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Acts Devotionals

Report Back

When you do something or experience something and you tell someone about it, you are actually giving that person or those persons a report back. After the healing of the man who had been crippled from birth, which exceeded 40 years:

Ac 4:22 For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old

Peter and John were arrested, placed in prison until the following day after which they appeared before the Sanhedrin, the highest Jewish council, ruling over the religious affairs of the Jews. Due to the crowds’ appreciation of the healing of this cripple, the rulers let them go free without anything more than a command not to minister in the name of Jesus. The apostles told them they would rather obey God than man and were set free.

1) The apostles reported back to the Body of Believers.

Ac 4:23 On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them.

One might think the arrest and hearing resulting in a command, not to speak or do miracles in the name of Jesus took the believers by surprise. Not at all for Jesus had told them that as He was persecuted, so would they be. Reporting back to the Body is always important. Missionaries who take their supporters seriously provide regular report backs. Church bodies have annual meetings where they report back to their people. At one stage we as a Church did this on a quarterly basis. People need to know how ministry is going to prevent speculation, rumors, gossip or sinful thoughts about the ministry team.

2) The apostles’ report back generated prayer and praise.

Ac 4:24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:

“‘Why do the nations rage

and the peoples plot in vain?

26 The kings of the earth take their stand

and the rulers gather together

against the Lord

and against his Anointed One.’

27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

(1) Real prayer is shaped by whom God is and what God has done.

(a) He is the Sovereign Lord. Where “lord” could be used to address a father or superior, here it is used with “Sovereign” and a capital “L” and refers to God as the Almighty Father, the supreme Master, possessing supreme authority.

(b) Following on to this, they refer to God as Creator, not just of the heaven, earth and sea, but of everything in them. Although this was the Old Testament teaching of Creation and they were Jews … the Early Church affirmed God as Creator of everything that exists … everything in “heaven” as to the planets, solar systems, galaxies, etc. as well as everything on or in the earth and sea.

Coupling points (a) & (b) together shows us their faith in an omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, sovereign God who is real, living and active in His Creation. Never forget who created and who owns the creation!

(c) More … they believed this God was a Triune God. Nowhere in the Bible is God referred to as Triune or as Trinity, but it is implied in so many places … one of which is in this passage. God the Father is spoken of as “You” in verse 25 and “Lord” in verse 26. God the Holy Spirit is spoken of in verse 25 as “the Holy Spirit” and God the Son is spoken of as “Anointed One” in verse 26 and “holy servant Jesus” in verse 30. Together these three form the Sovereign Lord of verse 24. Each plays important roles and played important roles in God’s salvific plan.

(2) Their prayer included using the very words of Scripture:

Ps 2:1 Why do the nations conspire

and the peoples plot in vain?

2 The kings of the earth take their stand

and the rulers gather together

against the LORD and against his Anointed One.

What they are doing is seeing prophecy fulfilled because the nations and kings whom David wrote about in his Messianic Psalm refers to its fulfilment in … Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus. There you have the nations and kings (Pilate seen as a ruler king alongside Herod). This prophecy from the mouth (pen) of David is roughly 1000 years before Jesus’ crucifixion. Not the apostles but the believers are acknowledging the fulfilment of this prophecy. Notice a few things here … the nations rage and people plotting … though in vain (v25); the kings taking a stand and the rulers gathering … against the Lord and His Anointed One (v26) and Herod, Pilate, the Gentiles and Jews … conspiring against God’s holy servant Jesus (v27). They are all responsible and will be held accountable for Jesus’ execution.

(3) Although this was prophecy, it was predestined by God

Ac 4:28 “They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.”

God salvific plan was put into place before creation … coming to its fulfilment:

Gal 4:4 when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5 to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.

His plan worked out precisely according to His plan … though those who raged, plotted, stood and gathered … and conspired to get rid of God’s Anointed (Messiah), will be held to account for their wicked deed. We shall return to the prayer tomorrow, but for today let us examine our …

(i) Use of Scripture in prayer and

(ii) Use of praise in prayer.

Should we lack in these areas, may I suggest the use of Psalms as helps in prayer.

(iii) On a serious note, are we stubborn, standing in the way of the Gospel getting to people?

Sovereign Lord, Creator of all things, help us in our praying and praising … and help us never be found standing in the way of the Gospel’s progress and advancement. Grow You Church Lord and use it to adore You as Sovereign. Amen.

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