Faithlife
Faithlife

Responding To Opposition

Notes & Transcripts | Handout

Introduction

We have previously discussed how opposition helps us to grow stronger. We examined how it sharpens us and removes hindrances from our lives enabling us to serve the Lord more effectively. Today we want to talk about how we respond to opposition. “While she was enjoying a transatlantic ocean trip, Billie Burke, the famous actress, noticed that a gentleman at the next table was suffering from a bad cold. ‘Are you uncomfortable?’ she asked sympathetically. The man nodded. ‘I'll tell you just what to do for it,’ she offered. ‘Go back to your stateroom and drink lots of orange juice. Take two aspirins. Cover yourself with all the blankets you can find. Sweat the cold out. I know just what I'm talking about. I'm Billie Burke from Hollywood.’ The man smiled warmly and introduced himself in return. ‘Thanks,’ he said, ‘I'm Dr. Mayo from the Mayo clinic.’” Bits & Pieces, March 3, 1994, p. 24. http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/e/expert.htm. There are times when we think we know what to do in a situation, but in reality, we should just let the experts handle it. What we are going to learn in this passage is that our response to opposition should be to let the expert handle it. As the sovereign ruler over all, God is the expert. Our method of handling opposition is to give it to Him, and continue serving faithfully.
Acts 4:23–31 NKJV
And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: ‘Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the Lord and against His Christ.’ “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” 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.
Acts 4:23–31 NKJV
And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: ‘Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the Lord and against His Christ.’ “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” 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.
Bits & Pieces, March 3, 1994, p. 24.
We have previously discussed how opposition helps us to grow stronger. We examined how it sharpens us and removes hindrances from our lives enabling us to serve the Lord more effectively. Today we want to talk about how we respond to opposition. “While she was enjoying a transatlantic ocean trip, Billie Burke, the famous actress, noticed that a gentleman at the next table was suffering from a bad cold. ‘Are you uncomfortable?’ she asked sympathetically. The man nodded. ‘I'll tell you just what to do for it,’ she offered. ‘Go back to your stateroom and drink lots of orange juice. Take two aspirins. Cover yourself with all the blankets you can find. Sweat the cold out. I know just what I'm talking about. I'm Billie Burke from Hollywood.’ The man smiled warmly and introduced himself in return. ‘Thanks,’ he said, ‘I'm Dr. Mayo from the Mayo clinic.’” Bits & Pieces, March 3, 1994, p. 24. http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/e/expert.htm. There are times when we think we know what to do in a situation, but in reality, we should just let the experts handle it. What we are going to learn in this passage is that our response to opposition should be to let the expert handle it. As the sovereign ruler over all, God is the expert. Our method of handling opposition is to give it to Him, and continue serving faithfully.
There are a lot of important terms in this passage. So be ready to see a lot of Greek words up on the screen. My goal in mentioning the original languages so much is not to show off how smart I am. I can guarantee that I probably mispronounce half the words. My Greek is rusty after being out of Bible school for 9 years now. I put the Greek words on here to challenge each of us to consider the original languages and to hopefully familiarize us a little bit with various Greek terms that are important. If you find them interesting, great! If not, I am hoping to make them gain in interest for you.
These verses record the disciple’s three-fold response to opposition.
These verses record a three-fold response to opposition.
The response of the disciples should be ours as well.
The response of the disciples should be ours as well.
Learning how to respond to opposition enables us to serve more effectively.
There is only one small line in one verse of this prayer that deals with the persecution they are facing! V. 29 “Now, Lord, look on their threats”. That’s it!
Prayer
As we face opposition and respond Biblically we gain courage and boldness in our proclamation of the gospel.
There is only one small line in one verse of this prayer that deals with the persecution they are facing! V. 29 “Now, Lord, look on their threats”. That’s it!
Preaching
Verse 23 records the first response of the disciples.
There are a lot of important terms in this passage. So be ready to see a lot of Greek words up on the screen. My goal in mentioning the original languages so much is not to show off how smart I am. I can guarantee that I probably mispronounce half the words. My Greek is rusty after being out of Bible school for 9 years now. I put the Greek words on here to challenge each of us to consider the original languages and to hopefully familiarize us a little bit with various Greek terms that are important. If you find them interesting, great! If not, I am hoping to make them gain in interest for you.

