Summary: The church is at its best when the church is bold.
Last week we took a few moments to study the first opposition the early church experienced. The big take away from our time together was that there is a spiritual dimension to life whereby Satan, the enemy of God, wages war against Him and all the good that He has given the world. The war that takes place in the spiritual realm, which we cannot see, manifests itself in the physical world, which we can see. When we come to terms with the nature of the battle, as it exists, we will be quick to understand why it is that Paul said in Ephesians 5 that we need to take up the spiritual armor and weaponry of God because we who have been saved out of and from this world do not fight as the world fights.
It is clear that the early church understood that they were not to respond as the world would to their enemies because rather than planning and plotting their vengeance they begin to pray. The Church is at her best when she is praying rather than plotting.
The Church At Its Best. As followers of Jesus Christ gathered knit together by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, whereby we are now sons and daughters of God and brothers and sisters with one another, we should all understand that we will be opposed and attacked because of Jesus. There is a war raging between Jesus and His people and Satan and his demons. If we believe all that Jesus said we should know and expect this. When we experience the opposition and attacks in the physical realm that flows from the war that is raging in the spiritual realm we
One Voice! We get this picture in our minds that all these believers are gathered together experiencing the unity of the Holy Spirit and as they pray they do so with one voice because they are praying for the same thing. How can that be? How can it be that hundreds, if not thousands, of people are on the same page as they live and pray?
Ultimately the answer is the indwelling presence, power and work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit had united the hearts of these believers so that there was great unity among them regarding not only what they believed, but why they believed what they believed and, as reflected in their prayer, their purpose as this new thing called the Church given to the world for its good. They do not pray in accordance to their personal preferences or their “felt” needs but pray for boldness to continue proclaiming the Good News of Jesus in and to the world because they understood that the Church was not so much about what they could get out of it but about bringing glory to God through the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ so that those who had robbed God of the glory and praise that He is rightfully due may be saved and turned into those who praise and glorify God. THE CHURCH IS AT ITS BEST WHEN WE ARE UNITED AROUND THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH WE EXIST!
One Response to Opposition. Secondly notice that the Church responds to their opposition with prayer. Not protest. Not boycotts. Not screaming, arguing and debating with their opposition. Not reasoning or compromising with their enemies. Simply but powerfully the Church entered into a prayer service when news of the opposition came to them. Notice their prayer:
1. Their prayer was motivated by the Sovereignty of God 4:24. What could be more obvious with that, and why were they saying it? They were acknowledging that although they had just been before the highest authority in the land, the Lord is God, the One worthy of adoration and highest submission. The ruling had been handed down from the authorities on the earth and the Church was strengthened as they prayed because not only was this a confession of the Sovereignty of God but a reminder of the Sovereignty of God. Their confession of God’s Sovereignty was not for the purpose of reminding God who He was but to remind them who He is. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of who God is. If we do not then the situation surrounding us will impact us in such a way that we either forget who God is or begin to think erroneously about Him. Because God is Sovereign they knew that their obedience to Him was their highest priority even if that meant disobedience to human authority. This is what Jesus was saying when He said, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”—MATTHEW 10:28.