Acts 4 Summary (quoted passages in ESV)
John and Peter were proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ, and they were instrumental in the healing of a man lame from birth. The rulers in the temple of God were annoyed with them, though, so they arrested them and put them in custody for the next day.
The next day the apostles stood before the temple rulers who questioned them about the man who was healed. Peter took this opportunity to teach the rulers about Jesus Christ and to share with them the gospel. But the rulers took counsel together and they concurred to command the apostles to speak no more to anyone in the name of Jesus.
“But Peter and John answered them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.’ And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people, for all were praising God for what had happened. For the man on whom this sign of healing was performed was more than forty years old.” Vv. 19-22
As followers of Jesus Christ, we are going to have people annoyed with us, too, for speaking boldly for the truth of the gospel and for not compromising our faith and convictions in order to appease human flesh or in order to not offend people with the gospel message.
And some (or many) of these people will be within the gatherings of the church. And they may go beyond just being annoyed, too. They may try to shame us or pressure us into making compromises with them for the sake of unity with the state church or in order to “win the world.”
But we must remain steadfast in faith and purpose, and we must keep on sharing the truth of the gospel in opposition to the lies, and we must not let them intimidate us or pressure (strong-arm) us into compliance with them. For it is the truth which will set people free, not the lies.
Acts 4:23-26 ESV
“When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, ‘Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,
“Why did the Gentiles rage,
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers were gathered together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed.”
When we are being persecuted for our walks of faith in Jesus Christ, and for our testimonies for him and for his gospel, we are to pray and seek the Lord’s counsel. Even though God knows what is going on in our lives, we need to talk with him about it. We need to express to him what is on our hearts, and we may even need to cry it out to him.
We may even need to ask for understanding of the situation or for greater insight into what is really going on behind the scenes so that we know how to respond. And this is because we live in an age of much deception to where not many people tell the truth anymore and so much can be faked.
Just because we see it on the news or in a video doesn’t mean it is real. It doesn’t mean it is not Hollywood produced. It doesn’t mean it is not all scripted and carefully being played out by skillful actors for our distraction, entertainment, and in order to deceive us.
The whole shebang could be totally scripted and orchestrated and performed by talented actors and actresses who are just playing their roles in what I believe is a “dog and pony show,” which again is for our distraction, entertainment, confusion and to deceive us.
One of the goals of all this mass confusion and angst is to get us focused one direction while they are working someplace else. It is to get us thinking one thing is happening while something much more sinister is taking place behind closed doors in private meetings of important people.
We do need to pray for wisdom and discernment so that we are not among the deceived and so we don’t end up following a lie or a false messenger, but we need to commit our lives into the hands of the Lord and trust him to work it all out according to his plan.
Acts 4:27-31 ESV
“For truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.”
Yes, nations and governments and people are coming against God the Father and against Jesus Christ, God the Son, and against the gospel of Christ, and against us who are following Jesus with our lives. But Jesus told us this would happen.
The important thing for us is to pray, to seek the Lord’s counsel, to pray for discernment so we don’t fall into any traps, and to keep on following our Lord in obedience and in surrender to his will, and to keep on sharing the truth of the gospel so that many will be saved before Jesus returns.
We are not to be afraid of what is coming, either, for things are going to get much worse. But we must pray for courage and boldness to keep on speaking the truth of God’s word even in the face of much strong opposition. For the Holy Spirit will strengthen and help us and will give us the words to say. We just have to rest in the Lord and follow his lead.
When in The Stillness
An Original Work / September 26, 2011
When in the stillness of this moment,
Speak to me, Lord, I humbly pray.
Be my desire, set me on fire,
Teach me to love always.
Help me to walk in fellowship with You,
Listening to You; sit at Your feet.
Whisper Your words to me,
Oh, how gently, guiding me in Your truth.
While we are waiting for Your blessing,
Lord, in our hearts be King today.
Help us to live for you ev’ry moment,
List’ning to what You say.
May we not stray from your word within us,
Help us obey You, Lord, in all things,
Walking each moment, Lord, in Your presence,
Our offerings to You bring.
Help us to love You, Lord, our master;
Be an example of Your love,
Helping the hurting, lift up the fallen,
Showing them Your great love.
Teach them to love You, follow You always,
Bearing their cross and turning from sin;
Walking in daily fellowship with You,
Making You Lord and King.