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Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Ephesians 4:1-16 Directives for unity in the church.

This passage was the inspiration for our  Elders prayer meeting. Paul encouraged the church to walk as Christians worthy of our calling. Our church has gone through very difficult times and needs us as elders to be much in prayer for them. We need to set the right example as Godly leaders. We prayed through the passage and was blessed beyond compare. We give thanks to our Lord for His grace and mercy. 


Elders prayer meeting 29th September 2015

Ephesians 4:1-16English Standard Version Anglicised (ESVUK)

Unity in the Body of Christ

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith,one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore it says,
When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.”

(In saying, “He ascended”, what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)
Verses 11-13:
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped,when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
God's gift to the church:
  • Those who are able to teach (elders today)

The purpose of the gift:
  • To equip the church for the work of ministry.
  • For the building up of the body. Body building is a long and arduous task. It cannot be achieved overnight but comes with much training, sweat and toil. We must work out our salvation in fear and trembling. Before the body can grow healthily ALL of the bad needs to be dealt with.

Our role as elders is to equip the church for acts of service. We are called to nourish the church with the pure food of the Word of God at the level which our members are capable of taking. Encouraging them to become united as one body under the headship of Christ alone. This can only be accomplished on our behalf by prayer and faithfulness. Our example is seen by all and so we must love each other as Christ has loved us. We must love the fellowship and protect all equally.

The goal:

  • Unity of faith.
  • Knowledge of the Son of God.
  • Maturity in faith. Jesus is our role model.

The result:

  • No longer children.
  • No longer blown around by the wind of doctrinal fortune.
  • No longer beguiled by those with cunning, crafty and deceptive schemes.
  • Truthful, loving and Christlike.
  • Belonging to each other as each part of our human body does. Bound together by Christ.

These are what we must be aiming for recognising that our church is a hurting group of people who have been through a torrid time. We are God's appointed men to help them to get from where we are to where we should be. We need to pray that God by His Spirit will work wonderfully in our own hearts and that He will work in the hearts of the whole church building us up into a people who will not only be a worshipping community but also a shining light for the gospel wherever we are.

Exodus 28:28-30English Standard Version Anglicised (ESVUK)

And they shall bind the breast-piece by its rings to the rings of the ephod with a lace of blue, so that it may lie on the skilfully woven band of the ephod, so that the breast-piece shall not come loose from the ephod. So Aaron shall bear the names of the sons of Israel in the breast-piece of judgement on his heart, when he goes into the Holy Place, to bring them to regular remembrance before the Lord. And in the breast-piece of judgement you shall put the Urim and the Thummim, and they shall be on Aaron's heart, when he goes in before the Lord. Thus Aaron shall bear the judgement of the people of Israel on his heart before the Lord regularly.

We must pray that we have our people on our hearts and pray for their eternal security.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Harvest 2015: Looking at the world through Gospel eyes.

John 4:35 (b)

Jesus said to his disciples:
Look, I tell you,lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.”

The occasion:
  • Jesus is in Samaria, sitting next to Jacobs well just outside of the town of Sychar.
  • He has asked a solitary Samaritan woman for a drink. Unusual thing for a Jew to do!
  • As a Samaritan she was an outcast from the Jews but she was also an outcast from the women of the town hence she went alone to gather water.
  • Jesus exposed her lifestyle to her, 5 husbands in the past and now living with a man.
  • She was concerned with water for life but Jesus offered Water that gives spiritual life to her.
  • He declares Himself as the awaited Messiah for whom both Jews and Samaritans eagerly awaited.

Enter the disciples back from food shopping.

Interestingly: The disciples never asked why Jesus was speaking to a Samaritan woman. Was their Jewish bigotry showing? The Jews hated the Samaritans more than any other nation. It is shameful when such bigotry is in the church!

  • The woman goes back to town and declares Jesus to the townsfolk: Is this man the Messiah?
  • The people of the town come to Jesus.
  • The disciples wanted Jesus to eat but His mind was elsewhere. They were concerned about food for the stomach but His concern was the bread of heaven that gives eternal life to all who believe.
  • They had so much to learn which is what caused Jesus to say the words of our text today.
  • Jesus told them that although it was four months to the harvest there is an even more important harvest coming to them. The townsfolk were coming towards them.
Jesus said in effect: “Here comes a harvest of souls.”

