The Early Church the Foundation of Joy

Laying the Foundation for Joy

1 Peter Chapter 1:1-12

The Apostle Peter (the Rock) was the son of a man named Jonas who was also a fisherman and Peter took up the occupation of “fisherman” on the Sea of Tiberias (Galilee). Peter and his brother Andrew were partners of John and James. Notice how God had placed these men in this place to be used of the Lord.

Although Peter may not have been as rich as James and John, he did have hired servants and his position did bring him in contact with men of education which Peter probably lacked so Peter was not as worldly as some.

Act 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

We should keep in mind Peter and John and the Apostles were called ignorant not because they had no education but only because they had not attended a rabbinical school.

Peter had first made his home in Bethsaida but then he moved to Capernaum to a home somewhat larger than the average homes of that day.

This home may have belonged to Peter’s mother in law.

Peter left all these things behind to follow the Lord Jesus Christ!

Peter would have spoken in a form of Aramaic probably aligned with the Syriac.

If you have a Syriac Bible translated into English, besides the “thous” and the “thees” it is almost identical to the King James Bible.

The Hebrew language was used mainly by those who had been trained in the rabbinical schools.

We will notice that the Lord Jesus Christ had no problems at teaching and understanding any of the language differences.

We can better understand that phrase “cloven tongues” as the Apostles new only one language the slang version of the Syriac, yet when they spoke everyone understood in their own language.

Act 2:3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
Act 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Act 2:5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.

So let’s see Peter after he had received the Holy Spirit:

*****1Pe 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

Who was Peter writing to?

Peter was writing to the Christian Jews and other Christians who were scattered because of persecution!

Act 8:1 And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.

Some of these Christians did find a way to stay in Jerusalem and some of the Apostles elected to stay in Jerusalem for them and they too met with death.

Peter had three names used by the Lord.

Peter was called Simon or Simeon which means he had been circumsized according to the Laws of Moses.

He was called Cephas (a stone) given to him by Jesus Christ, our Lord.

He was called Peter, which is the Greek equivalent of the Syriac name Cephas of which he was also called.

I believe Jesus will give us a new name according to how He thinks of us, just as He did to Peter.

As Christians we are all strangers in this world, because Heaven is our true home!

*****1Pe 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

Who are the elect? These are all the Body of Christ, called the Saints of God. Not as the Roman Catholic do, but all those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior after being called of God and Baptized into the family of the Church.

Father God calls each of these His Jewels!

Mal_3:17 And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day “when I make up my jewels”; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.

How do we know we are the elect?

We have been and are continuously being “sanctified” by the Holy Spirit!

We have been washed in the blood of Jesus!

Election is the source of salvation!

Again election is being called of God,

Saying yes to the truth of Jesus, washed in His blood,

Being filled with the Holy Spirit!

Having a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ!

Being the elect means we are being obedient to the Word of God and connected to God by His GRACE!

God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense

You see if God loves believers this much, to actually choose us out of this world and elect us to be His very own chosen people, then God will look after us and take extreme care for us!

No matter what else is going on in this world God will provide for His elect children!

God has foreknowledge which means no matter how far we can see into our future God has already seen it!

God knows exactly what all men will do and when they will do it, but God knows the past, the present and the future, all at the same time!

God sent the Lord Jesus Christ to die for our sins!

Act 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
Act 2:24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

God knew the response of the people to the Messiah then and He knows the response of the people to the second coming of the Messiah and most of all God knows those who love Him!

This is the very reason that we can read the Word of God and know it is true!

The foreknowledge of God is a wonderful truth of God that we can depend upon as believers!

The Book of Revelation is all about reveling our future and the future of the Jewish people!

Why did God allow all the things to happen in the past if God knew all these things?

God wants a people, “of their own free will”, to choose to live with Him throughout eternity!

You see, God is willing to go through the pains of rejection in order that some, a small remnant will choose to live with Him forever!

God knows that love, His love, is His greatest trait and most of the world would never understand His love!

Rom 9:22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
Rom 9:23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,
Rom 9:24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

Though all we see now is hate in our world, this does not negate the fact that love is the greatest force that exist upon this earth, of course besides our prayers.

Nothing teaches us love better than the words given by the Holy Spirit to the Apostle John.

1Jn 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
1Jn 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
1Jn 4:9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
1Jn 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

God is determined to see these things through till completion!

