Scripture: Acts 4.
(What is God saying here?)
Acts 4:16-20 (NLT)
16 “What should we do with these men?” they asked each other. “We can’t deny that they have performed a miraculous sign, and everybody in Jerusalem knows about it. 17 But to keep them from spreading their propaganda any further, we must warn them not to speak to anyone in Jesus’ name again.”
18 So they called the apostles back in and commanded them never again to speak or teach in the name of Jesus.
19 But Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? 20 We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.”
(How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)
In this chapter we see where Peter and John had preached about the resurrection of the dead for those who believe in Jesus, and the number who accepted this word and believed on the name of Jesus swelled to over 5,000 men, not counting women and children. If this happened at my church, we would probably attract the curiosity of our city officials. Well, this is exactly what happened at Jerusalem. After being questioned by the authorities, and Peter responding with such boldness, the officials then demanded that Peter and John no longer speak to anyone in Jesus’ name again. Peter, in his continued boldness, responded without fear of retribution, (in my words) “Do you think that God would approve of this order? Do you think that He would approve of us obeying you rather than Him? What we have witnessed is indelibly fixed in our minds and what we have heard has filled us with encouragement to share the good news with everyone we come into contact with. This joy that we have cannot be contained; we must share it with all that cross our paths. Sorry guys, but this is one time we must say that Jesus rules and it is Him that we will follow, teach and obey” I know that I have adlibbed quite a bit, but I feel like this is the jest of what was being said by Peter. This touched me as I read this, because we are very much like bystanders in our churches today. If we were close to the situation like Peter and John, where nothing in this world could shut our mouths from sharing the love of Jesus, sharing the healing of the miracle worker (Jesus) that we know, sharing the only One that can give someone eternal life, sharing the love and concern that Jesus has for each of His children, then we will see churches that are bursting at the seams. Then we would be like Peter and John and have more to say at government meetings when decisions are made that adversely affect the work of the church. Friends, this kind of news; this kind of excitement, gave Peter and John a boldness that seems amazing to me, but there is nothing preventing us from catching that same excitement and boldness if we truly place our faith in the unadulterated name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now that we know what is stopping us, or holding us back, let’s get our hearts in shape. Let’s draw close to Him so that He can use us for His glory!
(With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)
Lord Jesus, I am reminded that in today’s society we tend to let too many worldly things interfere with the relationship that we need to build and maintain with You, that would give us the boldness to preach to those around us. Our churches have become a place for Christians to congregate, talk about each other and our neighbors, and perhaps open the Word of God. Please deal in my life so that I may draw closer to You, seek Your face, and turn from any wicked way that I may have attained. May I be found holy, before a holy God so that You could use me for Your glorification and honor. Please work in my life this week so that I may gain the boldness displayed by Peter. May I become a useful servant in Your kingdom right where I am – at home, at work, at church, at Lions Club, at friends’ homes and everywhere I go.
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