Summary: The believers pray acknowledging God's sovereignty, submitting to God's will and relying on God's help.
Good morning and welcome back. Let’s commit this time to God.
Heavenly Father, we are meeting again online to worship you, to acknowledge your presence in our lives and for your help throughout this circuit breaker time.
There are moments of anxiety, restlessness, boredom and worries, but you are with us. That’s what makes the difference.
May our eyes be on You. May our minds and hearts be on Your Word, the only unchanging truth in the midst of all the changes around us.
Bless us with your Word again. This we pray in the Name of Jesus Christ, AMEN.
Let’s recap the context. Peter and John healed a lame man, born crippled.
• It drew the attention of the crowd. Peter preached the Gospel and urged the Jewish crowd to believe Jesus the Messiah, repent and receive God’s forgiveness.
• The priests and religious leaders were unhappy that they preached Jesus as the risen Saviour and so they locked them up.
• The next morning, they convened the Sanhedrin court and threatened Peter and John not to speak again in the name of Jesus any more.
Let continue - Acts 4:23-31
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.
After the threats that were levelled at them, this was their response to God.
• They prayed, with one voice and one heart. Luke records the prayer, clearly someone led the prayer.
• They prayed, ACKNOWLEDGING God as sovereign, SUBMITTING to God’s will for all that is happening, and ASKING God to give them greater courage to preach on.
• This isn’t a common response in a crisis when one is under threat, unless you know WHO God is and understand His will.
This is a prayer that moves God, evidenced by the spectacular response God gave at the end. We see the act of God in response to the prayer of His servants.
The disciples ACKNOWLEDGE GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY
The moment they heard of what Peter and John reported, “…they raised their voices together in prayer to God” and calling out, Sovereign Lord. (4:24)
• They acknowledges God as the Lord of all creation. He made the heaven, earth and sea and everything in them. He spoke by the Holy Spirit and determined His will. The conspirators “did what God’s power and will had decided beforehand should happen.” (4:28)
• He makes the world, speaks His will and determines His way. God is sovereign and He seeks no counsel. There is no one above Him, there is no one He reports to.
And they use the word ‘Sovereign Lord’ is a rare word, not the usual ‘Lord’ that we see.
• In Greek despotes, the word is used of a slave master/ruler whose power over the slave is absolute. It cannot be questioned. It conveys power and control.
• And that’s WHO God is. And that’s the basis of our prayers, isn’t it? We pray to Him because God reigns and He rules. He has the authority and power to do the right things and get things done.
Prophet Isaiah urges the Israelites to return to this God, the one and only.
• God spoke through Isaiah in Isaiah 46:9-10 “9Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. 10I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.”
• There is no force outside of God that can thwart or frustrate His will.
• The truth is, even Satan is on a leash. He has the freedom to prowl around like a roaring lion (cf. 1 Pet 5:8) but not without limits. God’s hand is on the leash.