1. Presenting The Opposition v. 23

a. Presenting the opposition v. 23
There are a few times in the NT where an author specifically warns people about either a false teacher or someone who opposes the Gospel. is one such passage (S).
2 Timothy 4:14–15 NKJV
Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works. You also must beware of him, for he has greatly resisted our words.
I believe that it is a present weakness of the church that we often hesitate to adequately warn people about false teachers and opponents of the gospel. Peter and John have been wrongfully arrested, imprisoned, and interrogated. Upon their release they go straight to the other disciples. First we are confronted with…

a. The release v. 23a

i. The release v. 23a
Being let go” is the Greek word ἀπολύω (apolyō) meaning release; set free; let go. To be discharged. To be or become acquitted and released.
Being let go – ἀπολύω (apolyō)
They are acquitted and discharged. Remember that this was accomplished for two reasons. The leaders couldn’t find anything to charge them with, and they were afraid of the people. God preserved the disciples despite this opposition. The leaders didn’t want to let them go! As with last week we are reminded that our safety and security is in God’s hands! The Lord will see us released or not as it fits into His Divine purpose and plan. The verse continues by stating that they immediately went to their own. When they arrive they give…

b. The report v. 23b

ii. The report v. 23b
This verse gives us a very important principle.
Report opposition to the body of Christ.
Why? This enables our fellow believers to do three things. Pray for us, encourage us, and join us. I recently read Ecclesiastes in my devotions and reminds us of a very important truth (S).
Ecclesiastes 4:12 NKJV
Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
We need the support of our brothers and sisters in Christ! This works the other way too, they need our support. We enjoy a level of freedom in our worship that most Christians in the world do not have. We need to be in earnest prayer for the persecuted church! I would encourage you to check out voice of the Martyrs if you never have. I ordered these persecution maps from them. They display the various countries and the level of persecution endured by the Christians there. These will soon be hanging in the entryway to remind us of the need to be in prayer. This is our support system. We are to “bear one another’s burdens” (). Part of this burden bearing is warning others when we face opposition.
This is our support system. We are to “bear one another’s burdens”.
In v. 23 the word “companions” is added. I actually like the verse better without it. They “went to their own” and reported. This highlights the reality that though Peter and John had been with the leaders of Judaism, they are no longer their own. We are no longer of the world! The body of Christ, that is who we are to view as our own. They are our brothers and sisters, our family. This means that when we fellowship with the body of Christ, we fellowship with our family! This should bring us great delight. It should be something we enjoy and long to do. When I need encouragement and strength, this is where I find it!
The disciples come to their own and report all that the chief priests and elders had said. This would include the interrogation as well as the command not to teach or preach in Jesus’ name. Now what? Peter told the leaders they had to obey God not men. What will the rest of the disciples think? What will they say? We find out as Luke describes them immediately…
Reported – ἀπαγγέλλω (apangellō)
The report is of all that the chief priests and elders had said. This would include the interrogation as well as the command not to teach or preach in Jesus’ name.
Now what? Peter told the leaders they had to obey God not men. What will the rest of the disciples think? What will they say? We find out as Luke describes them immediately…
b. Praying over the opposition vv. 24-30

2. Praying Over The Opposition vv. 24-30

The Bible Exposition Commentary Chapter Four: Persecution, Prayer, and Power (Acts 4:5–31)

Prayer is not an escape from responsibility; it is our response to God’s ability. True prayer energizes us for service and battle.

What we have here are two verses that sandwich a prayer. The report (v. 23), and the result (v. 31), with the prayer, or request, in the middle. There is only one small line in one verse of this prayer that deals with the persecution they are facing! V. 29 “Now, Lord, look on their threats”. That’s it! This prayer covers eight verses. Six verses are spent talking about God. Two verses are spent making a request. Even the request is both Theocentric and Christocentric. Meaning that it is not focused so much on their needs as on God’s will and ability. There is much that could be said on these verses and what they contain, through my study I have chosen to focus on four attributes of God revealed in the prayer of the disciples. Their prayer is first…
There is only one small line in one verse of this prayer that deals with the persecution they are facing! V. 29 “Now, Lord, look on their threats”. That’s it!
This prayer covers 8 verses. 6 verses are spent talking about God. 2 verses are spent making a request. Even the request is both Theocentric and Christocentric. Meaning that it is not focused so much on their needs as on God’s will and ability. There is much that could be said on these verses and what they contain, through my study I have chosen to focus on four attributes of God revealed in the prayer of the disciples. Their prayer is first…
i. Focused on omnipotence v. 24

