"The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. 2 They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. 3 They seized Peter and John and, because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. 4 But many who heard the message believed; so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand." Acts 4:1-4
Standing Firm in what they Believe. Sharing what they know
This led the authorities to question them. This again gave them an opportunity to speak the truth:
"7 They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?” 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed." Acts 4:7-10
The more Peter was challenged, the bolder he became.
"18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.'" Acts 4:18-20
"12 The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. 13 No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. 14 Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. 15 As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed." Acts 5:12-16
The stronger the testimony, the greater the miracles. More and more people believed. All were healed.
"17 Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. 18 They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out." Acts 5:17-19
They would rather keep their power then let God in! God told Peter and John to do it again!
Who Will You Obey?
29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings! 30 The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead—whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. 31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. 32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.” Acts 5:29-32
When you are a witness in court you will be attacked by the opposing side. Expect to be attacked. use a challenge to grow bolder and bolder.
In the World Today:
13 Christians are murdered daily.
12 Churches are attacked daily.
12 Christians are unjustly arrested and imprisoned daily.
1 in 6 Christians in Africa are persecuted.
2 in 5 Christians in Asia are persecuted.
Persecution makes us bolder and stronger. A lot of prayer went into the founding of the United States. Where are we today?
18% of all pregnancies end in abortion. That is almost 1 in 5!
Rampant sexual immorality
Apathy in and outside the church
Where are we Believers when all this is going on?
We should be much more than we are. We have let our country down.
Are we standing firm?
"19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies."
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
When you buy a tractor for your ranch you expect it to do the work it needs to do. You would be mighty upset if it didn't work. God bought us with a very high price -- the price of His Son's life. What are we doing with our lives? What are we using our bodies for?
"9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord." Romans 12:9-11
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:8-10
58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." 1 Corinthians 15:58
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand." Ephesians 6:10-13
Put on your armor and get to work. Don't try to find a way out. Find a way to use your armor and the Word more effectively.
Be a prayer warrior
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should." Ephesians 6:18-20