Summary: A devotional encouraging God’s people to Prayer.
The Product of Pentecost
* For the last 2 weeks we have been called to powerful prayer by God’s word. We began the journey in Acts 1 as they prayed for 10 days after the ascension of Jesus. We reviewed the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost and my prayer was and is, “Lord, do it again in 2010, like you did at Pentecost.”
* Last week, we consider the progression from Pentecost & remembered how Peter and John modeled the walking in the Spirit. “We don’t have silver & gold, but what we have we will give, in the name of Jesus rise up and walk,” were the word given to the lame man. But the man broke the rules. He didn’t get up and walk, he dance, leaped, and praised God, which caused quite a stir. Tonight let’s read the first 31 verse of Acts 4.
* When you and I were in elementary school, in the subject of arithmetic we discovered these names; difference, sum, quotient, and product. Difference comes from subtraction, sum comes from addition, quotient comes from division, and product comes from multiplication. When I read 5000 men in verse 4, I feel on pretty solid ground that the multiplication process is happening. In the aftermath of Pentecost many things are multiplying & I would like us to consider 4 things which they discovered:
1. The Problems they faced – Corruptness within their leadership. The leaders of the establishment wanted nothing to do with the name of Jesus and the changes He brings. Today we read about a principle in Milton, Florida, being charged for the felony of ‘saying a blessing’ before a meal, we hear of teachers being fired for answering questions about their faith, and we laws being passed when may well be used to incarcerate any preacher or Bible believer who dares to speak the Biblical truth . The disciples had healed a lame man (lame for over 40 years) and they were arrested for what a simply act of kindness, grace, and healing grew into. The man turned into a shouting charismatic (he was full of grace), the people took note and gave Peter and John an opportunity to testify to the grace of God, which they took, and people were being changed. Anytime people start getting changed, the enemy will raise his ugly head. Peter and John found themselves ‘confronted’ or better said, “In trouble.” This means they were almost assaulted by the authorities.
2. The Pressure they felt – Make no mistake, for lesser believers this would have been a ‘deal-breaker’ in their faith. These captures were serious.
The Product of Pentecost – Pg 2
* They were kept in jail overnight, brought in front of the same crowd that they had watched orchestrate the crucifixion of Jesus, and were grilled with leading questions. I can hear the arrogant inflexion in their tone, “Just exactly by what power and name have you done this?” For me, this passage reminds me of God’s great sense of humor. Before Pentecost, Peter would have been the one to say something not “too smart.” He was known to say the wrong things, and I wonder, if John was holding His breath to see what Peter would say. There is a difference in Peter now which is state in verse 6. He is now FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT. In the courtyard, he was filled with Peter when the pressure came, now he filled with the Paraclete as the pressure is applied. Before, he ran and cried now he stands and testifies. Before he was afraid now he is assertive. Before he couldn’t stand up now he can’t shut up. There is something that happens when you are filled with God’s spirit. To read verses 13 – 22 you come to understand that the law said, “Don’t use the name of Jesus anywhere, or else.” Today, we seemed to wilt they seem to thrive. The reason that I say this is because of what they did after being released;
3. The Prayers that flowed – They found their small group, gathered with them, shared the prayer requests, and then they prayed. It is interesting to me that Dr. Luke spent less time telling us about what they told the group than he did articulating the prayer. This is our call to pray, not just talk about prayer, not just take prayer request, but to pray. Notice the prayer in verses 24-30 and count the first person pronouns in this prayer. How many? In my version (HCBS) I could one, “OUR” (not an I, me, my, mine, in the entire prayer. Now count pronouns and nouns that recognize God as deity and the focus of this prayer. The recognized God and knew their strength comes only from HIM. The same is true for us.