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Read Introduction to Acts

 

29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

 

4:29

Now, Lord, look on [consider] their [the Sanhedrin’s] threats,

The church asked the Lord to look at the situation the apostles faced. Since God is sovereign, they asked Him to exercise His providential control over their circumstances.

and grant to Your servants [slaves] that with all boldness they may speak Your word,

This part of the church’s prayer was for God to give Peter and John the courage to continue to preach in Jesus’ name. “Boldness” comes from God, not self, in answer to prayer.

4:30

by stretching out Your hand to heal,

The church asked God to give the apostles power to perform signs and wonders. The word “hand” is figurative of speech for capacity or ability. The church asked for God’s power to be upon them as they shared the gospel.

and that signs and wonders

A “sign” is a miracle that points to something specific, an act of God. A “sign” miracle is God making a point to show the authenticity of what is happening. A “wonder” is something special to behold. The purpose of signs and wonders was to authenticate the gospel.

may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”

“Signs and wonders” confirmed the gospel of Christ. Signs and wonders were most customarily associated with apostles, not general gospel communicators.

4:31

And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken;

Three results arise out of the church’s prayer meeting:

-a manifestation of God’s presence by the shaking of the building,

-people filled with the Spirit,

-messengers speaking the word of God with boldness.

After the church prayed, the ground shook, a physical sign of God’s response. The shaking of the building was an answer to prayer; it manifested God’s presence in the church.

and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit,

The Holy Spirit supernaturally filled the believers present in the meeting. This event was a renewed conviction of the Spirit’s work among them. It was a fresh filling of the Spirit, an experience of His power in the church. There was no baptism of the Spirit here, nor did they speak in foreign languages.

Courage is the result of filling by the Holy Spirit. The filling of the Spirit here is a special anointing from God for the proclamation of the gospel. They needed this because of the threat from the Sanhedrin.

and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

After being filled with the Spirit, the church itself spoke the Word of God with boldness. Speaking God’s Word here is not foreign languages but the setting forth of what God has to say in the Bible.

Interestingly, the only two requests in the church’s prayer were for God to work in evangelism, not for their personal needs. The requests were for the very thing the Sanhedrin made illegal.

There are seven occurrences of the filling of the Spirit in Acts, each with a different purpose:

-for preaching (Acts 2:4; 4:8; 4:29),

-to serve (Acts 6:3),

-for witnessing (Acts 11:24),

-to challenge (Acts 13:9),

-to glorify God (Acts 7:55).

PRINCIPLE:

God gives His church courage when asked.

APPLICATION:

The miracles of the Bible were always in the service of the Word of God. “Signs” point to God’s power and authority. Both miracles and signs established the Word and the message of the 1st-century church. The church’s petition gave their leaders boldness and confidence to preach the gospel and teach the Word. They did not ask for protection for themselves but for the courage to proclaim the truth.

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