And Then What Did They Do?

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And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness. — Acts 4:29-31

The day of Pentecost was a magnificent and powerful event in the life of the first century church. Most mark it as the day the church began when the Holy Spirit came down on everyone at that early morning prayer meeting (Acts 2). It didn’t take long however, maybe just a few days, for the new church to become embroiled in controversy when God’s healing power was openly manifested in a resounding and visible  miracle that shook the whole Temple area (Acts 3).

As they were giving explanation to the people, Peter and John were arrested by the Temple authorities but strangely not for the miracle which was acknowledged (Acts 4:16), but for the message they were preaching (Acts 4:2-4). They were “proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead” and five thousand more believers had responded as a result (Acts 4:4). Then came vehement and threatening opposition (Acts 4:27). Now given this setting, I want you to see how the church reacted to this initial onslaught of persecution.

I believe this is a lesson to the contemporary church as to how we should be first responders to the increasing pressure being brought against the church in America and even the outright ban of the gospel in many countries of the world. I want you to notice what they did next in response.

THEY PRAYED.
They didn’t sign petitions. They didn’t form protests in the streets. They didn’t write their legislators. They didn’t rail on their opposition. They didn’t leave Jerusalem. They didn’t even ask God for protection.

THEY PRAYED.
And this is what they prayed (Acts 4:29-31):

  • An unreserved boldness in speaking God’s word (v.29).

  • Healing from heaven (v.30).

  • Miraculous signs and wonders (v.30).

  • All in the name of Jesus (the name they had been forbidden to speak (Acts 4:18).

THEY PRAYED
And what was the result?

  • The place where they were praying was shaken (v.31). A sign from God.

  • They were all “filled with the Holy Spirit (v.31).

  • They spoke the word of God boldly as they had asked (v.31,33).

  • An incredible unity followed in the church as they “were of one heart and soul” and shared everything they had with one another (v.32-33)

  • They gave the church huge sacrificial offerings to distribute as need (v.34).

This all happened because they prayed. Can you imagine that happening in the church today? Why not? Maranatha!

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