Read Acts 4:23
I. Release. Peter and John are released from the authorities in our Sunday School material. They went back to the gathering of the believers. There they reported what had taken place.
- Releasing, returning, and reporting. Notice in vs. 23 that Peter and John were released. They returned to the body of believers. They reported what had happened to them.
First, we should thank God that troubles don’t last always. If we hold on, God has a way of seeing that we are released, according to His will and timing.
Second, it is so important for us to return to the body of believers. There are too many who just stop coming to church. We can do better together.
Third, it is important for us to report on what is going on. We can draw strength from each other’s testimonies. And we can learn about dangers that others have endured. Let’s work on living by lessons associated with releasing, returning, and reporting.
Read Acts 4:24-30
II. Prayer. In our Sunday School material the believers prayed together. They prayed for boldness in sharing the word of God. They prayed for the Lord to confirm His word with signs and wonders.
- Praying together for God’s agenda. Notice in vss. 24, 29-30 that the believers were united in praying to God for boldness in sharing God’s word and for God to confirm the word with signs and wonders.
First, it is so important for the church to pray together. And yet it seems as if there is so little praying in our churches. Prayer meetings are disappearing and prayer periods are becoming less and less a priority, in our modern churches.
Second, when we pray, we should pray to our sovereign God with the assurance that He is able and willing to work things out for the good of His people. When we pray, we are not simply talking to ourselves or the air.
We are not talking to a God who doesn’t listen or who is powerless to fix what is broke in our lives. God is over all and can work all things out for the good of His people.
Third, we should pray for God to bless the word and work. We should pray for God to help us share the word boldly. We should pray for God to let the world see His moving in our works.
These issues assume that we are willing to speak and serve the Lord. As we sow seeds of good works, we should pray for God to provide the miraculous increase. Let’s work on praying together to our sovereign God for Him to bless the word and work that comes through us.
- The dual nature of our leaders. Notice in vs. 25 of our Sunday School material that David had a dual status. He was a servant of God and a father to the people. In like manner, it is important for us to appreciate the dual role of our church leaders, especially our Pastor.
The Pastor is an humble servant of God. But he is also the leader of the church whom every member should obey to the honor and glory of God. There are too many who behave as if the Pastor is to be their servant, instead of their leader.
This leads to all kinds of spiritual dysfunction like spending 40 years, instead of 40 days, in the wilderness. Let’s work on appreciating the dual nature of our Pastor – God’s servant andour leader.
- God’s use of evil. Notice in vss. 25-28 that it was prophesied that people would rise up against the Lord and His anointed one (i.e., a reference to Jesus), but all of it was in accord with God’s will.
First, we should not be surprised by opposition to God’s will and God’s people. Throughout the Bible and Church History, the devil has influenced people to rise up against the Lord’s agenda. That is why we need to be strong in the Lord and keep the devil from using us.
Second, God sees what people mean for evil, and He uses it for our good. We would do well to work on developing the faith needed to trust God when opposition comes into our lives. Let’s work on trusting God to take what people and the devil meant for our harm and use it for our good.
Read Acts 4:31
III. Results. In our Sunday School material we read the place began to shake, after they prayed. They were filled with the Holy Spirit. They spoke the word of God with boldness.
- Shaking, filling, and speaking. Notice in vs. 31 that the place where the people were praying was shaken. The people were filled with the Holy Spirit. And the people spoke the word of God boldly.
First, it is exciting to imagine the shaking of the room where the people were praying. However, the people did not do the shaking. It seems as if God did that. Furthermore, God doesn’t do it all of the time.
Second, the Holy Spirit filled the people. Many believers hold that to be filled with the Spirit is to be controlled by the Spirit. The greatest measure of being controlled by the Spirit is to obey God’s word, not necessarily speaking in a foreign tongue.
Third, what we have the greatest control of in the text is speaking God’s word boldly. We can do that without the room shaking and without experiencing some extra special filling.
Let’s work on yielding to the Holy Spirit and God the Father’s will for us to speak God’s word boldly. There are so many people in our individual social circles who need to hear the word of God from our mouths and see it working in our lives.
Conclusion: Let’s work on seeking God’s empowerment to serve Him in effective ways today. God has much for those who obey His will.
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