28 “to do whatever Yourhand and Your plan hadpredestined to takeplace.” Acts 4:28
God’s hand, a commonimage in the OldTestament, representedGod’s power and strength.God’s plan revealed God’swill regarding Jesusthrough His death and
resurrection.*These vicious acts servedGod’s purpose.*His plans, His strategy,His power alwaysaccomplish His intendedoutcome.
*Nothing would hamperGod’s agenda.*This fact fueled the earlybelievers’ courage.*They discerned that Godcould take the worst mancould dish out and turn it
into something good.*God squeezed good out ofevil.*His purpose exists ineverything. We never driftbeyond His protection andHis plan.
*Perhaps you face adifficult situation.*God certainly has apurpose in allowing youto go through it.*Instead of backing down,reach up to God in prayer.
*Recognize God’ssovereignty, revelation,and incarnation; thesetruths ground Christianprayer.*Seek God to determineHis purposes.
*Look for ways in themidst of your situation toparticipate in His plan.*Live on His agenda andyou will never be offcourse.
The early church recognized God’s “hand” and“plan” in the events around Jesus’ death as wellas the threats against Peter and John. Which ofthe following best describes your reaction whenyour faith is challenged or confronted?___ I wonder why He let such a situationdevelop.___ I lay low till the threat subsides.___ I recognize that God is all powerful and askHim to change the situation.___ I recognize and embrace God’s plan and askHim to accomplish His will.
Pray for God to WorkActs 4:29-3029 “And now, Lord,consider their threats,and grant that Yourslaves may speak Your
message with completeboldness, 30 while Youstretch out Your hand forhealing, signs, andwonders to be performedthrough the name ofYour holy Servant Jesus.”
*They requested couragethat they “may speakYour message withcomplete boldness.”*They sought bravery inthe face of danger,boldness to proclaim the
Gospel without fear, andpower to prevail in themidst of overwhelmingodds.
*The disciples’ boldnesscharacterized, first, aspiritual virtue; as such, itcan only come from God.*Second, it revealed thebeliever’s courage inpreaching the Gospel,
their unreservedness.*The word was used ofcitizens who had thefreedom to say anythingpublicly without fear ofpunishment.
*Thus, for believers itcommunicated thefreedom to speak thetruth about Jesus.*Third, it described thebelievers’ confidence toproclaim the redeeming
work of Jesus Christ.*Boldly the disciplesshared their faith withconviction.
*Did God answer theirprayer for boldness?*The rest of the Book ofActs reveals God did,indeed, answer theirprayer.
*These once timid andfrightened men, who hadbeen in hiding,embarrassed andashamed, were altered.*God took weak,ineffectual, and insipid
persons and transformedthem into bold, powerfuland courageous warriorsfor Jesus.
Likewise, we should askGod for boldness to speakfor Him.
*Prayer carries anevangelistic component.*Worship leads to witness.*Prayer propels us intoaction.*Prayer advances God’skingdom.
Prayer ignites a church tomove beyond its walls.
They wanted God’s hand,(the second reference toGod’s hand in thisprayer), which stands forHis provision, Hisstrength, His work,displayed miraculously in
their midst. God alone,through His omnipotentpower, could eclipse thelaws of nature and time.*They wanted God todemonstrate His power,thus affirming their
message, throughhealing, signs, andwonders.*The signs were visibledemonstrations thatpointed to God, the OneWho has ultimate and
omnipotent power.*The wonders exposedspectacular events thatpunctuated the earlychurch as recorded byLuke in his writings.
The Book of Acts—oftencalled the Acts of theApostles but could becalled the Acts of the HolySpirit—recounted God’scontinual demonstrationsanswering this prayer.
The validation of God’sanswering their prayer forspeaking with greatboldness was confirmedby the signs and wondersthey saw in their midst.
*Their prayer forces us toevaluate our prayers.*Do we pray for boldnessto communicate God’smessage?*Do we ask for power todo His work?
*Do we seek confirmationto our answered prayers?*God’s will might notremove us from difficultsituations or soften ourtrek through life bydelivering us from
opposition, but when wepray God will strengthenus and make us moreeffective for Him in thosesituations.*God furnishes courage toHis people when they
need it.*Honest prayer releasesGod’s power and invitesGod’s hand to work.*Look for it. Seize it.*Know that it goes beforeyou as you boldly serve
and share about Him.*Let’s not forget thesource of answeredprayer: the name of Yourholy Servant Jesus.
In Biblical times, a person’sname represented morethan an identification or ahandle; it revealed theessence of one’s identity,character, personality,authority, and
power.*Jesus is God’s holy (setapart) Servant.*In a real sense all prayeris ultimately a response toJesus’ name.*Don’t we pray in His
name?*Most often we concludeour prayers by saying, “inthe name of Jesus, amen.”*In so doing, we areasking that our mind, ourpurpose, our desires, our
hopes, our longings beone with Jesus.*In essence, when weimplore in Jesus’ name weseek to glorify God,soliciting for what Jesuswould pray.