The people were just like a harvest field swaying in the breeze. Jesus told His disciples to look up from their sandwiches and see the reality of the situation. Look beyond your bigotry and see people whom I love and see what I will do with them. They need harvesting from sin to eternal life. Jesus told His disciples to look beyond everything else and see. This is an imperative, a command, “look I tell you” comes with force and authority.

Do as I tell you” Jesus is saying to them.

That is still Jesus' command to His people today, we are to look at all people as God's harvest field. Are we looking for people to come to Jesus. The Samaritan woman after meeting Him brought the whole town to Jesus! Are we really concerned for the souls of all that we know? Who did you last introduce to Jesus and WHEN?

The fields are white for harvest: On that day Samaria was open for the gospel, the town people were coming to meet Jesus because of what they heard from the woman. When the saw Jesus they were then harvested.

Read verse 42:

They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know indeed that this is the saviour of the world.”

Unless a field is harvested the harvest is hopeless. Can you imagine a field of ripe corn just left there because the farmer believes that if it wants to be harvested then it will come by itself? If it wants to become a cornflake then it will do it by itself!

Sadly that is just how many Christians view evangelism today. Jesus instructed His people to look at others and to make disciples of them in the same way that this Samaritan woman did. Our combine harvester is the gospel which speaks of Jesus' work of salvation and then by the Spirit of God truth is confirmed into hearts just as with the townsfolk of Sychar. The were not satisfied with the woman's experience they experienced saving truth for themselves by coming to Jesus personally.
I have to ask you this morning “have you had your own personal experience of Jesus or are you here relying on another persons experience?”
When you come to Jesus personally then you will know and believe that He really:

  • Did come from the glory of heaven and become a man.
  • Was born of the virgin Mary.
  • Did live a perfectly sinless life.
  • Did die on the cross as the Only sacrifice acceptable to God for the forgiveness of sin.
  • Did rise from the dead.
  • Did ascend into heaven on the third day.
  • Does now sit in heaven with God the Father.
  • Is the only Saviour of the world.

When you know this and call on the name of the Lord then you shall be saved.

Are you?
Christians our responsibility is to look for our harvest field! Are we truly looking at the white fields?

That is the purpose of our time of prayer today, stay for lunch and then pray with us that we might see this harvest field that is ready for our reaping.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Acts part 9: A united people

Building the right foundation part 9

Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet.
But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and with his wife's knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles' feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him.
After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.” And she said, “Yes, for so much.” But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.

English Standard Version Anglicised

Text: verse 32: “Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.”
We continue in our studies in Acts for our series “Building the right foundation.” We are now in our 9th study as we seek to re-establish ourselves as the church here in Callington it is good to remind ourselves that we must build on the right foundation. The early church were learning this experientially and thankfully Luke researched those early days thoroughly and has given to us this divinely inspired accurate account of the events as they unfolded. The wonderful thing about scripture is that it is blatantly honest therefore it records events both good and bad. The things that happened in the early church are as other history in the bible; they are recorded in order that we might learn from them as they serve as both encouragements and warnings. In 1 Corinthians 10 Paul used an example from Israelite history in order to warn the church against idolatry, he said that “these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did.” The experiences of the people of God serve as examples to us. The passage that we have read this morning is a grave warning to the church about false faith. The deaths of Ananias and Sapphira brought great fear not only upon the church but also upon all who heard it.

Before we go any further there is an important issue at hand in this very point. The church of today often focusses upon the love of Jesus and forgets that our God is an awesome God who is holy and just in every way. We forget His hatred of sin and His judgement upon those who play games with him. Ananias and Sapphira had colluded to try to deceive God and the church into believing that they were more generous that they actually were. This might sound rather trifling to us today but God will not tolerate any who attempt to take glory to themselves. That was the sin of Satan in heaven and which caused him to be ejected. It was the original sin of both Adam and Eve; deception towards God is unacceptable and will be punished. This story serves as a dire warning to the church today. If you are here today making out to the church and to God that you are something that you are not beware, learn from Ananias and Sapphira that God will not tolerate your behaviour. You may fool the church but the Holy Spirit of God knows your every motive. In this if you are disingenuous then you are already under judgement and are in a perilous situation.
As always there is hope for you and so stay with us and hear not only of the judgement of God but also of His wonderful mercy to His people.
Now back to our text, we will consider 2 things from the text:
  1. Who are the full number?
  2. What does it mean to be of one heart and soul?

