May 22, 2020

In God's Mission for Us, We Are Not Alone

Acts 4:23–37

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The Believers Pray for Boldness

23 When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 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, 25 who through the mouth of our father David, your servant,1 said by the Holy Spirit,

  “‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
    and the peoples plot in vain?
26   The kings of the earth set themselves,
    and the rulers were gathered together,
    against the Lord and against his Anointed’2

27 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, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. 29 And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 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.

They Had Everything in Common

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. 33 And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34 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 35 and laid it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. 36 Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, 37 sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet.

Footnotes

[1] 4:25 Or child; also verses 27, 30
[2] 4:26 Or Christ

In God's Mission for Us, We Are Not Alone



Key Verse | Acts 4:29

"And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness."

Bio | Matt McGann

Hey, everyone! My name is Matt McGann. When you read this devotional, I will be nearing the end of my eighth year teaching middle school band. I love getting to work with the middle-school/high-school age group, and I currently lead a group of students in Shoreline, Watermark's high school ministry. In all of these circles, I tend to be known for my love of cheesy "dad" jokes. (Why do Norwegians put barcodes on all of their warships? So they could scan the navy in!) If you don't get it, say it out loud, then consult a trusted dad or middle school teacher.

Central Truth

By God's strength and provision, we can boldly share truth no matter what the outcome may be!

Devotional | Acts 4:23–37

There is a call for every follower of Christ to share with others the hope we have. Many believers are hesitant to share God's truth, though, for fear of losing things like a relationship, job, or...

There is a call for every follower of Christ to share with others the hope we have. Many believers are hesitant to share God's truth, though, for fear of losing things like a relationship, job, or status. When we look at today's passage from Acts 4, however, we see God providing ways for Peter and John to share the gospel boldly in the face of even harsher persecution than we're likely to face today.

In Acts 4:25-26, we see that God gives us His Word. When Peter and John told their fellow believers about the resistance they had encountered from the chief priests and elders, their friends pointed to Psalm 2. The psalm speaks about the victory God will have over rulers gathering against Him and His Anointed (Psalm 2:1-2). This was just the reminder that Peter and John needed in order to continue speaking God's Word boldly. Surrounding ourselves with believers who are able to point us to truth is so important!

We also see in Acts 4:32-37 that God gives us His people. People used what God had given them to meet each other's needs. The author even proclaims that "[t]here was not a needy person among them" (Acts 4:34). Peter, John, and the other disciples were able to face significant hardship knowing that there were others who had their backs no matter what! For us today, that may look like aiding someone financially (giving our treasures), using our unique skills to help someone complete a task or reach a goal (giving our talents), or meeting with someone just to listen and encourage them during a hard season (giving our time).

Boldly sharing our faith in Jesus can seem daunting, but just like Peter and John, we have a God who is for us and who will give us everything we need to carry out His mission if we will just ask Him!

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Discussion Questions

1. Do you know the story of Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection to free you from the penalty of sin? If not, check out these verses: John 3:16; Romans 8:1-39; and Romans 3:23, 6:23, 5:8, and 10:9-10. Then, ask someone who knows this story of salvation to tell you more!

2. If you are a follower of Christ, is there something that is keeping you from sharing God's truth with people you know or meet? What are you afraid to lose?

3. Are you a part of a group of people like Peter and John had that prays for each other, points each other to Scripture, and seeks to meet each other's needs? If not, ask God to provide you with people like this and considering going to Community Formation at Watermark.

8 Comments available

Greg Jones 7 months ago

Luke22:66-23:25 the narrative of Jesus arrest through the crucifixion.

Acts4:27 Herod, Pilot, gentiles, peoples of Israel-a slight shift from the Luke Gospel Later Paul the apostle to the gentiles will have his time in the Jerusalem court Paul and John have just left.

“ This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night.” PaulActs26:7

Peter and John created a disturbance in the temple. Paul was accused of creating one. Acts foreshadowing in Acts.

Greg Jones 7 months ago

John11:2 Sounds like John foreshadowing in John. But this doesn’t make sense, why not just say Mary was Lazarus sister in john12:3?

