Saturday, March 12, 2022

2022.03.12 Hopewell @Home ▫ Acts 4:1–22

Read Acts 4:1–22

Questions from the Scripture text: What were Peter and John doing (Acts 4:1)? What three groups come upon them? By what two things are they disturbed (Acts 4:2)? What two things did they do to them (Acts 4:3)? Why not have a trial now? But what had been the result of the day (Acts 4:4)? On what day does v5 take place? What seven parties/people gather (Acts 4:5-6)? Where? Where do they put Peter and John (Acts 4:7)? What do they ask? What happens to Peter in Acts 4:8? Whom does he address? What does he point out about the deed (Acts 4:9)? By what Name does he say it was done (Acts 4:10)? What had they done to Jesus? What had God done to Him? What has Jesus now done to this man? As what does Peter identify Jesus in Acts 4:11? As what does he identify the rulers? What exclusivity does Acts 4:12 ascribe to Jesus? What did the council see in Acts 4:13? What did they perceive? How did they respond to these facts? What did they realize? What did they see in Acts 4:14? What couldn’t they do? What did they do command and do in Acts 4:15? What did they ask (Acts 4:16)? What did they see as making a problem for them? What did they want to stop (Acts 4:17)? How did they think they could do this (verse 17)? What did they command in Acts 4:18? What two things did Peter and John weigh against each other in Acts 4:19? What did they feel compelled to do (Acts 4:20)? How does the council respond to this (Acts 4:21)? What couldn’t they actually do? How had God accomplished this? Why were the multitudes so impressed (Acts 4:22)? 

This passage relates the losing battle of the rulers of Israel to stop the preaching of Jesus and His resurrection.

They jail the apostles in Acts 4:3, but the number of men has now come to five thousand. This doesn’t include women and children, which means that the church has at least tripled since the day of Pentecost. Even their zeal for wickedness is outdone by the church’s zeal for good. The Jews didn’t have time for a trial, but the church had time for a new bevy of baptisms!

The trial itself is a great big softball (Acts 4:7). It seems like they think there must be some “other” answer to the question than the one that they inevitably get. The result is that Peter (for some reason, the Spirit chooses Peter to be the one who answers, Acts 4:8) puts them on notice that the harder they try, the worse they lose. In fact, when they crucified Jesus Christ of Nazareth, God raise Him from the dead (Acts 4:10).

Then, they come up with the only thing they think they can do to stem the tide of this preaching in Jesus’s Name: threatening (Acts 4:17-18). This is met not with less boldness but more (Acts 4:13Acts 4:19-20). So what do they do? Attempt more of the very threatening that has just now failed (Acts 4:21a). In fact, the great theme of the event seems to be how powerless against the gospel are the powerful people in Israel (Acts 4:14-16Acts 4:21-22).

The Scriptures had prophesied it. Jesus had promised it. The gospel would go unstoppably to the ends of the earth. Jesus’s power cannot be defeated.  If you fight Jesus, You will lose your fight with Him. Many have resisted believing in Christ. Lose that battle now, and believe, and live! Supposing you resist believing in Christ for the rest of this life. You will still lose. But lose the battle later, and you will suffer His wrath forever.

The apostles see this competition clearly. They feel themselves under obligation to tell the good things that they have seen and heard from the Lord (Acts 4:20). And, what is right in the sight of God is to listen to God over-against any and every man (Acts 4:19). We too must confess Him, whatever the cost to us, being eager to tell all the good that we have seen and heard the Lord do—particularly in His Word.

Whom do you know who is/are resisting the Lord Jesus and His gospel? In what ways? What are ways that this can end? 

Sample prayer:  Lord, we praise You for overcoming our own unbelief, and for the almighty progress of Your gospel across the world and through the ages. Forgive us for when we have been afraid of other creatures’ power, or have even tried to resist You ourselves. Grant unto us to do always what is right in Your eyes, and not to fear man at all. For, we ask it through Your own Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP98 “O Sing a New Song to the LORD” or TPH397 “O Sing a New Song to the LORD”

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