March 2, 2018
- By Ed Powell
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"And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spoke the word of God with boldness." Acts 4:31
God was preparing these disciples to preach the gospel and establish the church. Before them was a road of difficulties, trials, abuse, false accusations, imprisonment, and beatings. How encouraging it is to see how they submitted to the authority, purpose, and plan of God. They could not have gone through all they encountered in their own strength. God had prepared their hearts by empowering them with the Holy Spirit and giving them strength for every situation they faced. Prayer preceded their witness and walk. "And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spoke the word with boldness." Four elements are evident in these early believers:
First, there was a UNITY OF SPIRIT. Rejoicing in what God had done, they were bonded together in a unity of spirit they had never experienced before. Yet before them were experiences that would solidify their bonding even more: persecution, adversity, and trial. These encounters not only bonded them in unity, but also deepened their mutual love of Christ. The Holy Spirit will abound in us, in proportion as we possess the grace of God. Christian character is ingrained into our lives through adversities.
Secondly, there was their GENEROSITY. They separated themselves from their own interests for the collective benefit of the whole assembly. Their concern and giving to one another was so great that their adversaries were compelled to say, "Behold, how these Christians love one another." When Christ reigns in our hearts, there will be an "unselfish and hilarious giving of ourselves" one to another.
Third, there was a POWERFUL WITNESS. These young converts saw the attitude manifested by the disciples after being reprimanded and beaten: They were "rejoicing that they had been counted worthy to suffer for His name." No anger, resentment, bitterness, or retaliation, but rejoicing to be counted worthy. They recognized that the faith and love of these Christians were real. I want my life to be so committed and to embrace such a love of Christ!
Fourth, there was an AWARENESS OF GOD'S GRACE. They had a consciousness of the presence and power of God in their midst, an awareness of His matchless grace, mercy, and love. No wonder they had no problem seeing, hearing, and knowing the "mind of Christ," or experiencing such a display of His power through them.
"Be followers of them, who through faith and patience, inherit the promises" (Hebrews 6:12). The PRINCIPLE from which they acted was governed by a supreme love of Christ. They gave themselves unreservedly to the lordship of Christ. STEADFAST OBEDIENCE to that principle governed their path of duty. They suffered in their witness for Christ, but rejoiced to be counted worthy. Christ was the motive of their actions and the object of their life. The MANNER in which they endured, good for evil, blessing for cursing, grace for anger, prayer for persecution, love for hate, was evident that Christ was SOVEREIGN and the LORD OF THEIR LIVES!
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://www.litmin.org/dare.php=1&row=&date=2018-03-02
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