We may not understand everything in the plan of God, but we do not know the things God knows.

God just ask us to trust Him and this trust is called “Faith”!

We must understand that all things do work according to the purpose of God!

Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

We must also know that God has great plans for those who have chosen to spend eternity with His Son!

1Co 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
Again we see that word “love”.

Remember what is God’s purpose?

God is seeking all those who freely choose the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and choose to live with Him throughout eternity!

Once we have chosen to do this thing, God begins the sanctification process by sending the Holy Spirit to live within us therefore sealing us as His children.

2Co 1:22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

Eph 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

Eph 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

God would not have repeated Himself these 3 times if this was not His intention and His truth!

The most important thing we can do is to respond to the Holy Spirit when He begins His work within us!

It is by the Holy Spirit that we are set apart for salvation!
It is by the Holy Spirit we are trained to live a life in Heaven that is totally different than this life we have on earth.

In the end when we are completely sanctified, we will be “glorified”, ready to be obedient to the Lord throughout all eternity!

You see God wants the very best for us!

2Co 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

You see this is the way “grace” is multiplied toward God children!

It is those chosen of God who are washed with the blood of Jesus, filled and sealed with the Holy Spirit and sanctified who are the very ones who bless God!

*****1Pe 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
1Pe 1:4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
1Pe 1:5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

There is no way to improve on what the Holy Spirit is teaching us in this passage and Peter knew it when He penned it!

We must only believe!

God does not just give us hope, but He gives us a living hope, which means it is not a dead, lifeless hope, that is in this world and those who trust the world.
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The hope that we had when we were in the world!

Our hope is in the promise of God which says we will live with Him forever once He calls us home!

The source of that hope is in God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!

We should say Lord because He is our Lord!

Jesus Christ is our Lord!
He is Jesus the Carpenter of Nazareth!
He is Christ the Messiah of God was the promised Deliverer!

When we follow the Lord Jesus Christ, God becomes our Father as He is the Father of Jesus. Two parts of the Holy Triunity, adding to the Holy Spirit which makes the three parts, the three persons!

How are we blessed of God?

We are the blessed of God’s entire creation!
We are blessed in His Son Jesus!
We are blessed by the Angels!
We are blessed by God’s called ministers!
We are blessed by the “Gospel” of the Lord Jesus Christ!
We are blessed by the Word of God!
We are blessed in His promises!
We are blessed in His salvation.
We are in blessed in being adopted into His family!
We are blessed in being at peace while we remain in this world!

All these things are the most wonderful things we can know while we are alive!

Eternal life exists nowhere else certainly not on this world!

Eternal life can only come by and through the Lord Jesus Christ!

Jesus Christ is perfect, and it is by Jesus Christ we can have the perfect victory!

We have been begotten which means God has made us to be “new creatures”.

All we see in this world is destruction and death.

We are born as babes in an evil and wicked land, we live in a cruel world in a life that soon seems too short and then we die!

By the Lord Jesus Christ we are “born again” into a new life that will not be on this earth but in the Glory Land!

This great blessing of God came by the death of the Lord Jesus Christ!

This great blessing came by the “resurrection” of Christ Jesus showing that He is even Lord over death!

Just so we can get a glimpse of our blessings, verse 4, we are born again to an inheritance, a shared inheritance with the Lord Jesus Christ!

What is so good about our inheritance? It is incorruptible, it is undefiled, and it will be there when we get to Heaven.

It cannot perish! Things on earth come as new and fade with oldness but not our inheritance!

Who makes sure these things are ready when we get to Heaven?

Joh 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
Joh 14:2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
Joh 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
Joh 14:4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.

We know that the Lord has to power to do all these things!

2Co 5:5 Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.
2Co 5:6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:

We know that whatever comes against us and whatever lies the Devil tells our Father, Jesus is right there to intercede on our behalf!

Joh 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
Joh 10:29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
Joh 10:30 I and my Father are one.

God hides us from trouble that we do not even know about:

Psa 27:5 For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.

This is the kind of power that gives us the hope of the truth of our salvation!

It is in all these things that we can rejoice in the truth of God!

*****1Pe 1:6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:

We know that life is full of trials and temptations! Anyone but a child can look around and see that this true.

To go along with these things there are the sins of omission and sins of commission as we are all sinners.

