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Confidence In Christ Throughout Persecution

Pastor Dan's Sermon for Saturday July 7th, 2018

· Teaching

This week Pastor Dan continues his sermon on boldness from God. 

Acts 4:23-31

23 And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24 So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, 25 who [c]by the mouth of Your servant David have said:

‘Why did the nations rage,
And the people plot vain things?
26 The kings of the earth took their stand,
And the rulers were gathered together
Against the Lord and against His Christ.’

27 “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. 29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”

31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

Peter and John were just interrogated by the authorities of the Jewish people. They were threatened with their lives in light of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with anyone. They walked away without a scratch due to God's grace. After they left they came to their friends and companions in Christ and share all that had happened. The followers all lifted their voices in prayer and praise to God. They knew that following God got them into this persecution but they were not deterred. They were full of joy at the thought of sharing in the sufferings of Christ. These men and women had such confidence and such a resolve to carry on the mission of Christ. They did not fear the one who could destroy only body but body and soul. 

Where does one find such confidence? These followers knew that they were following God. God had given them a mission, "To spread the gospel to the ends of the earth and to make disciples of all the nations." They didn't doubt it. How could they? They saw Christ risen from the grave, walking and talking for 40 days after the Resurrection. To top off their experience they were empowered by the indwelling Spirit of God. Who could stand in their way? God was with them.

When Peter and John return from their imprisonment the disciples lift their voices in prayer to God. This prayer is clearly in line with God's will. 

1. It is obvious that these disciples had an urgency to lift their voices to God and not just think/work there way out of the problem. They had a clear dependency on the providence of God. 

2. There is confidence in the sovereignty of God. They know that God is in control of all things; the undisputed ruler or authority of all creation. No one can stand in His way and they lean into this all-powerful one for aid.

3. They lifted their voices together. This wasn't just one person rattling off a prayer and another about something else. They were of one mind! They had the heart of God in this situation. They knew what God wanted through the Holy Spirit. 

This prayer was anointed, not because the disciples knew the right rituals for prayer, but because they knew God's heart and prayed in line with His heart. "Grant to us our request because it is what you so desire to be done on the earth." The Holy Spirit was in their prayers helping them to utter the things of God, bringing their hearts into alignment with His will to be done and His Kingdom to come. We need to ask for the Holy Spirit... We need to ask for the Holy Spirit to teach us to pray. Luke 11:11-13 "11 What father among you, if his son asks for[d] a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Let's ask Him.

These disciples had such confidence in their actions. They understood they were in Christ's will no matter what the world, Satan, or the flesh through at them. They were full of joy knowing they were following God. The momentary light afflictions of this present suffering was nothing in light of the Creator's delight in their obedience. They weren't trying to come up with something new, they were carrying on the ministry of Christ. Let this confidence in prayer be ours!

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