The Book of Acts Chapter 4 Part 2
Introduction: A key idea in the book of Acts is that we should be witnesses of the Lord wherever we go. Today, we hope to discuss prayer.
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Read Acts 4:23-31
2. The Prayer. In this section of the book of Acts Peter and John returned to the company of believers. After hearing the report, the people prayed for God to enable the word to continue to go forth.
There was a shaking of the place and filling of the people. The people spoke the word of God boldly.
- Accountability and communication. Notice in vs. 23 of this section of the book of Acts the ideas of accountability and talking with one another.
It is no accident that the Bible compares the church to a body. In a body, there is accountability and communication. The parts of the body don't just run off and do what they want to do.
The parts work together and communicate with one another. Let's work on being accountable and communicating.
Tools such as administrative agendas, status reports, and simply making a phone call are important to the body working in a coordinated fashion, instead of suffering from seizures (i.e., unauthorized activity) or paralysis (i.e., failure to carryout assigned tasks).
- Praying together. Notice in vss. 24-30 of this section of the book of Acts the idea of united prayer. We will continue to see that prayer was a very important part of the church life in the book of Acts.
Prayer should be a very important part of our church lives and discipleship lives today. There is not only power in prayer, but there appears to be extra power in praying together.
It is much easier to get an "amen" about their being power in believers praying together than it is to get believers to actually come to prayer meeting to pray tougher. Let's work on praying together.
Prayer doesn’t always change things, but it can change you, if you let it. Prayer can take the anxiety and depression out of bad situations that you have to go through.
- Creation and use of human agents. Notice in vss. 24-25 of this section of the book of Acts the ideas of God being the creator and God's speaking by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of a human agent (i.e., David).
First, it is good to remember that God is the creator. Not only did He create the world a long time ago, but He is still able to create. If what God has created ever runs short in supply, God can make some more of whatever is needed to take care of His own.
Second, God the Holy Spirit uses humans to speak the truths of God. A great way to discern who is speaking and who is not speaking the truths of God is to compare what is being said with the proper interpretation of God's word, the Bible.
This calls for our prayerful study of God's word and careful listening to what is being said. Too often we allow the sins of the messenger to distract us from the truth, or we allow the charismatic personality of the messenger to distract us from the false teachings.
When we miss out on hearing and obeying the truth, we are the ones who suffer. Let's work on remembering that God is still the creator and is still using human messengers.
- God's use of wickedness. Notice in vss. 27-28 that God uses the plots and schemes of people to carryout His blessed plans.
Not only did God use the wickedness of Pilate, the Gentiles, and Jews of the text to further His plans of paying for the sins of the world with the blood of Jesus, but God can use the wickedness of people in our lives as a part of His plan to bless us.
For example, God can use the stress of foolish people in your life to help you develop patience and long suffering. God can use the disappointment of not getting a raise on your job to nurture your peace of mind in starting your own business.
God can even use the pain of sickness or injury to help us polish our testimonies that will bless thousands of others. Let's learn to trust God with even the wickedness that is before us.
- Praying for effectiveness. Notice in vss. 29-30 of this section of the book of Acts that the people prayed for boldness and effectiveness.
Many of us may want to pray for God to take all of the bad people and challenges in our lives away. But sometimes what we need to pray for is for God to give us the wherewithal to face and conquer what is before us.
For example, instead of praying for justice in our country, we may be better off praying for the spiritual unrest, moral courage, wisdom, and energy to be justice workers and freedom fighters.
Some things will not be gift wrapped and mailed to us by the Lord. Some things we have to work for. In which case, we should pray for what we need to do the work. Let's work on praying according to God's will.
- Focusing on what we control. Notice in vs. 31 of this section of the book of Acts that after the people prayed, the place was shaken, the people were filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God boldly.
There are too many who spend too much time on the shaking building. We don't control the shaking. But we do control praying together, being controlled by or filled with the Spirit, and speaking the word of God boldly.
Let's focus on doing those things that we have control over. A great measure of being filled with or controlled by the Spirit is our obedience to God's will.
At the core of God's will is for us to insure that we have accepted Christ as our savior by faith and that our lives are known for loving God, ourselves, and others.
There are so many people in our circles of influence who need to hear the teachings of the word of God. Some will not hear the preacher, but they will hear us, if we share it with boldness.
Conclusion: Let's work on being witnesses of the Lord wherever we go. God has much for those who obey His will.
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