Life can be harsh many times, and this is just as true for believers and unbelievers. The believer can add to these things the hatred for Jesus Christ that is many times taken out on His believers!

We must understand that this world we live in operates opposite of God! The world will hate those who choose to believe what God has to say!

Peter is writing to all believers.

These believers in the day of Peter had to flee from their homes because of their love for Jesus Christ.

Jesus said these trials and temptations would only last for a season.

Because all these things are true, then we can rejoice because this is just another way that we know the Word of God is true!

Php 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
Php 4:5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
Php 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Php 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

The darkness of our world is a fact and we should not deny it!

The two things that hold us together should be our love for our Savior and “faith” in the things He has done to bring to us His gift of salvation.

*****1Pe 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

The fact is, God will allow certain trials to test our “faith”!

God knows what He is going to do all the time, but He will test us so that we can know if we are for real.

When we know we are real, we can do the work God has ask us to do, without regret.

We must come to ourselves knowing that we are for real and then dedicate ourselves to the Lord!

It is these trials and temptations that will draw us closer to the Lord!

While we are “Born Again” we share our new man with our old life, and we can have rejoicing in the new man and heaviness of temptation in our old man!

Isa 48:10 Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.

Another thing we must understand is, as long as God is chastening us, it shows His great love for us!

2Co 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
2Co 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Heaven and the things of Heaven are eternal!

*****1Pe 1:8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
1Pe 1:9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

Today my heart and my faith are my eyes. If is cannot lord the Lord without seeing Him, how can I say I have “faith”?

It is because I can see my Lord in my heart, that I can defeat my trials and temptations!

I also know that if I go against my God in any way, I am committing treason!

If we die without God, we will be exiled and cut off from God forever.

Go back and read about God’s creations, because none of these things will be in Hell, except the unbeliever!

God created Hell for the unholy trio and the fallen angels, only the unbelievers will join them there of their own choice!

Each of them will have gotten an opportunity to come to the Lord but rejected His offer!

We all have the strength to conquer our trials and temptations, but many Christians walk around defeated. A defeated Christian is of no value to the work of God!

It is the “Love of Jesus Christ” that gives us strength to claim victory over all obstacles upon this earth!

When we fail because of disobedience we are rebelling against our Lord!

If we love Christ enough, we will take a stand with Him!
If our faith is real, we will stand with Him!
If we have that unspeakable joy of our salvation, we will stand with the Lord!

Joh 15:9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
Joh 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
Joh 15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
Joh 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
Joh 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Joh 15:14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

Resting at the end of our faith is our salvation!

*****1Pe 1:10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:

Even today, the practicing Jews and the true Muslim are looking for a Messiah, but both are looking for some man to claim to be the Messiah.

Jesus Christ was and is, God in the flesh and He is coming again in strength and power.

They do not understand a personal relationship with God.

To the Jews, they will see the truth at that time!

To the Muslim, they will be disappointed because they serve a false god who has no power to do anything!

Salvation is having a close personal relationship with Jehovah God, peace restored like the first days of Adam, when God walked with him before sin entered into this world.

Lucifer had already sinned in Heaven, and he by temptation, caused Eve to sin who was the cause of Adam’s sin!

The prophets of God could not see that personal relationship that God wants with us all.

The plan of God is so marvelous, that it hides in plain sight for all those who reject it’s truth!

Tit 3:4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
Tit 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Tit 3:6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
Tit 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

The prophets searched each other’s writings to see what they could find about “Grace” and “Salvation”.

*****1Pe 1:11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.

We already know that the Spirit God would guide these prophets in any manner He chose to reveal the truth of God.

The prophets revealed that the Messiah would come into the world to die.

The Messiah would take the guilt of the sin of man and bear the judgment of all men’s sin!

Isa 53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
Isa 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
Isa 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

The Jews had missed this Prophecy.

Then the Messiah would be raised from the dead and be exalted to the throne of God.

Isa 25:8 He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.
Isa 25:9 And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.

These are not the only Scriptures, there are others, but we can see that Peter now knew the truth, and all the Jews should have known this truth, but the Priests, the Levites, rejected these truths.

*****1Pe 1:12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

God has caused “Salvation” to be destined to all future believers in the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the truth of the Scriptures!

Upon a profession of faith in the work of the Lord Jesus, The Messiah, the Holy Spirit would immediately take up residence in each believer and this one thing the angels cannot understand.