Who are the full number?
The answer is simple and obvious from the text; they are ALL those who believed! This in itself is a wonderful statement that tells us that there is firstly none missing from the church and secondly that belonging is by faith alone. The gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God who died on the cross and rose from the dead as God's provision for the forgiveness of sin for all who believe and call upon His name for salvation is effective. Consequently a great number have been added to the church and continue to dos so. On the day that Luke is recording they were then the full number which means that ALL whom God intended had been gathered by the Holy Spirit of God. These were the true believers of the day and what is true of their day is equally true of our day. The full number to this day are now ALL together, you see the promise of God is that none will be lost and so the church up to now is the full number which will continue in the days of grace that we have left. As we know from the events that are to follow in Acts there were still many more to be added to their number in the days to come. As we consider beyond the New Testament church and throughout church history until today then we see that God in a remarkable way has kept the church “topped up” to the full number at all times. Jesus told us that this would be true right up until the very end of the age when none that are called of God will be lost. This is the most wonderful truth that we can ever imagine. The full number were gathered at the time of the apostles, the full number is gathered today, it might be scattered across the entire globe but all are so far safely gathered in and the gatherer of souls is still reaping His harvest. This will continue until one day the final full number will be complete and then the promise is that the full number will be taken up with Christ into the eternal presence of God the Father when they will be glorified, perfected and presented as a perfect people in the same way as a beautiful bride is presented to her groom. What a wonderful day that will be.
Sadly some whom we know and love, some who belong to our earthly churches will not be among that number. On that day they will attempt to come to Jesus and call Him lord, lord as is their custom now but His answer to them will be “away from me for I never knew you.” These are the Ananias and Sapphira types who took glory to themselves and never gave completely to God. It was not about the money but the lie.
There is a parallel story in the Old Testament. It is during the time when the Old Testament people of God were taking the land as their inheritance. They had experienced the Passover and had gone through the Red Sea, they had wandered through the wilderness for 40 years and had gone through the Jordan and were in Canaan. Ai the first city in Canaan had been defeated and God had pronounced that the people should not benefit from the spoils of that war but that all should go to His glory. Enter Achan who wanted some of the treasure for himself. He took it and hid it under his bed the result of this was much suffering for the nation. When Achan was exposed he paid the penalty for his deception; both he and his entire family died as God's judgement.
What a pity that Ananias and Sapphira did not take his example to heart. Surely they would not have continued in their deception had they given it some thought. Just as at the new beginning of the nation of Israel God now set the example of the seriousness of deception by dealing with Ananias and Sapphira equally!
It is interesting that we never hear prayers for God to work in this way today. I am personally glad that He does not because I would never have reached the grand old age of 64 had He treated me as I deserve and in this matter neither would you be here today.
The example was set on that day, the lesson ought to be learned but have you learned it?
God will not be lied to.
The second point is this:

The believers had all things in common.
Luke uses Barnabas the son of encouragement as an example of what was true of the whole church. Where Ananias and Sapphira took glory for themselves, Barnabas took none for himself. The issue centred around Christians in need. To understand what the issue was we need to know that becoming a Christian at that time had started to make things difficult for many. The gospel of Jesus Christ was odious to the authorities and they were starting to have an effect. As representatives of the Old Testament faith they were supposed to care for the underprivileged amongst them but now they were set on making believers poor by taking their jobs away and thus their wherewithal to support themselves and their families. Where society failed the church stepped up to the plate. We cannot take from this passage (as some do) a theology of poverty and selling all and giving to the poor. We cannot say that this is prescriptive for the church but what is true is that the church was reacting to a situation of the day caringly towards those in need amongst them. Notice on this occasion this care was not for all people but for fellow believers. Loving as Jesus commands must first come to the people of faith because this is our witness to others.”See how they love one another!”
Belongings to the early church were seen as opportunities to support each other. They were united in their belongings by example but they were also united in heart. They truly loved each other, that is why Ananias and Sapphira stand out so starkly! They loved themselves and their reputation first. One of the marks of a true Christian is that we love the people of faith. We love the true church over and above the rest! Christians do we truly love each other, would we give whatever is necessary to a brother or sister in Christ? Are we seen and known as a loving community?
Do not forget that Peter had to confront first Ananias and then Sapphira with their sin. He had to pronounce judgement upon Sapphira and he watched her drop down dead upon his judgement. We must also judge who are true believers and then love them as we do ourselves. We are not to become sentimental when we speak of loving the saints because there is a different love for those outside of the family of faith. God will not tolerate sin amongst His people and neither must we. We do not ask for their immediate death but we do not let them have authority amongst us through their deceptions. We are united with the church but not with the disingenuous within our number. With Christians we have all things in common and we work together for the glory of Christ, whatever their church associations are but with those who are not true gospel people we are not united.
The final point of the text brings all of this together because unity in the church is all dependant upon unity of soul. It is the soul that is the heart of the matter. It is our soul which is our very being that has been saved. It is in our soul that we are truly united together because in this we are also united with God. We are his family and as such we are intrinsically bound together. We often say that blood is thicker than water meaning that family is a strong bond that binds us together. The blood of Jesus purifies His people and brings about forgiveness of our sins, our family ties are His blood which is sufficient to save the final full number of the church without any loss and to bring all as one family into eternal unity with God in heaven.

