As we think about the effectiveness of the Early Church, there was a certain characteristic about their thinking that we need today. While the Church today faces hardships and persecution, more in some places than others, it was a totally new experience for them. Yet, when opposition came, they were convinced of several absolutes:
1. The absolute authority of God’s Word (Acts 2:16, 25, 34).
2. The Holy Spirit had come and filled them for witness (Acts 1:8; 2:1-4).
3. The Lord worked with them and confirmed the message of the gospel (Mark 16:20).
In the face of such a powerful demonstration of God working, the religious leaders “called them [Peter and John] and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus” (Acts 4:18). With arresting them just before this and the possibility of being thrown in jail, do you think they might have backed down just a little? Notice Peter’s reply to their demands; “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge” (4:19). Peter rightly points to their ultimate authority.
This confrontation is followed by urgent prayer by the church in Jerusalem. There was no request for protection or God’s judgment on their accusers. The church asked, “Lord look on their threats and grant to Your servants to continue to speak Your Word with all boldness” (4:29). There was no let up or backing down to the opposition because God heard and answered their prayers and “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the Word of God with boldness” (4:31). THEY WERE UNSTOPPABLE! ARE WE?
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