Angels as powerful as they are will never know Holy Ghost conviction and neither will they ever have the “fruit of the Spirit”!

As Christians we are no longer in bondage to this world

Gal 4:3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:
Gal 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
Gal 4:5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
Gal 4:6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
Gal 4:7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

Salvation has come to each and every believer, no matter who they are or where they come from!

It costs us so little, but the rewards are so great, that it takes a fool to reject the truth of God.

It takes a fool to reject the Lord Jesus Christ!

Amen

Let’s Pray!

The Praying Of The Persecuted Church

The Praying Of The Persecuted Church

Book of Acts 4:15-37

What does the word “Prayer” mean?

If we reduce prayer to it’s most fundamental element then prayer is “talking to God” on a personal level!

Prayer is all forms of communication with the God of Heaven!

There are basically five categories of prayer:

Praise, petition, supplication, imprecation and intercession.

Today, for the most part, we will see the power of a “petition” in prayer and prayer that offers “praise”.

Every prayer should begin with “praising” Our Father in Heaven!

“Praise” is honoring and glorifying Our Creator and Our Maker!

A “petition” prayer is a formal request of Our Father in Heaven and it cannot be made in a general, or vague or a careless manner!

This prayer is begging God to do what only He can do!

Jas 5:16  Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. “The effectual fervent prayer “of a righteous man” availeth much”.

The first need for “answered” prayer is for God’s people to be doing what is right.

The Bible is very specific here:

Psa 66:18  If I regard iniquity in my heart, “the Lord will not hear me”:

Unconfessed sin still stop a prayer before it can begin!

Let’s begin:

*****Act 4:15  But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves,
Act 4:16  Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it.

We can see that these that sat in council that day were not moved by the preaching of Peter. They were only in a dilemma!

They could not deny the miracle of the healing of that once lame man because, that once crippled and once lame man was standing before them with these Apostles.

They could not explain how simple fishermen from Galilee could perform such a miracle whose only fame was that they had been with Jesus of Nazareth.

It is important for us to keep these things in context:

This miracle was not proof of the “Resurrection” of Jesus!

This miracle was not proof that Peter’s message was even true!

Even Satan can perform miracles:

2Th 2:9  Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
2Th 2:10  And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

And false prophets can also perform wonders:

Deu 13:1  If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,
Deu 13:2  And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;

The truth of Peter’s message is that  The Lord Jesus Christ is “ALIVE”!

That Jesus was working in “His Church” through the “Power” of the Holy Spirit!

Peter preached from the Old Testament to show the truth of the “New Testament Gospel” to these that were Jews.

BUT, Miracles Are Not A Substitute For The Word Of God!

This council of the Sanhedrin court were not seeking the truth, They Were Seeking A Way To Avoid The Truth!

Sounds a whole lot like our courts of today!

They had no interest in the truth of the evidence “that was in their presence” this day!

It had been some of these same men that had tried to trap Jesus in His words!

We can see the proof that “a miracle”, in itself, “cannot bring conviction” to the lost!

It is only by the “Power” of the Holy Spirit that conviction can come to those that are lost!

The problem was not of their mind, the problem was in their heart!

The Bible says:

Jer 17:9  The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

*****Act 4:17  But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name.
Act 4:18  And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.

They now came to the conclusion that like all false doctrine that had come before this, that this was a new fad and would die a natural death in a short period of time.

They Were Very Wrong!

This religious group forbade the preaching of the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

AND, The entire religious world is trying to do this same thing today!

Satan has been trying to silence God’s people ever since the time of Adam and Eve!

Sadly even today many of us have become “silent” Christians and even our own governments are being caught up  and swayed by these things of false religion!

We know that this is a sign of the end-times because in the Book of Revelation we find a Religious Babylon and also Secular Babylon.

Rev 14:8  And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon “is fallen”, “is fallen”, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.

1.) We have the apostate Church, the “Harlot”.

2.) We have the spiritual Sodom, “The Unholy Worldly Alliance”.

This council did not want the Gospel Message to spread!

BUT, Satan’s attempts to silence the Church only leads to a stronger witness of the Lord!

When the world is trying to silence the truth of the Gospel, this only lends to the truth of God’s Word!

*****Act 4:19  But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.

Who or what should we obey?

Peter said judge this your self!

