At times it’s tempting to read stories of tremendous faith being exhibited by our early brothers and sisters and think, “they must have possessed faith I could never possess!” We also might think that because Jesus walked among them that they had a leg up on us. Both of these theories, according to scripture, are in error. Jesus reminded his disciples that it was to their advantage that he go away. As a matter of fact he reminded them that the Holy Spirit couldn’t come unless he departed. We must be reminded that the same Spirit that empowered them to remain faithful is the very same Spirit who lives in us. In the 4th chapter of Acts, there’s a nugget of truth tucked away in v. 21. Whenever we find ourselves discouraged, disenchanted or disheartened we MUST lift our voice and praise the Lord. The key to combatting discouragement is only found in praise! After the people saw the boldness of the early Christians, they realized they had been with Jesus. V. 14 tells us that they had nothing to say against that truth. They decided to severely threaten them so that they would no longer speak the name of Jesus freely. In v. 19 the disciples reminded them that they would listen to God instead of the people. The result? They kept on speaking, kept on proclaiming Christ and kept on receiving persecution. But, I want you to notice something else that happened…THEY WERE UNITED IN PURPOSE. V. 33 says they had “great power” and “great grace”. V.34 says they took care of each other which led to other Christians being spurred on to action (37). I don’t seek persecution for the church, but I do seek purpose, unity and boldness. How is that accomplished? By #1 making a determination to listen to God instead of men. #2: by continually speaking the name of Jesus Christ to those around us, and #3: by glorifying and praising God even if ours in an unpopular message.
Have a blessed day and remember the One who gave it to you! Kevin
Kevin Lough is the minister at the Whitehall Church of Christ in Fairmont WV.