a. Focused on omnipotence v. 24

The disciples hear the report and immediately they raise their voice to God in prayer! This is how we respond! We report opposition, then we pray! They are said to pray “With one accord”. This is the Greek word (ὁμοθυμαδόν) homothymadon meaning with one mind. Unanimously, without dissent; single-mindedly.
With one accord – (ὁμοθυμαδόν) homothymadon with one mind. Unanimously ⇔ of one (mind) adv. — without dissent; single-mindedly. Adverb of manner.
With one accord – (ὁμοθυμαδόν) homothymadon
There was no dissent, no divided opinion. They were completely unified in their response to this oppression and persecution! In single-minded devotion they turn their hearts and voices to prayer! Why? Because in and of ourselves we are unable to handle oppression and persecution! We cannot change hearts. That is what God does. And so we pray, giving it all to Him. The question is, how do we pray in these situations? Exactly how the disciples do here.
The first four words of the prayer are incredible. “Lord, you are God”. This is not the typical word for Lord. Usually Kyrios is used. Here it is δεσπότης (despotēs) meaning master or lord. It has the idea of owner. A person who has general authority over others (slaves or subjects); especially denoting absolute ownership and unrestrained power.
Lord – δεσπότης (despotēs) master; lord. Master-owner n. — a person who has general authority over others (slaves or subjects); especially denoting absolute ownership and unrestrained power. Noun, vocative, singular, masculine.
Lord – δεσπότης (despotēs)
ESV & NIV - Sovereign Lord. LEB - Master. This is who God is! He is Lord! This is a recognition of the absolute authority that God has over our lives! He is the Master! We are the servants. He has purchased us with His blood and we owe Him our obedience. His role as Lord will be a little more strongly emphasized later. The focus here is on His omnipotence, His power exhibited through creation. This is communicated through the word “Made” which is the Greek word ποιέω (poieō) meaning make or do. To create, to bring into existence.
Made – ποιέω (poieō) make; do. To create v. — to bring into existence. Verb, aorist, active, substantival participle, singular, nominative, masculine.
Made – ποιέω (poieō)
The Lord, our Master, is the God of the universe!
The one who created it, who called it forth from nothing! He made heaven, the earth, the sea, and everything that is in them! This is a comprehensive claim to creation. As the maker, He is the ruler. The authority, the one in control. This recognition and reminder of the omnipotence of God puts suffering and persecution into perspective. Our Master is the creator of all things! Our God is the ruler of all! Nothing is outside His power and no threats of men are beyond Him! We serve an all powerful God and therefore we have no reason to fear men. This is how they begin their prayer. By being reminded of who God is and what He has done. This takes the focus off of ourselves and our problems and puts it on God where it should be. The larger He looms in our minds and hearts, the smaller our trials become. Their prayer is also…
This recognition and reminder of the omnipotence of God puts suffering and persecution into perspective. Our Master is the creator of all things! Our God is the ruler of all! Nothing is outside His power and no threats of men are beyond Him! We serve an all powerful God and therefore we have no reason to fear men. This is how they begin their prayer. By being reminded of who God is and what He has done. This takes the focus off of ourselves and our problems and puts it on God where it should be. The larger He looms in our minds and hearts, the smaller our trials become. Their prayer is also…
Their prayer is also…

