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Bobby Stafford The Need to Pray For Boldness (Acts 4:13-31, Lesson 15)       

The Book of Acts

The Need to Pray for Boldness  Acts 4:13-31

Introduction:

Peter and John had been called to appear before the Sanhedrin, the Jewish high court.  The crime?  They had, by the power of Jesus, healed a lame man!  But Peter turned the tables on the council and accused them of killing the Messiah, Jesus Christ.  Though Jesus is the only way of salvation, He is the only path to the Heavenly Father.  So let’s examine how the council reacted and then the effect on the apostles.

Body:  I. The Reaction of the Council (Verses 13-22)

Verse 13  Acts 4:13 “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled.  And they realized that they had been with Jesus.” NKJV  Peter’s words left the council speechless.  They were amazed and stunned.  They saw their boldness [courage, confidence, unrestrained speech].  No doubt, this was an important factor in the growth of the early church.  Peter and John were not formally trained rabbis or religious instructors in any school.  But the council began to fully recognize what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus.

Verse 14  Acts 4:14 “And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.” NKJV  The council could not argue that a miracle had not taken place.  It had!  The miracle was standing before them.

Verse 15  Acts 4:15 “But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves,” NKJV  The council met in closed session.  They tried to throw together a possible explanation, a defense.

Verse 16  Acts 4:16 “saying, ‘What shall we do to these men?  For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.’ ” NKJV  Instead of asking, “What shall we do with these men?” They should have asked, “What shall we do to be saved?”  They had a vested interest in error.

Verses 17-18  Acts 4:17-18 “But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name.  So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.” NKJV  We don’t know how long the council discussed these things.  But the council knew the man had been healed and therefore, Peter and John’s testimony was true.  Even this miracle had not changed their hard hearts.  Note:  Romans 1:16. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”  NKJV  So they strictly charged them not to say a word in the name of Jesus.  They were acting as agents of Satan.  Satan hates it when Jesus’ disciples invite others to hear the gospel.  (Luke 14:23) “Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.” NKJV  The highest court in Israel had made it a law that it was illegal to speak or teach in the name of Jesus.  This was a critical moment in the history of the church.

Verses 19-20  Acts 4:19-20 “But Peter and John answered and said to them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge.  For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.’ ” NKJV  Peter and John could not be silent.  They had to speak up.  “In the sight of God”  God was watching the proceedings.  The council should have known that the highest priority always is “to obey God.”

 Verses 21-22  Acts 4:21-22 “So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done.  For the man was over forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.” NKJV  The Sanhedrin had attempted to intimidate Peter and John; but they had failed.  The people glorified God for what had happened.  The council was afraid to do anything more.

II.  The Effect on the Apostles  (Verses 23-31)

Verse 23  Acts 4:23 “And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them.” NKJV  Peter and John went back to the other apostles.  Even the apostles needed friends.  Today the church is to encourage and strengthen each other.  (Luke 22:32) “But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren,” NKJV  (Hebrews 12:12-13) “Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.” NKJV

Verse 24  Acts 4:24 “So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said:  ’Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them.” NKJV  In times of distress and difficulty, God’s help must be sought.  All the apostles were united in their thinking.  The prayer begins with praise to God, the Creator.  He is “Lord” – the sovereign ruler and supreme authority.  God has a right to rule because He is the Creator of all things, including the Sanhedrin!  (Revelation 14:7) “saying with a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.’ ” NKJV

Verses 25-26  Acts 4:25-26 “who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: ‘Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things?  The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the Lord and against His Christ.’ ” NKJV  The Old Testament prophets had predicted that there would be strong opposition to Christ and His message.  Rulers would stand together in their efforts to stop the work of Christ.  (Psalm 2:1) “Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing?” NKJV  The idea that it would work was laughable, doomed to failure.  (Psalm 2:4) “He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision.” NKJV  (Acts 5:38-39) “And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it – lest you even be found to fight against God.” NKJV

Verses 27-28  Acts 4:27-28 “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.”  NKJV  God’s holy servant Jesus had been anointed with the Holy Spirit at His baptism.  Herod and Pilate [political enemies] had conspired together along with the Roman soldiers and people of Israel against Jesus.  What they didn’t realize was that they were unknowingly carrying out God’s predetermined plan.  (Acts 2:23) “Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, You have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death;” NKJV  God rules history to carry out His purpose.  No army, council, or government can stand in God’s way.

Verses 29-30  Acts 4:29-30 “Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” NKJV  They didn’t ask for the persecution to stop; they just made a request for more boldness.  (Acts 13:44-46) “On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God.  But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul.  Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, ‘It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles.’ ” NKJV  (Ephesians 6:19) “and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel.” NKJV  Boldness requires courage to press on through our fears and do what we know is right.

Verse 31  Acts 4:31 “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.” NKJV  God showed that He was with them by shaking the earth.  The earth shaking was often a manifestation of the Lord’s presence.  (Psalm 114:7) “Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, At the presence of the God of Jacob,” NKJV  Now all the apostles began to speak with boldness. 

Bobby Stafford – June 28, 2015 [Evening]  Lesson 15:  Acts 4:13-31 

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