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Acts 4 – Power in the Early Church

by on September 4, 2015

Acts 4 – Power in the Early Church

“Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you be the judge.” Peter and John in verse 19.

Intro
Background – The day of Pentecost had come and gone. The Holy Spirit brought the rain of Heaven to bless the new Church. The newly formed body of Christ focused on: 1. Worship, 2. Instruction, 3. Fellowship, and 4. Evangelism (witness).
Powerful sermons, speaking in other languages, healings and multitudes of new believers validated the moving of the Spirit of God.
The religious authorities did not accept this fulfillment of Scripture and the moving of the Holy Spirit. They attempted to squelch Christ’s new Ecclesia. By Acts chapter 4 the situation grew serious. The religious leaders were actively persecuting the new Church.

I. Changed lives – the early Church was made up of persons whose lives were changed.

II. Faithfulness
A. Of men who witnessed – told what they had seen and heard v.10-12, 33 (the gospel)
These men were untrained, uneducated, confident and powerful. V.13
B. Of God who empowered – filled them with the Holy Spirit v.8
They could not stop speaking about what they had seen and heard v.20

III. Responses
A. Persecution by leaders
They were grieved and they warned and threatened the apostles
They were not able to deny the evidence of healing

v.2-7, 15-18 details of the persecution
B. Joy of common people – they glorified God v.21

IV. The fellowship of their own companions v.23 – shared with the Church

V. Prayer
A. v.24-26 To the great, Creator God
B. v.27 Herod, Pilate, Gentiles, and Israel against Jesus
C. v.28 God’s purpose was fulfilled by wicked men
D. v.29 petition for confident, boldness of speech
E. v.30 God’s hand was extended to heal

VI. God moved –v.31
Their prayer was answered
The place was shaken
They were filled with the Spirit of God
The spoke the word of God with boldness

VII. Unity – v.32 Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul;

Neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.
Unity:
Of purpose
Of message
Of possessions
Of power v.33
Of grace
Of love
By the administration of the Apostles v.34 (this will eventually develop the position of deacon)

Questions-
Why did the Apostles quote Psalm 2?
Why did the Apostles not seek personal safety and protection?
Why are the religious leaders so opposed to Jesus?
What produced the unity –“one heart and one soul” of the early Church?
How do you decide if you should listen to the leaders or to God?

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