b. Focused on omniscience vv. 25-26

ii. Focused on omniscience vv. 25-26
This is a direct testimony to inspiration in v. 25. God is said to have spoken through the mouth of David. This is a quotation of . We need to understand the importance of the claim that is being made. If God spoke through David it means that the words recorded in Scripture are the very Words of God. This is what (S) is talking about.
1. Prophecy about Jesus v. 25
This is a direct testimony to inspiration. God is said to have spoken through the mouth of David. This is a quotation of . We need to understand the importance of the claim that is being made. If God spoke through David it means that the words recorded in Scripture are the very Words of God. This is what (S) is talking about.
2 Timothy 3:16–17 NKJV
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
“Inspiration” is literally translated “breathed out”. The words of Scripture are breathed out by God. What David wrote was not his own opinion or thought, it was God’s Word. David, for all his power, authority, and historical importance is merely a servant of God.
David, for all his power, authority, and historical importance is merely a servant of God.
Here the rejection of Christ is portrayed as a collective act of all mankind. “The nations” refers to all people groups. “Rage” could also be translated “act arrogantly”. This is a very apt description of people’s treatment of Christ. How arrogant to condemn the King of Glory! How foolish and vain to act out against the Redeemer! Kings and rulers gathered together and stood against Christ! This will be more fully explained in v. 27. There was a united rejection of Christ. The religious leaders as well as the officials of the Roman government ultimately rejected Christ. “Christ” is a reference to the anointed one. The Messiah.
“Rage” could also be translated “act arrogantly”. This is a very apt description of people’s treatment of Christ. How arrogant to condemn the King of Glory! How foolish and vain to act out against the Redeemer!
2. Persecution of Jesus v. 26
Kings and rulers gathered together and stood against Christ! This will be more fully explained in v. 27. There was a united rejection of Christ. The religious leaders as well as the officials of the Roman government ultimately rejected Christ. “Christ” is a reference to the anointed one. The Messiah.
Kings and rulers gathered together and stood against Christ! This will be more fully explained in v. 27. There was a united rejection of Christ. The religious leaders as well as the officials of the Roman government ultimately rejected Christ. “Christ” is a reference to the anointed one. The Messiah.
The point here is that God knows everything. He is omniscient and so could have David foretell of these events hundreds of years before their occurrence! This lends strength to the disciples because they know that God knows everything! He knows about the threats. He knows about the arrest and interrogation.
Nothing happens outside the power and knowledge of our all-powerful, all-knowing God!
With these two ideas comes the third focus of their prayer. It was…

