Every Sunday during our gathering we take time to share with each other what we are thankful to God for in our lives. It is one of my favorite things we do at Restoration Church. As people share we are reminded that we serve a living God! He is active in our lives providing for us and teaching us new things from His Creation, His Word and His people. The fact that God is doing things among us is one of the things we reflected on during the sermon this Sunday.
This Sunday we talked about Acts 4:1-22. In the passage, Peter and John have been arrested so the Temple leaders could determine by what name or by what power the lame man was healed (Acts 3:1-26). Peter’s bold response makes the leaders recognize “that [Peter & John] had been with Jesus.” So, we asked the question what is it that lets people know we have been with Jesus? We found three answers from the text:
– You know we’ve been with Jesus by the things happening among us. As I mentioned to start this post, every Sunday we stop to thank God for what He is doing in our midst. I am always encouraged and amazed by this time as we get to hear stories about how the Lord is at work bring healing, provision, wisdom, peace, understanding, comfort, forgiveness, love, joy and on and on. Last week in our passage Peter declared Jesus to be the Restorer of ALL things! It is true, God is at work restoring all things through the work of His Son, Jesus Christ. In our passage this week we saw that this man who had been crippled for over 40 years (Acts 4:22) was completely healed (Acts 3:16). In our study of Acts we have seen that the community of believers were without any need because of the work of the Holy Spirit among them (Acts 2:42-47; 4:32-37).
– You know we’ve been with Jesus by our proclamation of the Gospel. You also know someone has been with Jesus because they proclaim His Gospel. As Peter put it in this passage (Acts 4:11-12), “Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Everyone has a belief about what happens after death. Our belief is that when you repent and trust Jesus for forgiveness of your sins, you inherit eternal life. Now we declare with Paul, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:55-57). We are not afraid of the fact that some will disagree with us, it is not a truth we desire to impose on anyone because it was not imposed on us. However, we are not naive to think that no one will be offended by such statements. For it was said of Jesus in Luke 2:34-35 by Simeon, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed…so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
– You know we’ve been with Jesus by our submission to God over men. Unwavering submission to God is the final way we saw that people know we’ve been with Jesus. In the passage, the leaders charge Peter & John “not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.” Peter and John answer in Acts 4:19-20, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” Peter and John refuse to stop preaching and teaching in the name of Jesus. There lives have been completely changed by Him. Even these leaders have recognized the change as Acts 4:13 says, “when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.” We cannot deny the experience we have had with Jesus. As a Christian, I can testify that it is Jesus who has changed the trajectory of my life. He has given me the desire to spend my energy on making Him known rather than spending my energy on making a name for myself. He has formed in me a desire to love my neighbors as my self (Luke 10:27).
Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 2:14-16, “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.” It is our prayer that we would be the aroma of Christ to our world. That those who come in contact with us would recognize that we have been with Jesus.
You can hear Sunday’s sermon here
This week we will continue our study of Acts with 4:23-31 for which I have included some questions below. If you are interested in joining us, we would love to have you. We will first study the text together during our Wednesday night community group, and then again during our Sunday night worship gathering. For more information, click here.
-How does what David said in Psalm 2 concern the disciples experience with the leaders?
-What was the response of the believers to what the leaders had told them?
-What was the result of their continued seeking of the Lord in prayer?