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Acts Devotionals

Authentication

I am certain all who read this Daily Note have been witnesses to weird and wonderful advertising from groups identifying themselves as Christian. Although I have mentioned it before, there are Churches with signs and banners declaring things like “The Home of Signs and Wonders”, “Come for the Supernatural” and “Beyond the Word”. Each of these and many others throughout the world want people to come for the spectacular … yet often the spectacular is generated by human and perhaps even evil sources. Christians are people of faith and God says in His Word:

Heb 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

In other words, “faith” is a spiritual gift that the Holy Spirit gives, not to grasp, desire or want the supernatural in signs, wonders and miracles … but to grasp and desire the supernatural from the Holy Spirit bringing spiritual life to the dead soul! It is fundamental that we understand this! As an example, the word “heal” is used by Matthew and Luke, a few times in Acts and twice in Revelation. We need to ask “why” this is so. It is so because all the healings, sign and wonders were to authenticate the Work of the Lord Jesus … and after His Ascension, to authenticate the Gospel message of the apostles. After Acts we don’t find this in the New Testament from Romans to Jude … why … because of:

Heb 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see

Our reading follows:

Ac 4:29 “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.” 31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

1) The Early Christian Body wanted God to work supernaturally to stop the wicked persecution that had started against the Church by the Jews … especially their leaders.

(1) They call upon God to weigh up the persecution coming from the Sanhedrin against the Gospel. The Jewish rulers were prepared to go to any lengths to silence the Gospel and the servants of the Gospel. This was the prayer … that God would appreciate the dangerous situation they found themselves in. Naturally God is aware of all things, especially the activities of His Gospel servants, but this was them telling God of their need. There is nothing wrong with us explaining our danger to God when we are about His business.

(2) They call upon God to empower them with unreserved, fearless bravery in proclaiming the Gospel. What is so exciting is that they did not throw in the towel. They did not want to cease taking the Gospel to every person, starting in Jerusalem. But they wanted fresh power … fresh anointing by the Spirit. This ought to be the prayer of all God’s people, especially those commissioned to preach, teach and evangelize. If such empowerment is not sought, it is a sign that the Christian Worker is relying on his or her own strength, ability, giftedness and courage. This is where so many have fallen short. All God’s work requires fresh empowerment on a daily basis to prevent arrogance and operating in the flesh! Many good men and women have fallen because of lack of personal prayer and prayer support. Christian workers serve God in the power and strength of God provided by the Holy Spirit. Without this they flounder and cause damage to the Gospel.

(3) They call upon God to do the supernatural to confound the Jewish leaders and convince people of the truth of the Gospel. These supernatural activities were to be in Jesus’ name to authenticate His Gospel. Although God is kind, gracious and merciful … the healings, miraculous signs and wonders’ purpose was not intended to be an ongoing ministry but an authenticating ministry until the complete Bible was available. Note that they asked God to “stretch” out His hand … after considering the threats of the Sanhedrin … enabling the apostles to speak the Gospel with great boldness … fearless preaching … see verses 29 and 30 in context.

Ac 4:29 “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.” 

Remember God can do any miracle at any time of His choosing … should He choose to do so … but His main focus and intention with Jesus’ Gospel message is to save souls. There is no greater miracle than that! There is no supernatural activity superior to that! There is no sign nor wonder better than that. Instead of Church’s preying on people for their wealth (money, jewelry, vehicles, possessions and property), they should preach the Gospel to get people saved. Too many have the wrong intent. Although:

1Ti 5:17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching

this must never be the aim. The aim must be the Gospel proclaimed in the power of the Spirit to see hearers convicted, convinced and caught in the Gospel Net for eternity. O my friend, we must prayer faithfully for the pulpit and the evangelist that they will keep the main thing the main thing and not resort to devilish tactics by using the Church and the Gospel for self-enrichment through introducing what the Spirit withdrew before the end of the First Century.

2) After their praying and praising, there was an acknowledgement from God that He appreciated their commitment and faith in Him and His Gospel.

Ac 4:31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

Did you notice that? Their prayers led to the place being shaken … a Divine act of God approving their request followed by being filled with the Spirit’s empowerment to preach … not heal or do miracles … because the main Gospel ministry is the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus!

Glorious God and Father, thank You for authenticating the Gospel through physical miracles in those days and today, through souls healed spiritually for all eternity in heaven with You. Amen.

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