c. Focused on sovereignty vv. 27-28

iii. Focused on sovereignty vv. 27-28
For the fourth time in four chapters we have Sovereignty and accountability (choice) side by side (1:16-17; 2:23; 3:13-18). These rulers made their choice, but God had already purposed the death and resurrection of Christ. Verse 27 describes how just as the Lord had prophesied through David, everyone was gathered together against the Holy Servant Jesus. Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Gentiles, and Jews all gathered to oppose God’s anointed. This word “anointed” is where the term “Christ” comes from. The idea here is that everyone gathered against the Messiah. Most modern translations include the words “in this city”. The city of Jerusalem is where the Messiah was to come. He did, yet it is there that He was opposed, rejected, and ultimately crucified. Verse 28 is a truly significant verse.
1. Jesus’ anointing v. 27
i. Jesus’ anointing v. 27
As the Lord had prophesied through David, everyone was gathered together against the Holy Servant Jesus. Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Gentiles, and Jews all gathered to oppose God’s anointed. This word “anointed” is where the term “Christ” comes from. The idea here is that everyone gathered against the Messiah. Most modern translations include the words “in this city”. The city of Jerusalem is where the Messiah was to come. He did, yet it is there that He was opposed, rejected, and ultimately crucified. Verse 28 is a truly significant verse.
“To do” is an active verb indicating that when these people gathered against Christ they did so of their own volition. Yet at the same time, they did only what God had determined would be done! “Purpose” is the Greek word βουλή (boulē) meaning plan or purpose. This is a thought-out plan. A series of steps to be carried out or goals to be accomplished; especially as the result of intent consideration.
2. Jesus’ suffering v. 28
“To do” is an active verb indicating that when these people gathered against Christ they did so of their own volition. Yet at the same time, they did only what God had determined would be done!
Purpose – βουλή (boulē) plan; purpose. Thought-out plan n. — a series of steps to be carried out or goals to be accomplished; especially as the result of intent consideration. Noun (subject), nominative, singular, feminine.
Purpose – βουλή (boulē)
This is a great word because it carries with it the idea of careful planning. What Christ endured was not part of a plan hastily cobbled together at the last minute! The death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord were part of a carefully considered, and deeply designed plan that was put in motion before time began! The importance of this cannot be overstated. Everything lies under the sovereign hand of God! While, in some incomprehensible way, human beings still have the ability to choose and are fully accountable for those decisions, God is orchestrating the affairs of time and eternity to bring His chosen plan to fruition! And so the prayer of the saints here, revels in God’s sovereign control over Christ’s death and resurrection! These national and religious leaders believed that their gathering together and rejection of Jesus was their own idea, yet it is revealed that they only acted within the sovereign purpose of God! This purpose is what he had “determined before”. “Determined before” is the Greek word προορίζομαι (proorizomai) meaning predestine or foreordain. To be predetermined, to be or become determined ahead of time or before its occurrence.
The importance of this cannot be overstated. Everything lies under the sovereign hand of God! While, in some incomprehensible way, human beings still have the ability to choose and are fully accountable for those decisions, God is orchestrating the affairs of time and eternity to bring His chosen plan to fruition! And so the prayer of the saints here, revels in God’s sovereign control over Christ’s death and resurrection!
These national and religious leaders believed that their gathering together and rejection of Jesus was their own idea, yet it is revealed that they only acted within the sovereign purpose of God! This purpose is what he had “determined before”.
“Determined before – προορίζομαι (proorizomai) predestine; foreordain. to be predetermined v. — to be or become determined ahead of time or before its occurrence. Finite verb, aorist, active, indicative, third person, singular.
Determined before – προορίζομαι (proorizomai)
This particular word is only used one other time in Scripture. (S).
Ephesians 1:11 NKJV
In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,
Ephesians 1:11 NKJV
In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,
What the saints are recognizing in their prayer is that all the things that have happened are a part of the plan that God has determined would take place. Of all the plans, options, and choices that could have been made; this is what God has chosen will be done. The plan God chose is a plan that cost Him the most. It cost Him the life of His Son. What will never cease to amaze and humble me is that I am part of this plan! You are part of this plan! That’s what is talking about! We have an inheritance because God has determined to give it to us! He has predestined us according to His purpose as He works all things according to His will. What does this mean for you and me? Why is this a comfort in trial and opposition?
What does this mean for you and me? Why is this a comfort in trial and opposition?
God is as much in control of our lives as He was the life of Christ!
These saints in the early church, having experienced their first taste of persecution, remind themselves that everything taking place is according to God’s plan! Because God is good, because His plans are good, because His mercy is everlasting, His grace unending, and His glory our highest goal; we can trust that no matter our place in His plan it will be good as we yield ourselves to Him. The only response to understanding all this is how Paul responds as he contemplates God’s plan of redemption for the Jews in (S).
The only response to understanding all this is how Paul responds as he contemplates God’s plan of redemption for the Jews in (S).
Romans 11:33 NKJV
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!
Let’s review for a moment. These believers have just been informed that the highest Jewish court has ordered their silence about Jesus. They have been told that severe threats accompanied this order. Having received the news they unite in prayer. They first remind themselves of the power of God. He is the creator! He is the Master! He is God! They further remind themselves that He knows everything. He prophesied these things through His servants. Then they remind themselves that He is in control. All that has happened has been according to His plan and purpose. Based on all that God is and all that He has done, they now issue a request. Yet even this request is focused on an attribute of God. The close of their prayer is…
iv. Focused on immutability vv. 29-30

