Summary: The important thing about a man is not where he goes when he is COMPELLED to go, but where he goes when he is free to CHOOSE where he will.
Where Do You Go When You Are Free To Go
Peter and John have been taken before the Jewish Supreme Court (Sanhedrin) of the first century. They are charged and then released.
What do they do? Where do they go?
They go to a prayer meeting.
The secret of the strength of the early church,
the church in the book of Acts, is its prayer meetings.
The secret of all spiritual power is prayer.
A powerful church is a praying church.
I have come to believe that prayer is the strongest weapon God’s people have available to them in this day.
There’s tremendous power in prayer. Prayer is a weapon. When we have difficulties or persecutions from without, prayer is the means God has granted us to conquer and overcome.
I. WHAT IS DISPLAYED IN THEIR RELEASE (23)
"went to their own company"
Proverb says, "Birds of a feather flock together."
When restraints were removed they went to gathering of the believers?
Where do you go when business or household duties set you free?
When restraints are removed we gravitate to our own kind!
Company and choices manifest and mold character.
A Company MANIFEST character
The important thing about a man is not where he goes when he is COMPELLED to go, but where he goes when he is free to CHOOSE where he will.
The apostles went to jail against their will; but when they got out of jail and could go where they would they immediately went to this praying company.
The choices of life manifest and mold character.
A man is absent from church Sunday morning. If he is in a hospital having his appendix removed his absence tells us nothing about him except that he is sick; but if he is out on the golf course, that tells us a lot more about him. To go to the hospital is mandatory; to go to the golf course is voluntary.
His choice reveals what kind of man he is. Choices and company always reveal the man.
“Being let go”many head to the lakes, mountains ,and beaches on the weekends. They go where their heart is and come back to the praying company only when the bad weather drives back.
B. Company MOLDS character
Our choices will soon determine what kind of an individual you will become.
Proverbs 13:20, “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise.” You become like the people you run with.
A great part of wisdom lies in the choice of our companions; for what they are, they will make us also.
Show me a man’s company, and I’ll tell you the man. Let me know the company a man keeps, and I shall easily guess his moral character.
I think it might be well for us to check our spiritual condition occasionally by the simple test of looking at our company.
When you are free to go, where do you go?
In what crowd do you feel the most at home?
When the pressure of work or school have been temporarily lifted, where do you go?
The answer may tell you more about yourself than you really want to know
II. WHAT IS DECLARED IN THEIR RESPONSE (24-28)
The whole congregation of believers begins to praise the Lord. They are not grumbling.
Praise is the antidote which hells fears the most and Heaven loves the best.
Praise helps put things in proper perspective.
A. Praise for God’s omnipotence (24)
The Sanhedrin might have power, but God had almighty power. They worshiped a God who spoke the world into existence.
1. Here was unity of voice
"They lifted up their voice to God with one accord" (24).
Here was unity in praise.
2. Here was clarity of vision
"Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is” (24).
They had a great conception of God. To them, He was the God of omnipotence.
As a result, they were not rattled. Start resting in the omnipotence of God, and you’ll sleep better at night.
B. Praise for God’s omniscience (25-28).
Everything done at Calvary was done in accordance with a plan worked out in eternity.
God is the supreme historian who wrote all history before it ever began. Having done their worst, they merely succeeded in fulfilling God’s eternal plan."
Calvary did not take God by surprise. It was all foreknown and foretold.
III. WHAT IS DEMONSTRATED IN THEIR REQUEST (29-31)
The praise gave way to petition.
A. They prayed for courage
They did substantiation ask for any relief from their situation; on the contrary, they prayed for boldness.
They recognized that the real danger was not in the persecution but in their response to it.
They asked for courage.
1. To expound the Word of Christ--"Grant to thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word" (29).