Acts 4 v 23 - 31

So, how does the early Christian Church respond to threats, arrests and danger? It could have been that when Peter and John returned with their story, all those in the fellowship felt panicked and depressed and their initial verve and enthusiasm was popped like a balloon filled with air so quickly deflates with a pin pressed upon it! These troubles were not going to go away, anyone with a small amount of prescience would have known this. However, it is clear from this passage that the one thing which appeared not even to cross their minds was to obey the command of the Sanhedrin that they should no longer speak of the Good News of Jesus Christ. So, what did happen?

1. They met together as a fellowship and discussed the events which had just come to pass.

2. They prayed together. In their prayer they quoted Scripture and it appears that they were of one voice, united in what their next plans were to be.

3. They recognised that faithful following of the Messiah who was killed on a cross would always bring persecution. This had been the way since time immemorial: that powerful men would set themselves against God.

4. They requested greater boldness and continued power and miracles to demonstrate the supremacy of Jesus Christ.

5. They received the power of the Holy Spirit afresh. The filling of the Holy Spirit gave them fresh strength to proclaim the Good News. They were reminded experientially that God, the Creator and Sustainer, was with them.

6. God reminded them of the futility of human rebellion. We and they may be tempted to think the opposite: what are we compared to the huge political and battle-ready forces of the world? However, we like they did, should take heart and remind ourselves that we have the Lord of heaven and earth on our side!

7. In doing what they did, they received the courage to continue to be witnesses of Jesus, even though that might well mean their death!

In times of trouble, in times of feeling we have come to the end of our strength, we must remember that it is not through our own strength that we have managed so far, but through the presence and power of God and that will never fade!

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