Acts: Modeling the Church; Then, Now, & Beyond – Chapter 4 part 3

Hey everybody, so for those of you who may not have been here this past week or so, we’ve been going over the passage in Scripture where Peter healed a lame beggar. There was a man who had been unable to walk since birth who would be carried to the temple gates in order to beg for money. He had encountered Peter and John who, representing Christ, had healed him. Peter and John then went on to proclaim the message about Jesus to the people until they were seized and put into prison until the following day where they were brought before the high priest and some others to be interrogated. Being asked by what power or name they healed the man. Peter having been filled with the Holy Spirit spoke out saying that it was by the name and power of Jesus that the man was made well and that only through Jesus can a person be saved. This brings us to our current passage,

“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everyone living in Jerusalem knows they have performed a notable sign, and we cannot deny it. But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name.” Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened. For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.”

Acts 4:13-22 NIV

Now, there are a few points worth mentioning looking at these verses right off the bat.

Firstly we see that Peter and John were in many ways just average folks. They were described as unschooled and ordinary. Being without what the Sanhedrin would consider a formal education in the Scripture. Which is in part why they were astonished at the boldness of the two. Speaking confidently in front of those who were highly educated and holding lofty positions.

God took a group of ordinary people and used them extraordinarily to express His might and share the message which would lead to an ever growing kingdom of believers. And this isn’t a one and done, God is still developing new believers everyday from all walks of life and with all kinds of backgrounds. Anyone can be used by God in spite of their qualifications because what’s most important is a humble heart willing to learn and

Spend Time with God

Although, the disciples were unlearned in the eyes of the religious leaders, they had in fact spent a great deal of time with Jesus and were filled with the Holy Spirit which empowered them to do what one would normally not be able to.

By the name of Jesus they healed a man who had been lame for many years.

Due to this the leaders were at a loss. They didn’t know what to do with the undeniable evidence before their eyes. The people were giving praise to God for the outcome as well.

When we spend time with God, we learn about Him and His ways. We become emboldened and empowered to do what we may otherwise be unable to. Accomplishing those things which are only possible with God.

There have been instances where I’ve prayed for people where I’ve seen all sorts of things happen, but I know it’s not me in the slightest but God who does the heavy lifting. What can we do without Him?

When I was younger I was quiet and reserved, I never would have had the confidence to get up and speak in front of audiences, but God helps me. Where I’m found lacking God is abundant. He is more than able in every situation.

My next point is that must always

Do Right by God

Because of the inability to deny the evidence before them the leaders did all that they felt like they could, which was to try and silence Peter and John. Telling them to no longer speak in and for the name of Jesus. But of course the disciples had other plans. After all, can the Spirit of God be quenched.

They responded by saying

” Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

Acts 4:19-20

I don’t know about you, but if I were in their position, I’d feel pretty awkward.

Of course the human in me would want to be listened to and may want to to say something like “just do as I say and stop causing trouble for me,” but I hope that this side of me never wins out, God willing. It should be that part of me that is silenced forced to never see the light of day because it’s God that is and will always be the most important.

It’s this internal conflict which reminds me of Paul’s words in Romans 7

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”

Romans 7:15

I’m at least encouraged to know I’m not the only one that needs to remain vigilant.

Getting back to Scripture, we see many instances where choosing to go against God seemed like the right path from a completely worldly perspective. We have Esther, or Hadassah, one if not one of my favorite of the many inspiring women in the Bible, who could have just remained comfortable and never taken a risk to save her people, but because she did we now know her today.

We have the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, also known by their Hebrew names as Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, who boldly stood before the King of Babylon refusing to yield bowing to an image. Because of this they were thrown into a furnace believing that even if they weren’t delivered, dying would be the better option instead of being unloyal to God.

Now I’ve never been put in a situation where my life was on the line for my faith, the opposition I’ve encountered has been extremely mild in comparision, but I hope that whatever situation I may find myself in that I to can be unyielding, and with God I’m encouraged because all things are possible with Him.

And this is something I hope that will be true for all of us, those here and those watching. That we will remain true to God regardless of any adversity we may face.

So

Spend Time with God

And

Do Right by God

Let’s pray.