Acts 04a SU - God-centred Living
In this chapter we have three different incidents, each showing how the early church lived daily close to God in the power and under the guidance of the Spirit.
ð So, what does a church living in the power of the Spirit look like? It is a church that preaches boldly about Jesus, that expects to see God act in power, and that has a profound sense of community demonstrated in sharing, learning and praying (see Acts 2:42-47).
ð In this passage Peter and John talk to the Jewish leaders and teachers of the law. Peter and John were just fishermen, not well educated like the Council they confronted, but the Holy Spirit gave them the words to speak and courage to speak them. This is an encouragement to people like us, because they were ordinary people just like us. We also see God's Spirit working powerfully among the whole group of believers as they pray, speak and share. Here is God-centred living.
· Speaking for God
ð In Acts 3 we saw the importance of speaking out, and explaining the truth behind the healing of the lame man. Here Peter is at it again - but notice in 4:8 that he is specially filled with the Spirit for this task.
ð And that teaches us something vital about God-centred living. Living the Christian life, being an effective witness, is a bit like running a car. You need refuelling. If Peter needed that revitalising power, then so do we.
ð The filling of the Spirit is not a once-for-all activity; it is something we need regularly if we are to serve God effectively. Its not primarily reorganisation that we need as a church, it’s revitalisation, restoration, renewal. All that we do must be done in dependence on the Holy Spirit.
· Speaking to God
ð After their release from a brief imprisonment, Peter and John pray (4:24-30), which leads to a further filling with the Spirit (4:31). This is an amazing prayer. It is a prayer of praise and seeking to glorify God. All they want is to be able to be more effective for God.
ð We might have expected the early church to have prayed in thankfulness for their release, for protection, for victory over their enemies. But they didn’t. They wanted to be used by God. Their first priority was His vindication, His honour and glory.
ð So, in fact, they prayed for opportunities to continue with the very activities that got them into trouble in the first place - healing and speaking, both done in the power of the Spirit.
ð In the face of opposition they ask for more power to be bolder.
· Living with God
ð The closing verses of the chapter (4:32-37) remind us of the description of the early church at the end of Acts 2. There is a common life; a willingness to share both possessions and concerns. It’s quite simply real family life – Christian family life.
ð The Spirit also produces this result. It is one of the consequences of the Spirit filling the Church after their prayer.
ð This is the sort of all-age community that the Spirit builds in every generation to witness to what God has done in Christ. It’s what God can do, is wanting to do, in us. The question is do we want Him to do it I wonder?