The religious rulers within the temple of God arrested Peter and John for teaching the people about Jesus Christ. The next day these rulers gathered together in Jerusalem, they called in Peter and John, and they inquired of them as to what power and by what name did they do “this.”
Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, perceived what the “this” was, which had to do with the healing of a man lame from birth. So, Peter exclaimed that it was by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom they had crucified, whom God raised from the dead – “by him this man is standing before you well.”
And then he told them, “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Acts 4:13 ESV
“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.”
Although the religious rulers in the temple of God did not see this as something positive that these men had been with Jesus, the point is that there was something about these men that stood out that witnessed to these rulers that these men had been with Jesus.
For one, it was evident that what these men were doing was beyond their natural ability to do. They were operating under a power not their own. And then the connection was made that they had been with Jesus, that somehow their ability to do beyond what came natural to them came from Jesus.
Now these rulers had seen Jesus Christ in action, and the actions of Peter and John, thus, brought that to recall. They saw the similarities between Jesus and these men, and between Jesus’ actions, and the actions of these men. So, they identified these men with Jesus Christ.
Now, in our world today, the image of Jesus Christ has been so distorted that I doubt that many people in this world would know enough about the real Jesus of the Bible to be able to identify who is operating under his power and who has his likeness.
Nonetheless, whenever I read this I immediately think that if it were me or you in place of Peter or John, would those who knew Jesus identify us with him by our words and by our actions? Would they see his power in our lives? Would they recognize that we are operating under his strength and not under our own power or natural abilities? Would they know instinctively that we have been with Jesus?
Acts 4:14-16 ESV
“But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition. But when they had commanded them to leave the council, they conferred with one another, saying, ‘What shall we do with these men? For that a notable sign has been performed through them is evident to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.’”
This is not to say that these religious rulers were not in opposition to the apostles, for they were, but that at that moment they were at a loss for words because the man who had been healed was standing right beside them, and they could not deny that he had been miraculously healed.
But then they turned right around and privately plotted evil against the apostles in order to silence them. Does this make sense? No! But that was what was in their hearts. And this is where many religious rulers/leaders are today, as well, plotting how to silence those who are emulating Jesus.
For the religious culture of today’s modern market-driven churches is to say only what makes people feel good about themselves, and to never offend anyone with the truth, but to teach a diluted half-truth gospel which does not demand death to sin and living to righteousness.
So, those who are teaching the whole counsel of God are being pushed aside or invited to leave, or they are being silenced or shamed into silence by the manipulation tactics of those who are wolves in sheep’s clothing who are leading people away from pure devotion to Jesus Christ.
Acts 4:17-20 ESV
“’But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.’ So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all 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.’”
Believe me when I tell you that this is happening big time in today’s market-driven churches. Pastors are being trained in how to silence those who are still teaching the whole counsel of God. And they are accusing them of being hyper-religious or legalistic or of teaching works-based salvation.
Not only are many pastors teaching a diluted gospel absent of repentance, obedience, and submission to Christ as Lord, but many are teaching that it is wrong to submit to Christ, to obey him, and to turn from our sins. For, they say that is works and we are not to do works, which is a false statement.
We are to always abound in the work of the Lord. We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. And we are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.
We are to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work. We are to be ready for every good work. As God’s possession, we are to be zealous for good works. We are to devote ourselves to good works. And we will be judged by our works.
[Rom. 2:6-8; 1 Co. 15:58; 2 Co 5:10; 2 Co. 9:8; Gal 6:7-8; Eph. 2:10; Phil. 2:12-13; Col. 1:9-14; 2 Thess. 1:11-12; 2 Tim. 2:21; Tit. 2:11-14; Tit. 3:8; Jas. 2:17; Rev. 2-3; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17]
So, don’t let them intimidate you into changing your beliefs or into going silent and not sharing the truth of God’s word. We must obey God rather than man when men or women (even pastors) are telling us not to do what we know God says we ought to do.
Keep on speaking the truth, and do not be silent. Many people are dying and going to hell while they are being promised heaven as their eternal destiny because they are being lied to. We need to be those who are exposing those lies and who are telling the truth, so that they can be saved.
In the Hour of Trial
Lyrics by James Montgomery (1771-1854)
Music by Spencer Lane (1843-1903)
In the hour of trial, Jesus, pray for me,
Lest by base denial, I depart from Thee;
When Thou seest me waver, with a look recall,
Nor for fear or favor suffer me to fall.
With its witching pleasures, would this vain world charm
Or its sordid treasures spread to work me harm,
Bring to my remembrance sad Gethsemane
Or, in darker semblance, cross-crowned Calvary.
If with sore affliction, Thou in love chastise,
Pour Thy benediction on the sacrifice.
Then upon Thine altar, freely offered up,
Though the flesh may falter, faith shall drink the cup.
When in dust and ashes, to the grave I sink,
While heaven’s glory flashes o’er the shelving brink,
On Thy truth relying, through that mortal strife,
Lord, receive me, dying, to eternal life.
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