After all these men did claim Our Creator as their own God. These men had placed themselves above the Word of God and had even made their own laws and added them to the Word of God.

When “we are sure” that we have a “clear” understanding of the teaching of God’s Word then we “may” one day have to defy our own governments BUT we are “always” suppose to deny the teaching of every false religion!

God has given us the Great Commandment:

Act 1:8  But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

This commandment must not cannot be denied!

We can see this throughout the Bible:

Exo 1:17  But the midwives feared God, and “did not as the king of Egypt commanded them”, but saved the men children alive.

It is always wrong to murder anyone and that includes babies!

On the average 3700 babies are aborted in America every day.

Heb 11:23  By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; “and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment”.

Moses’s parents also knew this truth!

Dan 1:8  But Daniel purposed in his heart “that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank”: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

It is always wrong to eat food that has been offered to Idols!

Dan 3:17  If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
Dan 3:18  But if not, be it known unto thee, “O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up”.

In other words O king, “do what you have got to do, we are not going to give in to you”!

There are many biblical principles that we must adhere to rather than what our governments write into some laws!

Peter, John and every other believer are under the orders of God to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ until the end of our lives or the Rapture of the Church or whichever comes first!

We must remain in good conscience toward God no matter the suffering!

1Pe 2:19  For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.

*****Act 4:20  For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.

The Bible teaches us:

Heb 2:3  [How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation]; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;

Jesus teaches us all, that a righteous protest against injustice will always bring sacrifice and suffering but we cannot and should not, conduct a “holy war” just because of our frustrations!

*****Act 4:23  And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them.

Peter and John when they were released did not go somewhere and hide. They went back to where the Body of Christ was located. They immediately assembled together and reported their good news.

*****Act 4:24  And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:
Act 4:25  Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?

The greatest concentration of “power” in Jerusalem that day was in this “prayer meeting” with the New Church.

Peter and John had come in from their first battle with Satan and the Body of Christ was meeting to over come that enemy of the Church and all our battles need to always begin with prayer!

These first Christians firmly believed in a personal “omnipotent” Creator, who had now become man in the person of Jesus Christ.

It is Jesus Christ who has been rejected by the religious leaders and by the government of Israel and by the World!

There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that God our Creator had made all things according to His written word!

And there was no doubt that this same Creator had come down from “His place in Heaven” and taken on the “body of a human” just for the purpose of saving His creation!

The early Church was glad to suffer persecution for His name’s sake!

BUT, it seems most Christians today are silent and tend to hide from persecution.

The early Church gave praise for the opportunity to preach the Gospel “at all costs”!

Today, it seems that many of the Church question our Creator and His “written record” of our creation in the Book of Genesis.

We cannot be saved unless we believe “with all our heart” that Christ Jesus is also Our Creator!

This reference to the “heathen” which means the “Gentiles” was meant to apply to Herod, and Pilate and the other Gentiles who persecuted Christ Jesus.

The term “Heathen” denotes the “nations” that are not of the Jews, and “rage” denotes an assembly such as an unruly “mob”.

This reference to the “people” refers to the Jewish mob, the Jewish religious leaders and the Jewish government who were also guilty of the same crime.

This a picture of the many nations that plan to unite in rebellion against God that we see today as we get nearer the end of the Church Age!

The Apostle Paul best describes the phrase “vain things”.

Rom 1:21  Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; [but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened].

All these Jews had said that they knew God but they did nor know Him at all because they did not believe His Word.

This Is The First Act Of Knowing Him!

Paul also added:

Rom 1:22  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

Our own worldly wisdom will always make us foolish when compared to the Word of God!

The Bible adds:

Heb 10:31  It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Though the world we live in has lost it’s fear of God all that does is make them all truly “foolish”!

*****Act 4:26  The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.

Today as we live in America there is a thing called the United Nations who are counseling together to seek a humanistic world government and departing from the Word of God.

We can see the outcome of these things in the Book of Revelation:

Rev 16:14  For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, [to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty].

For the Apostle Peter to make reference to [Psalm 2] indicates that he knew that the secular world would not accept the Church of the Living God!

The early Church felt the urgency to pray about these things yet the Church in our day does not have that same urgency and is not as strong as it could be!

Most of us Christians are just too comfortable in our walk with God. Shame, Shame, Shame on us all!

