shall we do with these men?
For that a notable sign has been performed through them
is evident to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem,
and we cannot deny it.
in order that it may spread no further among the people,
let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.”
18 So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
19 But Peter and John answered them,
“Whether it is right in the sight of God
to listen to you
rather than to God,
you must judge,
20 for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”
21 And when they had further threatened them,
they let them go,
finding no way to punish them,
because of the people,
for all were praising God for what had happened.
22 For the man on whom this sign of healing was performed was more than forty years old.
23 When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them.
24 And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said,
who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them,
25 who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,
“ ‘Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain?
26 The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers were gathered together,
against the Lord
and against his Anointed’—
27 for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed,
both Herod and Pontius Pilate,
along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel,
28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.
29 And now, Lord,
look upon their threats
and grant to your servants
to continue to speak your word
with all boldness,
30 while you stretch out your hand to heal,
and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
31 And when they had prayed,
the place in which they were gathered together was shaken,
were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.
32 Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul,
and no one said
that any of the things that belonged to him was his own,
but they had everything in common.
33 And with great power
the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus,
and great grace was upon them all.
34 There was not a needy person among them,
for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them
and brought the proceeds of what was sold
35 and laid it at the apostles’ feet,
and it was distributed to each as any had need.
36 Thus Joseph,
who was also called by the apostles Barnabas
(which means son of encouragement),
a Levite, a native of Cyprus,
37 sold a field that belonged to him
brought the money
and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
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Acts 4 Summary
The establishment had successfully gotten rid of Jesus, who was a thorn in their side. So when Jesus is suddenly being proclaimed once again, they're greatly annoyed (v2), and respond by throwing the preachers, Peter & John, in jail.
Instead of being silenced by this show of force, Peter boldly responds that they cannot remain silent about who Jesus Christ is, because
there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (v12).
Once again, the mighty establishment cowers before the people, who were all praising God because of the healing they had just witnessed, so they let Peter & John go free.
Instead of grumbling and complaining about their corrupt leadership (as we too often do), these new Christians, now over 5,000 in number, pray
that God's servants will continue to speak your Word with all boldness (v29)
This early Church community goes on to demonstrate the perfect unity that's possible when all have proclaiming this good news as their first priority.
So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus (v18).
The establishment couldn't care less about the man that was healed or the other good deeds being done within this new Church community. It's likely that if that's all the Church was doing was going out and being 'the arms and feet of Jesus' in their neighborhoods the establishment would have asked how they could help.
Understand that the good deeds that you do as a Christian will never be criticized by the world. In fact, the world might even cheer them on (though never as much as they should).
But be reminded that God's power comes primarily through the proclamation of the good news - through your words - and you will face all sorts of pushback for speaking the truth of the gospel.
Pray that you will have the same boldness in doing so that Peter & John did.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our sovereign Lord, who raised Jesus from the dead (v24, 10)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray for God's strength so that you can listen to Him, and not the establishment (v19)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: