Read thru New Testament Devotional – June 20, 2017

June 20

 

Acts 4:23-37

Acts 4:23-31-After they were released, Peter and John returned to the other disciples and gave a report of what had happened.  It resulted in their giving God praise...because they recognized His sovereign hand upon them and in what had happened.  Notice that it says “they lifted their voices to God with one accord” (:24; cf. 1:14).  What a wonderful manner in which to pray.  Brothers and sisters in Christ praising God together.

This prayer focuses on the sovereignty of God over all the events that they have witnessed.  Verse 28 says that all of this had taken place, “to do whatever Thy hand and Thy purpose predestined to occur.”  It is because of their confidence in the sovereignty of God over these events, that they had confidence in the sovereignty of God over their lives…as they were His witnesses.

Their praise to God begins by recognizing and establishing the fact of His sovereignty in the context of the creation…they quote Psalm 146:6.  Then, it turns to the words of prophecy spoken by the David (Psalm 2:1-2) concerning the coming Messiah.  They say that these words were authoritative because they came to David from the Holy Spirit.  Again, a display of the sovereignty of God.  Finally, they speak of their own observation of the detail of the fulfillment of that prophecy in Jesus…

Prophecy                              Fulfillment in Jesus

verse 25                                verse 27

Gentiles rage                         the Gentiles

the peoples (Jews)                 the peoples of Israel

verse 26                                verse 27

Kings of the earth…rulers       Herod and Pontius Pilate

They then prayed, based on their faith in the sovereignty of God, for Him to give them confidence to speak His word.  And, that He would verify their testimony through signs and wonders…again, the intervention of His sovereignty over creation.  After they finished praying the room shook, the Holy Spirit filled them all, and they had boldness to speak the word of God.

Acts 4:32-37-The depth of the fellowship of these believers continued to grow.  In verse 24, they were of “one accord”.  Here in verse 32, they are of “one heart and soul”.  The disciples were diligent to care for each other's needs...some of them even selling personal property and giving the money so that the needs of those who were less fortunate might be met.  Barnabas is specifically mentioned for doing this.  Someone has said that Communism teaches: what is yours is mine; but Christianity teaches: what is mine is yours.

Prayer: Father, please give me the spiritual discernment necessary to see Your sovereign hand at work in my life.  Lord, this gives me such confidence...to know that what is happening is not just the result of circumstances, or the behavior of other people.  But that You are always in control of the situation and that nothing happens without Your will.  Give me the boldness and courage that I need to act according to Your will...no matter what the circumstances, and regardless of what the outcome will be.  Please, Lord, help me to be faithful to You.

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