Will you be there?

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Acts part 8: Filled with the Holy Spirit.

Building the right foundation part 8

Acts 4:5-31

On the next day their rulers and elders and scribes gathered together in Jerusalem, with Annas the high priest and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. And when they had set them in the midst, they enquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition. But when they had commanded them to leave the council, they conferred with one another, saying, “What shall we do with these men? For that a notable sign has been performed through them is evident to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.” So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people, for all were praising God for what had happened. For the man on whom this sign of healing was performed was more than forty years old.
When 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’—
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. 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.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

English Standard Version Anglicised

I am grateful to Mark Thomas for his exposition of this passage last week whilst I was away. His coverage of the issues found within has opened the way up for me to lay a foundation concerning the filling of the Holy Spirit as found in the book of Acts. As I have said previously Acts is an accurate history of the happenings beginning at the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ and concluding 30 or so years later with the imprisonment of the Apostle Paul in Rome shortly before his execution.
Luke is a wonderful example to all historians in all generations because he records the facts as they actually happened and without any personal comment. Unlike present media news bulletins we will find no expert comment or personal explanations within Acts but simply a record of the facts. This is most helpful in many ways because we read just what happened but it does leave us with the problem that some of the recorded events are acceptable to God and others are not. Therefore we must always discern what is going on in the light of the truth of the teaching passages of scripture before we can accurately judge whether a certain event recorded in Acts is useful for our theology. For this reason we can only safely use any of the narrative passages of scripture for doctrinal purposes when they are in line with the clear teaching of scripture elsewhere. We must never from the book of Acts alone do what many others do and attempt to build the church of today solely by the events of this history because we will most certainly fall into error by doing so. One of the many confusions in the church of today is our understanding of what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit. For this reason I am truly grateful for the opportunity to spend our time this morning observing what it meant on the day that Luke is recording in Acts 4 and then to see how it might apply to us in the 21st century church in Cornwall.
In my last study we considered an ordinary day in Jerusalem but one which ended up spectacularly with the healing of a lame man, the conversion of 5000 men plus women and children which in turn caused the annoyance of the religious elite and consequently the arrest of Peter and John. We are now concerned with the next day when Peter and John had spent the night in prison. They were brought before the most powerful religious leaders of the day who wanted to know where their power for healing came from and in whose name that they accredited the miracle to. The background to this is that all Jews were looking for Messiah whose coming would be authenticated by signs and wonders which would include the blind being made able to see, the deaf to hear, the lame to walk and the dead to rise. The priesthood were the custodians of these promises and so it was their responsibility to check out any such signs. So far so good, the religious leaders might seem to be doing what they ought to do but they show their real intentions through their deliberations recorded in verse 16 where they really wanted to punish Peter and John even though they recognised that a notable sign had been performed . They could not deny the fact of the miracle but they did not want the credit to be given to Jesus. For this reason and their fear of the people they banned Peter and John from speaking in the name of Jesus. These religious leaders were intent on rejecting the Lord Jesus as Messiah, they were deliberate in this and were unwilling to recognise the signs given by God proving Jesus to be the awaited Messiah due to their own bigotry. These men were the fulfilment of Psalm 118:22 where the builders of the faith were guilty of rejecting the most vital piece of God's building. The cornerstone is the stone that holds all of the building together, it is unique and is the only one that one will do the job. Peter boldly told them that Jesus of Nazareth was God's Chosen Anointed One and that it was only by and through His name that any can be saved. These religious leaders rejected Him out of hand!
You might at this point be wondering what has all of this got to do with being filled with the Holy Spirit? Before we come to that it is important for us to understand that even the greatest of signs performed by the Apostles and also previously by Jesus had never been enough to persuade these men that Jesus is the expected Messiah or Christ. They enjoyed the signs but did not want the Saviour.
There is still a great desire for signs and wonders in particular amongst Christians who read Acts and use it as a paradigm for church practice today. The belief being that if we were more like the early church then more people would be persuaded by the miracles and that many more would be converted. That might be a commendable desire but it does not hold water because as we can see from the passage and also as Paul teaches in Romans 10 14-15 that it is by the declared Word that people are normally saved. It is for the bold preaching of the Word as recorded in verses 8 and also 31 of our passage that believers were filled with the Holy Spirit.

