Summary: The reality of expectant faith
Acts 4:23, “23As soon as they were freed, Peter and John found the other believers and told them what the leading priests and elders had said.”
This here is a transition into the heart of the testimony of God’s active involvement as expressed in Acts 4:23-31 and the remainder of Acts as well. We have a God who expresses Himself through our present situations to gain our active attention so that we will understand and see His workings within the confines of our present situations.
Acts 4:24-26, “24Then all the believers were united as they lifted their voices in prayer: "O Sovereign Lord, Creator of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them-- 25you spoke long ago by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor King David, your servant, saying,
`Why did the nations rage?
Why did the people waste their time with futile plans?
The kings of the earth prepared for battle;
the rulers gathered together
against the Lord
and against his Messiah.’”
The early believers understanding of God’s involvement revolved around the foundations of the testimony of God’s Word. They were of so full of God’s Spirit that they result was speaking God’s Word right into the heart of this present situation. Luke’s usage of Old Testament phraseology of this prayer was more than likely a constructed prayer, prayed out loud by a congregational leader. The support for such a position would be strengthened by the fact the Spirit’s work within us is creative and redemptive. Therefore, the early believers understanding of God was based upon the reality and foundations of faith. The established leaders of Israel and the Roman government instead of making peace with God in turn went to war; against God, but in the end were proven faulty, because through the sins of the established leaders-God’s Son ultimately triumphed, and for us we should rejoice, because through that triumph we have eternal life in Christ Jesus!
The early believers were then united by prayer. This ought to show us the truth of the power of biblical unity. When we are united together as a believers-by our common citizenship as children of God, then the natural response to this will always be prayer, for prayer is a direct outgrowth of the Spirit’s working in our lives. Yet the reason for the gathered prayer is just as important. They were together as believers because of the miracle that occurred which has caused the persecution, which in turn drew them to each other. How that ought to draw us together! Persecution will always occur when we stand righteous and preach without compromise the Message of eternal life, because it is that message that stands in direct opposition to the ways of the world.
The reality is that what our focus as believers is to be resides within the residence of prayer. Prayer is the heartbeat of the church, the Body of Christ. If what we desire is a movement for God’s Kingdom, then what we must do begins with the bending of our knees rather than the lifting of our hands, for bending our knees is the foundation from which we can experience a radical move of God’s Holy Spirit. It was prayer that lead to the early church’s explosive growth and so it is today with our own churches and ministries as well. If we pray earnestly, humbling ourselves, then God will bless us, not with just a foretaste of His presence, but with His presence. This was the key to the early church’s power. Prayer binds us together, and together gives us the power to proclaim the acceptable year and season of the return of the Lord. May we all be a people marked by the testimony of prayer, as the early believers were.
Acts 4:27, “That is what has happened here in this city! For Herod Antipas, Pontius Pilate the governor, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel were all united against Jesus, your holy servant, whom you anointed.”
Herod was appointed over the terrority of Galilee by the Romans; Pontius Pilate was the Roman Governor over Judea. It was Pilate who succumbed to the pressure from the crowd and sentenced Jesus to death. What we then see is thus important if we are willing to take heed. Our leaders; political, civil, military and religious need our prayers, for they carry a responsibility to care for us and to protect us from what could harm us. Yet all men and woman fail at some point; yet, what we must do, is to pray, and to acknowledge our dependency upon the Lord. Our strength is drawn in our afflictions, for as Jesus suffered, so we must, that we may gain further insight into the nature of the Christian life, for just as the established leaders of the day opposed Jesus, so will they today if we stand for Christ in purity. May we all be vigilant to present our lives before Christ as an offering for His Kingdom. A life characterized by the beatitudes, driven by the Great Commission and the Great Commandment will be a life that stands in direct opposition to the self righteous, intolerant, liberal, satanic ways of the world.