Summary: EASTER 4(B) - April 21, 2002 - Christian believers unite in prayer to the Triune God with praises and with all boldness and confidence.
BELIEVERS UNITE IN PRAYER TO GOD
Acts 4:23-33 - April 21, 2002
23On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. "Sovereign Lord," they said, "you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25You 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? 26The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One.
27Indeed 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. 28They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus."
31After 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.
32All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. 33With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.
Dearest Fellow-Redeemed and Saints in the Lord:
Once again we hear about the New Testament believers as the church is just beginning. Maybe from the last week and the week before and this week, we notice how closely united the believers are to-gether. Near the end of our text it says, "All the believers were one in heart and mind." We may ask our-selves, "Why is this? Why was there such a closeness of those first believers?" Simply put, it was be-cause they believed in one God. They didn’t trust anymore in the regulations and the rules and the laws put together by the Scribes and Pharisees. Instead, they looked to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God who came and lived and was put to death and rose again as their only Savior. As they looked at Jesus as their only Savior, they also looked at the one Triune God, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Because they put their trust and confidence in one God, they believed the very same thing. They were very closely knit. They were united together in their faith. As we hear today, they were also united together in prayer.
That point is important for us as believers who unite together in prayer. It is important that we are reminded that we pray to God, not a false god, but the Triune God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Lord reminds us of the seriousness that He considers His Name. He says: "I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols"(ISAIAH 42:8). So we look at that fact, that be-lievers unite together in prayer to God, not Allah, not Buddha, not some other false god, not some idol, but to God Almighty Maker of heaven and earth. As the Lord reveals to us more about His text this morning, we want to think about that theme, BELIEVERS UNITE IN PRAYER TO GOD I. In prayer to God with praises and II. In prayer to God with all boldness.
We are reminded once again of the setting of our text that in the past two weeks has been the same setting. Peter healed a crippled beggar and was put into prison. Then Peter was brought before the Jew-ish council to defend himself and was released. So our text begins, "On their release Peter and John went back to their own people, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them." They came back to the people who were gathered at their meeting place, and they told them that they were set free. Certainly, they rejoiced about that; but then they told them the conditions of their release. Really, there was only one condition: that they would no longer speak or teach about that Man, Jesus Christ. Then leaders said, "Peter and John, you can go if you promise not to speak any more of His Name.
That seems as if that would put an end to the spread of Christianity, wouldn’t it? We could almost expect the believers to throw up their hands in despair and wonder what they were to do next. What does our text tell us? "When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God." Even though their own government had threatened them by saying, "If you teach anymore in Jesus’ Name, you will be put into prison." Yet they raised their voices to God. He was their authority; He was their true leader. They said, "Sovereign Lord, you made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them." They realized that the leaders of the day, the ruling authorities, could make rules and regulations. They could pass judgments. In the end it was the Lord God, the Sovereign Lord who made the heaven, the earth, the sea and all that was in them. He was in control.