Acts 4: 23-37Written by kathleen on Jan 25, 2015 in - No Comments
Acts 4:23 -37
And the house shook
The Jewish leaders were completely unmoved by an obvious miracle from God to turning against Peter & John ultimately not only threatening them but refusing to give God any recognition; but yet they would respond to public opinion proving they cared far more about man’s opinion than God’s opinion.
23 And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them.
When pressure mounts, when things get weird, when you face intimidation, problems, and potential difficulty, where do you go?
Do you go back to the old habits of Captain Morgan or that special bud just for you! Or do you find yourself heading toward fellowship of brothers and sisters in the Lord?
That is what peter & John did! You can just picture them saying, “We got to tell them about Jesus! They realized we were like Jesus! They told us not to tell others about Jesus!” Look what happened——-
24 So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, 25 who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: ‘Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things? 26 The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the Lord and against His Christ.’ 27 “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.
They all came together, became excited and looked to the Lord and began to pray vocally and they prayed in unity. There was no strife or contention among them. There wasn’t one group saying, “we should pray for this” and another saying, “we should pray for that.” They had the same mind when they prayed.
It didn’t say that they all got together, painted signs, and went down and protested in front of the temple, but they went to God; they took it to the Lord in prayer starting with “You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them”. When you put that address on the prayer the battle is already over. That puts things in perspective. Those problems that are so great and overwhelming that you really can’t see beyond them and were being buried by them!
It all will change when you come to the God who created the heavens and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them because it’s not even the move of a little finger for Him when you realize who the one is that you are calling on for help.
When Jeremiah was discouraged because things seemed overwhelming, He said, Jeremiah, I am God. Is there anything too hard for me?
When you put the right address on the prayer having the recognition that God is in control and He knows what’s going on in the situations in your life it brings comfort to realize that God knows and then suddenly things come into perspective
Peter, speaking for all the disciples recognized that words of the Old Testament (Psalm 2 to be exact v.25-28) were really the words of God that were spoken by the mouth of His servant David.
They understood what was happening to them and that they should expect this sort of opposition and not be troubled because of it. John 15:18 If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.
A lesson to be learned! David wrote in Psalm 73 that the heathen seem to prosper while the godly suffer. Peter would later write, “Think it not strange when fiery trials come upon you” 1 Peter 4:12. When persecution comes, it is in accordance with the Word and the will of the Father; and is always an opportunity to grow closer to the Father and in our faith!
1 Cor 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”
The early church didn’t pray that they might have a break from persecution, but that they might have boldness in persecution.
Because they saw their circumstances in light of God’s Word, they could recognize that the wrath of man never operated outside of the sphere of God’s control; these enemies of Jesus could only do whatever God’s hand and purpose determined before to be done.
This should bring real peace, knowing that whatever comes your way has passed through God’s hand first, and He will not allow even the wicked acts of men to result in permanent damage. Rom 8:28 and we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Isa 54:17 No weapon formed against you shall prosper
31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.
They asked for things that will lead to more confrontation not less! Then they were given an earthquake as a unique sign of God’s pleasure. We don’t know the extent of the shaking; it may have been confined to the house itself; but; they are filled with the Holy Spirit, again. The idea is that we must be continually filled with the Holy Spirit, and make our “immersion” in Him a constant experience.
Their boldness to speak God’s word was a gift from God, that was received through prayer. It was not something that they tried to work up in themselves.
We often pray when we are shaken up. These guys prayed so they could be shaken up! They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke—not in tongues—but the Word of God.
Never forget that the purpose of the empowering of the Spirit is not that we might speak in tongues. The purpose of the power of the Spirit is that we might be bold witnesses Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
32 Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.
33 And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. 34 Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, 35 and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.
36 And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, 37 having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
Remember what was happening with these believers Acts 2:42-47 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. 46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
Because of their unity, they regarded people more important than things. They recognized God’s ownership of everything; it all belonged to God and His people; and God grew His church!
Today this is where the church has become very anemic! I can’t count the times people have come into this church and asked “what has your church got to offer me and my family” concerning ministry programs and relevant entertainment; looking only to receive from the church what they can get.
When the question coming in should be I have this gift or that ability to offer to help this ministry to be used by the Lord!
The only thing this first church had “to offer” was their love of God and love for their neighbors. Because of that we are told here that They had great power and experienced great grace to witness concerning the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is both the result and the root of the attitude in that they were putting God first, people second, and material things a distant third as they preached a resurrected Jesus.
They shared together not out of compulsion, but out of compassion; not out of obligation, but out of love.
This radical giving was absolutely necessary to meet the needs of this rapidly growing church.
Remember, many of these Jerusalem Christians came as “refugees” from abroad, having responded to the gospel on Pentecost.
People didn’t wait for someone else to give. When a need arose, they gave of their own possessions to help someone else.
This coming together was not only for material support but also for spiritual support as well.
In these 4 chapters whenever they (the church) were assembled there was evidence of a special anointing or coming upon of the Holy Spirit and gifts were given for the ministry of and to the body and resulted in a holy boldness that secured the faith of all that were there!
This is why the Bible says in 1 Cor 14:26 Whenever you come together, each of you has a (gift) a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.
Again the Bible says: Heb 10:23-25 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
The great day of the Lord is now one day closer and all that that in-tails as well. The day is not far off when the church in the United States will be facing much persecution.
What we think is good news for modern man will be considered no more than hate speech; and violence will be turned toward Christians (church) that are holding to God’s Word.
Now more than ever we must strive to build the local church that the ministries might bring glory to God through the salvation of Jesus Christ!
May we begin now with offerings of our gifts found in fellowship and prayer asking God to SHAKE THE HOUSE (each of us) and fill us with BOLDNESS!!
As we by the mercies of God, present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God which is our reasonable service.
And not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.