*****Act 4:27  For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,
Act 4:28  For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.

Though the world gathers against the Body of Christ, the fact remains that it is God who is in control!

That phrase “determined before” is the same in the Greek as “predestined”!

God has told us that these things will happen.

AND, There is nothing that we humans can do to catch God off guard!

We have the complete Word of God and praise the Lord we are on “The Winning Side”!

AND, We should have a clear understanding the more we are active servants of the Lord, the more spiteful will be the agents of Satan!

The Bible teaches us:

Pro 19:21  There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

*****Act 4:29  And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: [and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word],
Act 4:30  By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done “by the name of thy holy child Jesus”.

This the prayer that was  made.

They did not pray for the persecution to cease.

They prayed for the power to speak the Word of God with even more boldness!

They did not pray for an easy Christian life.

They prayed for the courage to endure all persecution!

These are some of the things that we need to do today in order to get back the strength that the early Church had!

The early church clearly understood that God had a plan for all His believing children!

And they all were in one accord and knew “the work of the Church” is to glorify The Lord Jesus Christ.

For without Him we are “nothing”!

*****Act 4:31  And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

Now we can see a second time the early church was filled with the Holy Ghost.

The filling of the Holy Spirit is not a once in a lifetime event!

The filling of the Holy Spirit must be often, even daily and comes through “earnest prayer”!

We can see that there was no “languages” or “tongues” involved with this filling but only the “Power To Speak Boldly”!

AND,  also for a joyful and godly Christian life.

What is the will of God?

Eph 5:17  Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding “what the will of the Lord is”.
Eph 5:18  And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
Eph 5:19  Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and “spiritual songs”, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
Eph 5:20  Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Eph 5:21  Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

The filling of the Holy Spirit is necessary for our maturity in the Word of God!

We cannot walk the Christian walk without the Holy Spirit!

The filling of the Holy Spirit is essential for every child of God to be that useful and that available servant to the Lord!

The Bible “does not” command the believer to be indwelt or sealed with the Holy Spirit because this is the “gift” of God!

The Bible “does” command each believer “to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit” in order to to be of use to Our Lord!

In order for this to take place then we must not “grieve” the Holy Spirit!

Eph 4:30  And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

When we “grieve the Holy Spirit we can also quench the Holy Spirit!

1Th 5:19  Quench not the Spirit.

We can quench the Holy Spirit when we despise the  preaching of God’s Word!

How do we grieve the Holy Spirit?

Eph 4:31  Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

How do we not grieve the Holy Spirit?

Eph 4:32  And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

*****Act 4:32  And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.

According to the Bible the “Heart” is the center of spiritual activity and controls all the actions of the human life.

The “heart” is the seat of our “conscience”!

The “soul”  can be said to be that life breath that is given by God!  It is the “soul” that retains the knowledge of God in every individual and it is the “soul” that is saved by the acceptance of Jesus Christ as Our Savior!

That word “common” simply means “ordinary”. Some believers were “well to do” but most “became poor” because of the circumstances caused by the unbelieving Jews.

The early Church considered their personal possessions  as just “common goods” which could easily be given up.

This was not an early example of socialism!

This was not an early example of communism!

These things were “entirely voluntary”!

These things were not planned!

Nor were these things enforced nor caused by the Church!

They only gave their possessions “as were needed” and were “very” willing to do this.

We of the Church should always be willing to share “as the needs” of our Brothers and Sisters arise!

BUT, this does not mean we are to turn over all our possessions to the Church leaders.

God does not command more than the “Tithe” and all other things are “free will” offerings.

It is that “free will” offering that gains God’s Blessings, not the “Tithe”!

To neglect the “Tithe” is to ROB GOD!

*****Act 4:33  And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.

Even the Apostles needed to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit but they had one thing we do not have today.

They had that personal, eyewitness, knowledge and irrefutable evidence that Jesus Christ had certainly raised from the dead!

This is the crowning proof of Christianity!

Only God Himself can defeat death!

Jesus had demonstrated that He was and is God when He walked out of the grave!

It is this knowledge that gave boldness to Peter, And Paul, And John and all the Apostles!

It is this same knowledge that gives every believer the right into God’s Heaven!

Jesus said to doubting Thomas:

Joh 20:27  Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
Joh 20:28  And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
Joh 20:29  Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: [blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed].

Questions?

Let’s Pray!