Let’s pick up from last week as we continue to study the book of Acts. Peter had been arrested for preaching and praying in the name of Jesus and placed in prison but an angel came and let him out. Now he begins to preach to those who have arrested him. This is incredible boldness but it’s not a natural boldness but rather a supernatural boldness because he is being filled with the Holy Spirit over and over. Friends, if we are to see what the early church saw in Acts, we must be continually filled with the Holy Spirit not just on Sundays or Wednesdays but daily in the presence of the Lord. Eph 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit. As you study this verse you will find out it is referring to a continuous infilling of His Spirit, over and over again.
Let’s pick up his sermon in Acts 5:30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. 31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him. 33 When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them.
Put yourself in Peter’s shoes; it’s amazing that he didn’t back down from the truth. This is a hostile environment and tempers are flaring and Peter doesn’t back down but reminds them it was them (religious leaders) who crucified Jesus. It made them so mad that verse 33 says they were discussing how they could kill them. But the truth is this, man cannot stop what God has planned and let’s read what happened.
34 Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space; 35 And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men. 36 For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought. 37 After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed. 38 And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: 39 But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.
What wisdom God had given Gamaliel and God made sure he was in that meeting to express this wisdom. I love verse 39! If it be of God we can’t stop it and we would be fighting against God. Friends, in the last days we must use wisdom because there is a spirit of deception that is running rampant in this world. We must stand for truth but at the same time make sure we are speaking the truth in love. Remember God always has a plan and nothing surprises Him, all we need to do is obey what His Word declares and what the Holy Spirit speaks to us.
40 And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. 42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ. KJV
If we are to see the salvations, signs, miracles and wonders they saw in Acts, it comes at the expense of great opposition and persecution, so don’t be surprised when it comes from a source you never dreamed. It’s warfare, daily warfare!!!
I want to close this devotion today with some words the Holy Spirit has been speaking in some of our services (watch online at www.thebridge.ws). “The revival we have prayed for and sought after is coming but some things will be shaken. There is coming a flood and we must build an ark of safety for our family and friends. The ark will be built in the private times of prayer. Increase your time in my presence says the Lord, Increase your time in my Presence.” I’ve summed up some prophetic words that have been released recently to remind us that we are living in perilous times (2 Tim. 3:1-7) and the only way to overcome is our corporate worship meetings and our personal times in the secret place of prayer. (Matt. 6:6) Never in the history of mankind will we need the direction, power and presence of the Lord more than we do now and in the future so a daily, personal prayer life is vital to our spiritual well being. Start today!
1. Fill me again today afresh with the power of the Holy Spirit so I can have boldness to stand for you!
2. Help me desire more of your presence daily. Increase in me!