Study Notes on Acts 4:13 – 31
The Power of God Revealed

A) Ordinary Individuals Facing a Challenge (Acts 4:13 – 17)

  • They were fisherman, tax collectors, NOT Rabbis with theological training
  • Peter moves from denying Christ to demonstrating real courage

The Religious Rulers Could Not Deny the Miracle

  • Either they should have acknowledged the miracle was truly from God and supported the apostles OR
  • With a firm conviction that the miracle was not from God, they should have followed Deut 13:1 – 5 and killed the apostles
  • They were too blind to see God’s power and too scared to do the latter

Facing an Extra Ordinary Challenge

  • This is the first persecution recorded in Acts, it comes after a miracle and great numbers added to the church
  • Would crowds call for their deaths as they had called for Jesus’ death?

B) They Chose to Listen to God (Acts 4:18 – 22)

Who Are We Going To Listen To?

  • We are temped to believe that pleasure seeking is truly satisfying – getting drunk, gambling, partying, thrill seeking, extra marital sex etc
  • Believe that only Christ truly satisfies, only He has lasting significance
  • Will we reveal Christ in an apathetic and increasing hostile society?

Keeping Faith and Confidence in God’s Word

1) Atheistic natural science states dead bodies do rise again from the dead, and hence Jesus’ ressurrection is impossible:

  • Yet the Bible states Jesus was resurrected by God’s supernatural power

2) Atheistic natural science states that a mother and father are required for human reproduction, Jesus virgin birth is impossible:

  • Yet Jesus was conceived in Mary by the supernatural power of God

3) Atheistic natural science believes the earth is about 5 billlion years old: and that the book of Genesis is a fairy tale:

  • The Hebrew used in Genesis clearly states it is meant to be taken as a historical narrative – the earth is under 10 000 years old
  • God has supernaturally intervened in this world by;
    1) creating it
    2) introducing death into that creation the fall of man
    3) the worldwide flood of Noah

Science Confirms the Biblical Account

  • The geological and fossil records are in line with what you would expect from a worldwide catastrophic flood
  • The fossil record supports the bible statement that God created animals according to differing groups
  • Techniques scientists rely on to date an old earth, are subject to all sorts of unprovable assumptions (e.g. how as much Carbon 14 there initially in the rock? nothing else happened to the rock that removed Carbon 14 etc)
  • Evolution changing of one species into another is a never observed, never reproduced in the lab untestable theory
  • Follow the Biblical command to test everything! (1 Th 5:21)

C) The Reliance on Scripture (Acts 4:23 – 28)

Having Been With Jesus,they knew His Word, Prayed To Him

  • They respond to the opposition by praying, letting scripture interpret the opposition
  • They prayed to the creator of all, who knows all, is all powerful and is all sustaining!

Scripture Interpreted The Challenge

  • Mind: plotting, Emotions: raging, the Will: determined to resist
  • The political elite – 1) Herod Antipas, Tetrarch of Galilee and Pera and 2) Pontius Pilate, the governer appointed by Tiberius Caeser
  • The religious elite Chief priests, Sanhedrin & the Saducees

Scripture Comforted the Apostles (v28)

The mystery of this statement

  • Was it God’s plan to redeem His people by Christ’s crucifixion? – Yes
  • Was it God’s plan to kill an innocent man by cruel means, being sentenced by a biased, jealous and hateful court?
  • What these men did was sinful, can from sinful schemes and desires – yet this was fully in God’s plan – but God is not the author of sin!

The comfort of this statement

  • When the greatest earthly and Satanic powers of the day are doing their worst, they are never outwith God’s sovereign control

D) The Reliance on Prayer (Acts 4:29 – 31)

They Prayed For Power

  • The threat was very real. After this Herod killed James, Peter was later martyred and John was imprisoned – these men are flesh and blood
  • They pray not for their own safety, or enemies defeat, or for retirement
  • They pray for God’s power to make Him known AND miracles to accompany the message – they were not going to do things by halves!

We Need To Pray For Power: We Have the Same Task and the Same Opposition

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8

18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” John 15:18,19

Revival in the islands of Lewis and Harris, 1949 – 1953

About 30 gathered in a farmhouse praying, when an man prays, ‘”There are five ministers in this meeting, including Mr. Campbell, and I don’t know where a one of them stands in Your Presence. But if I know anything about my own heart, I think I can say that I am thirsty for a manifestation of Your power.” He paused again, then cried out in aloud voice, “God, Your honor is at stake and I now challenge You to pour water on the thirsty and floods upon the dry ground.” And in that moment the stone-built house literally shook like a leaf. I immediately went to the Acts of the Apostles where it is recorded that they prayed and the place where they were assembled was shaken. As soon as this dear man stopped praying, I pronounced the benediction a little after two o’clock in the morning and went out to find the whole village ablaze with God.’