d. Focused on immutability vv. 29-30

Verse 29 is easily one of my favorite verses in Acts if not in all of Scripture. They are reminding God of what He has promised. They are banking on His immutability, the reality that He does not change! God’s promise of protection has not changed! His command to proclaim the gospel has not changed! The power He gives to witness has not changed! God is immutable! He does not change and therefore, He will keep His promises as He enables us to walk in obedience. We must understand that God never calls us to do something He does not also empower us to do! When He calls each of us to make disciples, He empowers us to do it! All that is required is faithful obedience on our part.
1. Promised protection v. 29a
In the beginning of v. 29 the prayer is that the Lord will look on the threats. This “Lord” is the usual term Kyrios. “Look” is the Greek word ἐπεῖδον (epeidon) meaning look at or concern oneself with. To look upon, to notice or acknowledge (and respond accordingly).
i. Promised protection v. 29a
This “Lord” is the usual term Kyrios.
Look – ἐπεῖδον (epeidon) look at; concern oneself with. To notice ⇔ to look upon v. — to notice or acknowledge (and respond accordingly); conceived of as focusing one’s sight onto someone or something. Finite verb, aorist, active, imperative, second person, singular.
Look – ἐπεῖδον (epeidon)
“Lord, you concern yourself with their threat.” This is an incredible attitude!
The threat is not our concern! Faithful obedience is.
Lord, the threats are your business, we only ask that you give us that ability to boldly speak your Word! We don’t want the ability to fight them, we don’t want the ability to deal with their threats. Just give us the ability to boldly preach the gospel of Jesus Christ! In the end of v. 29. They describe themselves as servants. David is a servant, Jesus is a servant, we are servants. We are in good company! When you surrender to God, He can use you mightily. “Servants” is the Greek word δοῦλος (doulos) meaning slave. A person who is legally owned by someone else and whose entire livelihood and purpose was determined by their master.
ii. Promised proclamation v. 29b
2. Promised proclamation v. 29b
David is a servant, Jesus is a servant, we are servants. We are in good company! When you surrender to God, He can use you mightily.
Servants – δοῦλος (doulos) slave. Slave n. — a person who is legally owned by someone else and whose entire livelihood and purpose was determined by their master. Noun (indirect object), dative, plural, masculine.
Servants – δοῦλος (doulos)
What’s interesting is that David and Jesus are called servants by a different Greek term. The term used here refers to a person who is legally owned and completely directed by their master. That is us. We are slaves, we have been bought by the blood of Christ and we belong to Him. As purchased possessions of the King of kings He has the absolute sovereign right to direct our lives. The believers in the early church understand this! In light of this reality they have one simple request, give us boldness. Give us the ability to do what you have called us to do! “Boldness” is the Greek word παρρησία (parrēsia) meaning boldness, confidence or plainly. It is the trait of being willing to undertake activities that involve risk or danger; especially that involve being honest and straightforward in attitude and speech.
Boldness – παρρησία (parrēsia) boldness; confidence; plainly. Boldness n. — the trait of being willing to undertake activities that involve risk or danger; especially that involve being honest and straightforward in attitude and speech. Noun (prepositional object), genitive, singular, feminine.
Boldness – παρρησία (parrēsia)
Servants – δοῦλος (doulos)
They ask for “all” boldness. They don’t just want a little bit of boldness. They want all the boldness it is possible for them to have! They desire boldness to speak. I want us to notice something. These believers have been threatened and commanded not to speak in the name of Jesus. They are not asking for boldness to “live like a Christian”, they are not asking to be empowered to “live a bold life”, they are seeking boldness to open their mouths and proclaim the message they have been forbidden to speak! It’s not that living a bold life for Christ is wrong. It’s that living a bold life for Christ is not enough! We must open our mouths and proclaim the message! Remember, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word. If we live a godly life but never open our mouths we are not being fully obedient.
Jesus had told His disciples that they would have the power to do the things described in v. 30. Notice who it is who does the healing. It is God’s hand that heals! What is interesting is that it was a miracle done in Jesus’ name that started this whole opposition. They are deliberately praying for more of the same! They desire that the message they preach be authenticated through miracles of healing as well as other wonders all done in Jesus name. Their desire is the elevation and exultation of Jesus. They desire this even thought it will violate what the leaders commanded and inevitably lead to further persecution. How can they expect anything else when Jesus was condemned to death by these same men? This is an incredible prayer. It focuses on who God is and what He has done and will do. It asks for boldness and power to preach the gospel despite the opposition they are facing. The section closes with them…
3. Promised power v. 30
Jesus had told His disciples that they would have the power to do these things. What is interesting is that it was a miracle done in Jesus’ name that started this whole opposition. They are deliberately praying for more of the same! They desire that the message they preach be authenticated through miracles of healing as well as other wonders all done in Jesus name. Their desire is the elevation and exultation of Jesus. They desire this even thought it will violate what the leaders commanded and inveitably lead to further persection. How can they expect anything else when Jesus was condemned to death by these same men? This is an incredible prayer. It focuses on who God is and what He has done and will do. It asks for boldness and power to preach the gospel despite the opposition they are facing. The section closes with them…
4:29-30 – Bold despite opposition. It is God who heals!

