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Released (Acts 4:23-31)

May 7, 2014

Reflecting on the Passage:

Here at East Point Church, we have begun a new sermon series entitled “Acts: The Spirit and the Church in the World“. This week’s sermon demonstrates how the Word of God boldly proclaimed fuels the Power of God. Pastor Carter encourages the saints to appreciate their time together, especially after constantly battling against the flesh, the world and the devil. The focus of this sermon is on Peter and John gathering with fellow-believers for prayer according to God’s Person, Plan, and Power.

Praying According to Gods Person

20140311-184658.jpgWhen they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit, “‘Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed’ (Acts 4:23-26; ESV).”

The early church was a praying church. It would seem that the Apostles recalled the model prayer that Christ taught them, because we see in this prayer the same core elements of Christ’s prayer – acknowledgement, submission, and supplication (Matt. 6:9-13; Luke 11:1-13). These believers understood that God was, as Pastor Carter explains, despotes (Greek) or the Ruler of all things.  In fact, the first self-revelation of God in Scripture is that He is the Creator of all things (Gen. 1:1). Likewise, they comforted one another with this truth, since God is the Ruler of all things, that would also include all nations and people, including these men who persecuted them shortly before.

Praying According to Gods Plan

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 plan had predestined to take place (Acts 4:27, 28; ESV).

Whenever the Bible speaks about the plan of God, it is always speaking about His eternal, immutable, sovereign, predestinating plan. Predestination was given to us as a source of comfort and point of praise, not to cause disputes among the Body. Therefore, the early church came to terms with the fact that Herod, Pontius Pilate, and the Gentles crucified Jesus Christ, but they realized also that these men could only do so according to God’s plan (cf. John 12:23-28, 19:11).

Praying According to God’s Power

And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus (Acts 4:19-21; ESV).

Having acknowledged that God is sovereign, they ask for boldness.  Why would they ask for boldness in speaking God’s Word, considering that was the reason for their imprisoned and persecution? Sure, they knew that if they continued to speak the Word of God boldly trouble was coming. Yet, if for no other reason, boldness (courage) with God’s Word is a great blessing in the face of trouble.

Who is the Lord?

Biblical faith is not blind or deaf. Instead, it is a sure conviction and reliance upon the Word and Power of God. The early church believed that God was who He said He was in His revealed Word. God revealed Himself as the Creator, as Redeemer in Jesus Christ, and as Sustainer in the Holy Spirit (Gen. 1:1; Luke 19:10; 2 Cor. 1:21-22). We see the early church pray a prayer of faith and trust, asking God to take note to the threats of their enemies and relying on Him in His sovereign power to deal with them according to His plan.

Where do you stand with God today? Are you concerned with His plan? There is a sovereign God, who is in control of everything and is predestinating our lives for His glory and the nations to their end. God has only one plan: the plan of redemption (Christ came to rescue a hopeless people by suffering and dying in their place). God is not making things up as history goes along, soon every man and woman shall stand before Him to give an account. Will you be ready?

Listen to this week’s full sermon for free.

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