Summary: how we need to pray for each other and work together under the grace of God as we preach the Gospel
May 11, 2003 Acts 4:23-33
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. When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God.
“Sovereign Lord, you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. You 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? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One. Indeed 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. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
After 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. All 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. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.
We’re All in This Together
I. “This” can be dangerous
II. The Good Shepherd is with us
III. We’re with each other
The flood was the most destructive thing that ever happened to our earth. Imagine thousands of tons of water rocking back and forth - taking the earth below us and tossing it around like a rag doll! I sometimes wonder how beautiful the world was prior to the flood - the wonderful plants and trees that adorned our plant must have been quite the sight to see. But the flood seemed to have lasting consequences on the earth that we know of, making it impossible for many species to survive anymore. Yet this terrible flood may have brought about some of the most majestic sights in the world - from the mountains of Colorado to the Grand Canyon and the Niagara Falls. It also served to consolidate all of the believers into one boat, and help them survive some terribly immoral times.
Like the flood, sometimes you can be running along in life, with everything going smoothly, but then you hit a huge waterfall that turns your life upside down. Your wife has an affair. Your job gets cut. You come down with a tumor on the brain. Your child dies in an accident. You get falsely accused of child abuse. Adversity. Sometimes adversity causes some great destruction and upheavals in peoples’ lives. However, before we look at these things as completely evil, think about what results can happen from them. Sometimes adversity can do more to mend and strengthen a relationship than ten years of smooth living can. It makes us reevaluate what’s really important in our lives and where our priorities are. It’s adversity that brings out our best and strengthens us, or tears us apart and shows us for what we’re really made of. You could say that it separates the men from the boys.
Prior to today’s text, Peter and John had gone through quite a bit of adversity in the past twenty four hours. At first, they were on top of the world, as God granted them the ability to heal a man over 40 years old who had been crippled from birth. People came from all over the place, and they had a great opportunity to share their faith in the resurrected Christ with them. The total number of believers was increased to over 5,000 people. Things were going great! But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw what was going on, they decided they had better take some action and quick. Hurriedly they whisked Peter and John away and placed them into a jail cell for a night. The next day, when they brought them out to trial, Peter and John again testified that it was in the name of Christ - resurrected from the dead, that they performed this miracle. It was an obvious miracle to all. So Luke says, Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. . . .After further threats they let them go. You have to believe these were threats to take seriously. These were not religious pacifists warning the disciples - they were politically savvy murderers. If they wanted someone taken out of the way, they could get the job done.