3. Preaching Despite The Opposition v. 31

c. Preaching despite the opposition v. 31
I love the times in Scripture where God gives an immediate answer to a request. This is one such situation. They pray for power and boldness and that is exactly what they receive. This highlights a problem for many of us today. We have no power and boldness because we have not asked for it! James eludes to this in his epistle (). If we want to make a difference in the world around us, we need to be in prayer! Unified, persistent prayer! Because of the prayer they have offered, the early church is granted…
i. Power to preach v. 31a

a. Power to preach v. 31a

What is the power they are granted? The filling of the Holy Spirit. As in Ch. 2 this filling is accompanied by evidence of God’s answer. The place they are gathered shakes and they are filled. One of the things that is very important in this verse is the order of events. It is not until they have prayed that the answer comes! They are not filled with the Spirit and empowered to preach until the prayer is ended. If locals churches and individual believers find themselves without power, I would submit it is because we do not spend much time in prayer. I believe that Satan actively and directly fights against us praying. Prayer is how we access our power source. If we can be kept from prayer, we can be kept from power! The connection between power and prayer here is unmistakable.
They are all filled with the Spirit. V. 24 spoke of their unity. This unity resulted in a joint petition to the Lord and He answered by filling everyone present with the Spirit. It seems that unity also plays a role in Spirit filling. When we are not unified we cannot be used as effectively for Christ!
The power to preach the gospel is accessed through prayer and unity.
Having received the power to preach, the disciples are also given…
ii. Boldness to preach v. 31b

b. Boldness to preach v. 31b

When the Holy Spirit has unfettered reign in our lives, there is boldness and ability to do what God has commanded.
Again we must note that it is after unified prayer that these believers are filled with the Spirit and preach the Word with boldness. This is a direct answer to the prayer of v. 29. They are unconcerned about the threats that have been made. What concerns them is faithfully preaching the message of Jesus Christ! Boldness cannot be manufactured, it is produced by the Holy Spirit.
When the Holy Spirit has unfettered reign in our lives, there is boldness and ability to do what God has commanded.
Not only does this verse tell us how they spoke, it tells us what they spoke. They spoke the Word of God. The disciples did not make up a message. They did not tell encouraging stories for a half hour and then dismiss people telling them they have been fed. They spoke the Word, the message, given to them by God! They preached the gospel of Jesus Christ! Someone who is Spirit filled and Spirit controlled will preach and teach the Word of God, not man’s opinion! The message that was preached with boldness was not a self-help pat you on the back message. It was the hard hitting truth of Scripture! You are a sinner by nature and by choice (; ). The penalty for that sin is death (). God sent His Son to live a perfect sinless life and die to pay the penalty for sin (). Salvation is granted to those place their faith in Jesus Christ (). We are saved by grace through faith (). These are words that many so called preachers will not say! Yet this is the message that God has given us in His Word and it is the message preached by the disciples. It takes boldness to preach that kind of message. It especially takes boldness when you have been commanded and threatened to never do it again.
It takes boldness to preach that kind of message. It especially takes boldness when you have been commanded and threatened to never do it again.

Conclusion

How are we to respond when there is opposition to the message of the gospel?
These are the three responses that we must have. Present the opposition, pray over it, and preach anyway!
This passage has presented us with three responses.
We must seek the help and support of the body of Christ! Spend time on our knees crying out to God! Lay everything at His feet. Go and preach the gospel no matter what threats are made. God will take care of the opposition! We are simply called to be faithful.
Present the opposition, pray over it, and preach anyway!
We must seek the help and support of the body of Christ! Spend time on our knees crying out to God! Lay everything at His feet. And then, we go and preach the gospel no matter what threats are made. God will take care of the opposition! We are simply called to be faithful. I want to restate something we stated earlier.
I want to restate something we stated earlier.
If we want to make a difference in the world around us, we need to be in prayer! Unified, persistent prayer!
The unity that is needed is built here, as we gather together and fellowship with one another we grow in unity. That unity then extends into prayer. As we pray together and petition the Lord for boldness, He will answer. Once boldness has been granted, we go and preach the gospel.
The body of Christ must stand together, pray together, and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ together.
May we support one another, pray with one another, and together, share Christ with those around us.
“A Passion For Thee” (verse 2)
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