We are urging that Hiswill be done on earth,rather than our will bedone in Heaven.
Knowing yourself and your past responses tochallenges to your faith, indicate for eachstatement how likely you would be take asimilar approach. Indicate your answers inpercentages such that the total for all statementscombined equals 100%. Create and incorporateadditional statements as desired.___% I would ask God to get me out of thatuncomfortable situation ASAP.___% I would point out that I’m not really thebest one to be in the situation, but I hope Heworks in it anyway.___% I would ask God to strengthen me forhow He wants to use me in the situation .
Experience God’s PowerActs 4:31 31 “When they hadprayed, the place wherethey were assembled wasshaken, and they were all
filled with the HolySpirit and began to speakGod’s message withboldness.” Acts 4:31
God answered theirimplored entreaties byshaking the place wherethey had assembled,filling them with the HolySpirit, and empoweringthem to speak God’s
message with boldness.*Whether the shaking wasphysical or spiritual asGod’s manifest presenceinvaded them, we do notknow.
It did, however, provide asign of God’s omnipotentpower manifestedthrough God’s divinepresence.
*The disciples had proofthat God was with them.*They were all filled orcontrolled by the Spiritsomewhat the same way aperson driving a carcontrols the car.
*The Holy Spirit resides inbelievers as the drivingforce in our lives.*This experience indicateda special or freshendowment of power forwork and witness.
When filled with God’sSpirit, we boast of arenewed awareness ofGod’s power andpresence in our lives.
*One secret of theChristian life is that notonly are believers withJesus but He is in them.*A Christ-captivated lifeenables us to live anextraordinary life.
“The Holy Spirit,”according to The BaptistFaith and Message, “is theSpirit of God, fully divine…. He cultivatesChristian character,comforts believers, and
bestows the spiritual giftsby which they serve Godthrough His church.… His presence in theChristian is the guaranteethat God will bring thebeliever into the fullness
of the stature of Christ.*He enlightens andempowers the believerand the church inworship, evangelism andservice” (section II.C, 2000edition).
*Some people talk of theHoly Spirit as animpersonal power orinfluence.*They speak of the HolySpirit as an “it.”
*The Bible clearly refers tothe Holy Spirit in termsthat can only apply to aPerson.*Since the Holy Spirit is aPerson, we can have apersonal relationship with
Him.*Since He is God, Hispower is God’s power.*Therefore, in relating tothe Holy Spirit, we comeinto personal contact withthe God of the universe.
Because of this infillingwith the Holy Spirit, thedisciples began to speakGod’s message withboldness.
*Interestingly, these samewords were verbalized intheir request in verse 29.*The word boldness meanstelling all.*It occurs when one hashad an experience based
on undeniable truth and iscompelled to tell othersabout it.*Bold people areimpassioned.*They formulate noapology.
*They possess a greatpassion.*Their motivationoriginates from theindwelling Holy Spirit’spower and presence.
*Their character matchestheir conviction.*People are drawn tothem as bugs to light,captivated by theirmessage when theycommunicate.
*God answered thebelievers’ prayer.*By the Spirit’s power,they continued preachingas though the Sanhedrinhad never made a threat.
*They chose obedience toGod rather thansubmission to men.*Boldness provided theoutward sign of the HolySpirit’s inward control oftheir lives.
*Christians overflowingwith the Holy Spirit sharethe Gospel.*In fact, one filled with theSpirit declares the Gospelboldly.
*Isn’t that what we want?*Courage?*Boldness?*Living obediently toChrist?*Dependent prayer fosterssuch a transformation.
*This lesson embarks onthe study centered on thetheme “The Church:Transforming Lives in aChanging Culture”—fourlessons that identifyelements of
transformationalchurches.*This first elementconcentrates ondependence on God asshown through thechurch’s prayers.
Prayer was not the onlything the early church did,just the first thing thechurch did. (1 Tim. 2:1)
Jesus thundered that Hischurch was to be a houseof prayer (Matt. 21:13).
*Our class can set theexample for our church bydepending on God,uttering prayers that seekGod’s plan, desire God’swork, and long for God’spower.
Think of the most recenttime you experiencedGod’s power.Describe the experience .
Biblical Truths:• Prayer alwayscommences withreverence for God,acknowledging Hissovereignty.
• Prayer compels one toact, moving out of theprayer closest and ontothe street throughministry and mission.
• Prayer warriors don’trequest a lighter load buta stronger back and thecourage to face dauntingtasks with valor anddependence on God.
• Prayer endows believerswith boldness to share theGospel messagepowerfully.
• Prayer unleashes God’sSpirit within us asbelievers face obstaclesand opportunities.
Only God can transformthe lost to saved, theintimidated to bold, thepersecuted to victor.
While depending onGod, pray that He willtransform your life andthose of class and churchmembers, as well as thelost in the community.
Next week:Sunday School Rally in Fellowship Hall East November 18th: Acts 13 Kingdom Building