The Power of the Spirit Among Us {Acts 4}

11:30 PM

By Sue Desmarais

The chapter once more begins in the middle of the story! Peter and John are addressing the people who have just witnessed Peter heal a man in his forties that had been lame since birth (Acts 3) and right in the middle of their speech we read:
“As they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them, being greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them and put them in jail until the next day, for it was already evening.” Acts 4:1-3

The Sadducees didn’t believe in the resurrection of the dead, which is probably why they decided to cut off their speech right then and put them in jail until morning. But even then, they had been too late for the passage goes on to add, “many of those who had heard the message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.” (4:4)

Just imagine what that night must have been like for John and Peter, for the last time the Jewish council had met together to hear a case concerning Jesus, they had agreed to have Jesus crucified. I wonder if John and Peter were thinking they would be next come morning…. But if they were, it certainly didn’t prevent them from speaking out boldly the next day! Notice;

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people,  if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well,  let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by his name this man stands here before you in good health. He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone.  And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:9-12

Whoa! No longer the Peter who denied Jesus thrice on the last night of His life. I heard someone just recently say about this passage; “While Peter and John were commanded to stop speaking out about Jesus,many of us need to be reminded today of our need to speak up!” Can you remember the last time you spoke out about Jesus?

Chapter four is an awesome example of the Holy Spirit’s power operating in us! Notice how the believers “filled with the Holy Spirit” responded to the threats made to them should they persist in proclaiming Jesus’ name:

“...they lifted their voices to God with one accord and said, “O Lord, it is You who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them,  who by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David Your servant, said,
Why did the Gentiles rage,
And the peoples devise futile things?
The kings of the earth took their stand,
And the rulers were gathered together
Against the Lord and against His Christ.’
For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur.  And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence,  while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.”  And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness!” Acts 4:24-31 (emphasis mine)

Would this be how our churches would respond today? Even still, the most amazing passage of chapter four to me is the description of the church in verses 32-35,

“And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them.  And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all.  For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales  and lay them at the apostles’ feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need.” (emphasis mine)

They were one in heart and soul which when I studied these words further I discovered it meant. They were one in “Intellect” and “emotion”. Over five thousand brand new believers shared everything in common. The Holy Spirit not only caused them to be bold in proclaiming the gospel, but in their actions as well, for they boldly shared all they had with other believers trusting God to care for them all. That is amazing to me, but that’s God! Nothing is too hard, or impossible for Him, if He is permitted to reign over His people.

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