In verse 8 Peter is filled with the Holy Spirit and then he goes on to preach a powerfully applied gospel message to these religious leaders. It is when we understand exactly who they were that we begin to understand why Peter needed this special infilling of the Holy Spirit. These men Annas, Caiaphas, John (or Jonathan), Alexander and all of the high priestly family were the most powerful religious dynasty of New Testament days. For any of us who have read the New Testament we cannot help but to recognise the names of Annas (or Ananias) and Caiaphas as they crop up from time to time. In actual fact they are all of the same family, Annas being the patriarch. He had 5 sons and a son-in-law Caiaphas. Annas was the High Priest for 10 years appointed by a certain Quirinius in 6AD. Quirinius was governor of Syria Luke tells us at the time of the birth of Jesus. It was shortly after the birth of Jesus that Annas was appointed to be the High Priest. This in itself flies in the face of scripture which teaches that the priests were to be appointed by God alone from the Levitical line. The very fact that Rome was appointing Jewish priests shows the state of the faith at the time; but it is the family of Annas that is of particular interest. They were a very wealthy family and of great influence. Even though Annas was removed from office by the then governor in 15 AD he was still able to appoint Caiaphas to be his successor and then following Caiaphas his 5 sons. The last of which was Annas the younger who was assassinated in AD 66 at about the time of the end of Acts. This means that all of the problems that Jesus and the early church had with the priesthood was with this one powerful family. When we know this then many things fall into place.
The family were extremely wealthy and owned a market on the Mount of Olives, they also had a market in the court of the Gentiles within the temple of Jerusalem. It was them that were understandably angry when Jesus cleared them out of the Temple. For this act they wanted to kill the Lord. (Mark 11:17)
It was with these same men that Judas made his deal to betray Jesus and was also the same people who organised the arrest of the Saviour. They stirred up the crowd to demand His crucifixion and made sure that He died upon the cross. For them that should have been enough because Josephus records in his history that they were Sadducees who of course did not believe in the resurrection. But now the thing that they wanted least of all was for a following of the Lord to be growing as the church clearly was. They needed to be rid of these protagonists of the gospel. For this reason Peter and John were in dire straights.
What would they do when asked to declare their allegiance?
As God always does with His people He enabled them by filling them with Himself and giving them the boldness as He had done for so many others throughout the scripture. Peter filled with God's Holy Spirit told the the truth without compromise and God preserved their lives. When they were finally warned not to speak in the name of Jesus Peter rejected their order and told them that they could do no other than to speak God's truth whatever their orders might be. Upon their release Peter and John went to the church where they prayed together for the necessary boldness to continue preaching in the name of Jesus. The result of their prayer was that the place that they gathered in shook as at Pentecost and God by His Spirit filled them in order that they speak the Word with boldness. That word was then effective as we shall see next time. The truth is that:
God fills His People with His Holy Spirit in order that they declare Jesus as the only way of salvation.
The work of the Holy Spirit is always to point to God's redemption which is found in none other than Jesus Christ.

Peter and John had to take the gospel to ruthless and antagonistic people, to do so God enabled them by His Spirit. They were filled not for their own benefit but for the furtherance of the gospel and the building of the church. We also need the true filling of God's Spirit today, not for our entertainment but that our desperately needy community might be saved!
Read the prayer made on that day again and pray it for our own needs as we present the gospel here in our own community!
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’—
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. 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.”