John wants to identify the hidden identity of the woman in Luke7:36-38

John12:1-3 Mary at Jesus feet, foreshadowing John13:4-5 Jesus at his disciples feet.

John12:4-7 John wants to identify the hidden motivation in Acts4:32-35

John12:8/Acts4:34a The foreshadow hook for above.

John13:4 the groom takes off his wedding cloths, after the meal.

John13:5 After that he poured water into a basin. He began to wash his disciples feet.

John13:6 He came to Simon Peter.

John13:7(the foreshadow hook)Simon, You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

John13:8-9 Peter, “never”,.Jesus, “have to”…Peter, “all of me”…Jesus not about condemnation.

John looking back at Acts4 that was better than before what’s coming is better than that.

Greg Jones 7 months ago

What do you call a fly with no wings? Walker.

Give it a minute.

Matt absolutely loved this, “Peter, John, and the other disciples were able to face significant hardship knowing that there were others who had their backs no matter what!”

I love how Jesus showed his leaders how to lead leaders. It’s not go along to get along. I love how looking back over some of their hardships they were able tell us later “Jesus saw it coming, and that we would understand what he saw later.“ in that there was no condemnation.

Ronald M. Smith 7 months ago

Great devotional, Matt! You hit the nail squarely, Through the prophet David, God spoke about the coming sacrifice of our Lord and Savior, and Peter, John and the church were spiritually provisioned from their realization of its fulfillment. They spoke boldly through their words and through their lives of service to the Church as I have witnessed you do as well. Blessings!

Hope Harris 7 months ago

Loved joke when I read it out loud! Boldness seems to be drawing my attention this week. Reflecting on 29,31&33 this morning:

They prayed for boldness Commentator David Guzik says This request is consumed with God’s cause and glory.

What the Apostles are asking for is defined in Greek Strongs NT 3954: παρρησία as:

Freedom in speaking, unreservedness in speech

Openly, frankly, i.e without concealment

Free and fearless confidence, cheerful courage, boldness, assurance

Lord fill me with this type of boldness that is consumed with your honor, your mission. That I would freely proclaim who you are.

Sue Bohlin 7 months ago

Thanks for the super devo, Matt. I’m sorry your school year became what it was. Teaching calligraphy on Zoom was hard enough–I can’t imagine trying it with middle school band!

LOVE this beautiful story of the early church, empowered and transformed by the Holy Spirit–which means hearts of love–generously sharing their resources with each other to meet everyone’s needs. Socialism and communism are fleshly counterfeits to this powerful, supernatural koinonia. Recently I read a blog post that helped me understand that what we read in Acts 4 is willing, freely shared love. When the government forces people to give their resources to others to even things out, that’s compulsion. It’s not moral and right and good, much less beautiful–it’s a power play. Big difference.

https://blogs.bible.org/how-do-we-help-two-questions-for-every-socialist-leaning-candidate/

Hugh Stephenson 7 months ago

PART 2

A fable -

“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle: when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.”

Satan is hungry. And he wants me. And Amy. And my children.

Only the power of the Holy Spirit could empower two uneducated working-class guys from Hicksville, Israel to render the Sanhedrin speechless.

That same power can give a recovered alcoholic/porn addict who was fed by money and racked by crippling anxiety the boldness to proclaim His Truth, His Love and His Word.

Jeremy Camp reminds me https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InsifiZxVXU

Don’t just be the 2nd slowest gazelle; be His witness, (Acts 1:8).

Hugh Stephenson 7 months ago

PART 1

A prayer and an answer.

A prayer for boldness, (v 29), and the answer, (v 31).

Once Peter & John body slammed the Sanhedrin et al, the Church was off and running the race.

So, what does “speak your Word with all boldness” look like?

In recovery we start off learning two truths:

The nature and character of God

The nature and character of Man

I would add:

The nature and character of Satan

As I have learned more and more of God, man and Satan I see this process as God calling me to get in His race, (Hebrews 12:1-2, 1 Corinthians 9:24, 2 Timothy 4:7-8).

What’s the race? Who is my opponent?

The race is to know Him. Satan is my opponent - in the form of a lion, (1 Peter 5:8).

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