Thursday, November 17, 2016, 4:40 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “All Through the Night.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Acts 4:23-31 (NIV).
All That Was Said (v. 23)
On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them.
Recap: Peter and John had gone to the temple at the time of prayer. There Peter, in the name of Jesus Christ, healed a man who was lame from birth. This drew a crowd. Peter addressed the crowd. He told them about Jesus. He told them that they had disowned the Holy and Righteous One; that they had killed the author of life, their creator. In other words, he told them that Jesus Christ, whom they had crucified, was their God, creator, Lord, and Messiah-Christ. Then, he called them to repent of (turn from) their sins and to turn to God, so that their sins might be wiped out, and that times of refreshing (renewal) may come from the Lord (their Savior and King). He told them, “When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways,” i.e. Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (Ac. 3:26; 1 Pet. 2:24).
The religious leaders (rulers) in the temple did not like what Peter and John were telling the people, so they arrested them, and they brought them before the religious leaders (rulers) for questioning. They wanted to know by what power they had healed the lame beggar. So, Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, responded to them by telling them about Jesus Christ and the gospel of their salvation. So, the leaders dismissed them from the meeting, and they conferred together as to what to do with these men. They concluded that to stop “this thing,” the gospel message, from spreading further, they must warn these men to speak no longer to anyone in Jesus’ name. So, they commanded the apostles of Christ not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. Yet, Peter and John responded by telling the rulers that they had to obey God, in essence, and that they would continue – that they were compelled to speak of what they had seen and heard.
Why the Nations Rage (vv. 24-26)
When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:
“‘Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the Lord
and against his anointed one.’
Not only did people and rulers plot against Jesus, and rise up against him, and band together to put him to death on a cross, but they are against his followers, and their plot then and today is to see an end to the gospel and its messengers. I know this because God’s Word says it is true, and because of the evidence I have seen within the church and in the words of many of its leaders, particularly in the words of Pope Francis and Barack Obama.
Obama and the pope appear to speak much against the division that religious distinctiveness brings upon the people of the world, and how we, as a people, need to break down all which divides us so that we can all come together as one people (of the world) in unity. On November 15th, Obama, at a news conference in Athens, Greece, purportedly said that it is dangerous, here in America, to divide ourselves along religious lines, as well as other things he mentioned. He, apparently, also warned against what he called a sense of “crude nationalism,” i.e. he warned against an “us” and “them” mentality. As well, he appeared to mock those who were expressing concern over the rule of the elite and the rise of globalism.
In other words, the reality of our global situation today is that the elite of the world are running the world, presently from behind closed doors, and that many of the people and nations and the kings of the world are plotting and conspiring against sovereign nations and against Christianity, in particular, in order to destroy nationalism (independent nations) and the gospel of our salvation, and its messengers.
Their plan, which is well along in being completed, is to bring all the nations of the world together as one, i.e. to form a one-world totalitarian government, i.e. a New World Order, and to bring all religions together under a one-world (all inclusive) religion. So, they must first of all prove to the people of the world that division is always wrong (bad), and that unity is always right (good). If the unity is with God, then it is good, but if it is with Satan and with his goal to destroy the gospel and Christ’s followers, then it is always bad. Yet, in order for these rulers to prove the world is broken and that it needs them to fix it, they first create the chaos so that they can fix what is “broken” with their preconceived plots to take over the world.
With Great Boldness (vv. 27-31)
Indeed, Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
Yet, our God is absolutely sovereign and in control over all that he has made. There is nothing Satan and his cohorts can do but what God allows it, and he allows it for a purpose. Jesus had to die on a cross, because he alone could be our sacrificial Lamb to take away the sins of the world. And, we must go through suffering and persecution for our faith in Jesus Christ in order that we might be made holy, that we might be conformed to the image of Christ, that we might learn to rely on God and not on ourselves, and in order to mature us in our faith and to teach us perseverance, etc. When the gospel comes under persecution, it helps to advance the gospel, in direct contrast to the plots of evil men who work for Satan. The more that Christians are being persecuted, the more determined they are to keep on speaking out with boldness in the name of Jesus, and so the gospel continues to go forth to the ends of the world.
So, as we are increasingly coming under the chopping block of the New World Order and its leaders who want all people to be under their thumb of rule, we must call on God in prayer. We must pray for God’s will to be done, for the gospel to spread throughout the world, for people to be saved, and for the revival of the wayward church. And, we must pray for protection from the enemy of our souls. God does not promise us that we won’t suffer for our faith, in fact, he promises we will be hated and persecuted. Yet, he also promises to never leave us or forsake us, to carry us through, and to heal us; to give us his comfort, strength, encouragement, hope and power to keep on keeping on in sharing the gospel of our salvation so that many people will come to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives.
So, we should not fear what humans may do to us, but we must trust our Lord with our lives, with our future, and believe that he will work all things out for the good of those who love him and who are called according to his purposes. And, we must walk with him in obedience to his commands.
All Through the Night / An Original Work / December 7, 2013
Based off Various Scriptures
Blessed are you when you’re persecuted
Because of your faith in Jesus Christ.
Blessed are you when people insult you,
And falsely say what leads folks to doubt.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is
Great in the heavens. You’re not alone.
When you are persecuted in one place,
Flee to another. God will be there.
You will be hated by all the nations
Because you testify of God’s grace.
Many will seize you and persecute you,
And put to death the foll’wers of Christ.
Yet, do not fear what humans may do to you,
For I’m with you all through the night.
I tell you, love your enemies with my love,
And forgive as I forgave you.
Pray for those who do evil against you.
Rest in my love and grace from above.