GOD ESTABLISHES HIS CHURCH IN THE WORLD
We Can’t Stop Speaking of What We Have Seen and Heard
Jerry A Collins
What good is persecution for the gospel?
How far should we go in obeying our government?
What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit?
This past week I began meeting with a man who said that he wanted to begin studying the Word of God with me because he did not know how to answer people who asked him about his faith. He was afraid to answer them and did not really does not know why. So he wants to study God’s Word and become bold in his faith so he can be the witness that God asks him to be. I am glad that he wants to overcome the temptation to either compromise the gospel or not speak at all about it. We must become bold witnesses for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Peter and John had an opportunity to boldly witness of the gospel and from them we will learn just how and what it means to do that.
1. FAITH, OCCUPIED WITH GOD, IS COMPELLED TO MAKE TRUTH KNOWN BOLDLY 14-22
Essentially we have a study in contrasts here. The religious leaders and the newly-born believers. A contrast between unbelief and belief. It plays out like this.
(1) Unbelief is occupied with man. 15-17 this religious tribunal makes no mention of God only (these men, all them that dwell in Jerusalem, the people). Primarily occupied with sentiments, reactions of people, vs. 21, and determine their actions accordingly. Faith is occupied with God and determines its actions here (Peter mentions God twice in vs. 19, cf vs. 21).
(2) Unbelief has no standard of rite/wrong. They cannot speak against the miracle vs. 14, their real desire means they must discuss the case privately vs. 15. 16-17 shows no consideration for justice just expediency. 17-18, 21 they stoop to threats and they have no courage of their convictions & afraid to punish them vs. 21. The collapse of faith or absence of it produces no moral standards since there are none apart from God and expediency result of unbelief. Faith concerned with rite/wrong because concerned with God, right in site of God v 19.
(3) Unbelief is unreasonable. Tho they do not question miracle vs. 16, they never reason its implications, the living power of Jesus’ name. Tho they could not deny it they were unwilling to accept it, an illustration of Jn 3:19. Faith reasons about things rationally vs. 19-20.
(4) Unbelief resists the spread of truth vs. 17. This was the chief concern since it would effect their power and authority over the people vs. 18. Faith courageously compelled to make the truth known vs. 20.
(5) Unbelief is powerless. This whole charade was only an empty bluff exposed as such when Peter and John defied their threats. The only thing it did accomplish was to inspire a prayer meeting 24-30 and a fresh outpouring of the HS. Faith in God and His Word is powerful and faith and prayer combine for unbelievable accomplishments (Hb 11:33-34). Faith usually involves 1. Problems 2. Risks 3. Worthy Object.
2. OPPOSTION TO THE TRUTH INCREASES THE SOLIDARITY OF GOD’S PEOPLE 23-30
After exhibiting boldness before Sanhedrin, Peter and John are next found in a prayer meeting. There is no bragging about how they ’stood up’ to the Religious authorities because they realize it is God who grants boldness vs. 29. They returned to ’their own company’ revealing that hostility increased their sense of belonging to the Xian community, their own spiritual family. In vs. 24 this is expressed with the phrase ’one accord’. Expressing unity, oneness and kinship as well as spiritual agreement stressed in the prelude to prayer together. Three important issues upon which they found this ’one accord, spiritual agreement also empowering their prayers together were:
(1) Agreement as to the Person of God vs. 24. He is viewed in His greatness. The magnificence of their vision dwarfs their problem. Threatened by earthly rulers they turn to the heavenly despot Who is the creator of the world. This title