11 November 4, 2012 Acts 4;23-31 Praying With Dependency On God


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11 November 4, 2012 Acts 4;23-31 Praying With Dependency On God

  2. 2. Begin now praying forWorld Mission Week,November 7-11.  There will be an AdultSunday School Rally forYoung Married andMedian Adults on Nov 11
  3. 3. at both the 9:00 and 10:30Sunday School hours.*Breakfast foods will beprovided in FSHE.  *You will hear testimoniesfrom three missionarycouples.
  4. 4. Focal Passage Passages:Embrace God’s Plan(Acts 4:23-28)Pray for God to Work(Acts 4:29-30)Experience God’s Power(Acts 4:31)
  5. 5. What This Lesson IsAbout:Praying with dependencyon God to transform ourlives (and other people’slives).
  6. 6. At times you may feel likethat hapless sailor in asmall boat tossed andbattered by the sea.
  7. 7. *The desperate sailorropes a rock.*The rock provides theneeded security, stability,and hope for the helplessman.
  8. 8. When the rock is lassoedit’s not the man pullingthe rock to the boat(though it may appearthat way); it is the pullingof the boat to the rock.
  9. 9. Christ is the rock; wethrow the rope throughprayer.
  10. 10. We desperately need toconnect with God throughprayer!
  11. 11. *When we work, we work;when we pray, God works.*God has ordained prayeras a means by which Hewill work on earth andmeet the needs of Hispeople.
  12. 12. God created us withneeds so that we wouldneed Him.
  13. 13. *Too many Christians—and churches—have losttheir sense of dependenceon God.*Do we not believe Godcan work as He did in thedays of the early church?
  14. 14. *Only God can transformlives and churches.*When we partner withHim, get on His agendaand follow His lead, noperson or society can stopGod’s church.
  15. 15. *Without God we arehelpless and hapless,given to the whims ofpeople and the storms ofcircumstance.*But with God we lassothe Rock.
  16. 16. *Throw your rope – pray!*God provides the strengthwe need 2 Peter 1:3*As He performed Hiswonders with the earlychurch, He will do it for ustoday as well.
  17. 17. Embrace God’s PlanActs 4:23-28 23 “After they werereleased, they went totheir own people andreported everything the
  18. 18. chief priests and theelders had said to them.24 When they heard this,they all raised theirvoices to God and said,“Master, You are the OneWho made the heaven,
  19. 19. the earth, and the sea,and everything in them.25 You said through theHoly Spirit, by the mouthof our father David Yourservant: Why did the Gentiles
  20. 20. rage and the peoples plotfutile things?26 The kings of the earthtook their stand and therulers assembledtogether against the Lordand against His Messiah.
  21. 21. 27 “For, in fact, in thiscity both Herod andPontius Pilate, with theGentiles and the peopleof Israel, assembledtogether against Yourholy Servant Jesus,
  22. 22. Whom You anointed,28 to do whatever Yourhand and Your plan hadpredestined to takeplace.” Acts 4:23-28
  23. 23. *Peter and John preachedthe resurrection of Jesusfrom the dead.*They were tossed in jailby the Jewish authorities,then interrogated the nextday.
  24. 24. *They spoke withcompelling boldness andradical dependence onJesus Christ.*Acts 4:13 is pivotal in thisentire episode:“When they observed the
  25. 25. boldness of Peter andJohn and realized thatthey were uneducatedand untrained men, theywere amazed andrecognized that they hadbeen with Jesus.” Acts 4
  26. 26. The Jewish leaders werecaptivated by Peter andJohn’s courage andastonished by their insightfor they had no formaltraining, but observedthat they were followers
  27. 27. of Jesus.*Could this be the secretof Peter and John’seffectiveness?*Their association, theirdependence, on Jesus wastheir source of strength
  28. 28. and security.*These men were on amission, possessed by agreat affection and anoverwhelming passionmotivated by theirexperience with Jesus.
  29. 29. *Someone, not justsomething, had happenedto them.*They were transformedmen.*Changed!*Electrified!
  30. 30. This is not the same Peterthat we studied about lastweek who cowardlydenied Christ three times.
  31. 31. *The authorities orderedthem not to speak or teachabout Jesus, threateningfurther punishment ifthey did.*Opposition fostersdependence.
  32. 32. *Apparently unafraid oftheir accusers, nothingstopped their quest to tellothers about Jesus.*They discovered aperpetual source of energy,courage, and power.
  33. 33. Their relationship withJesus provided, and thecommunity of believerssustained, their spiritualvitality and courageousboldness.
  34. 34. *Rather than despondencyand defeat or fear andanxiety, over such direnews, the assembledbelievers turned to God inprayer, not as a last resortbut as a first resolve.
  35. 35. Prayer should be our firststep, not the last resort.
  36. 36. *The believers embracedGod’s plan.*They had comprehendedthat prayer was and is theindispensable and vitalfunction of a believer.
  37. 37. *They united in prayer;they all raised theirvoices, though not aprayer in unison.*The believers joinedtogether in prayer as oneperson spoke the words.
  38. 38. *We often pray similarlytoday.*One individual will voicethe prayer and thecongregation will silentlyagree with the spokenwords.
  39. 39. *As early believersmodeled, we need topractice the discipline ofpraying together.*The early church wasbirthed in prayingtogether.
  40. 40. *They coped with crisisand persecution as onebody on their knees.*They trusted God formiraculous, divineinterventions in times ofextreme trouble through
  41. 41. united prayer.
  42. 42. *The early church learnedto pray largely by prayingtogether.*Young Christians todaylearn to pray incommunity with maturebelievers.
  43. 43. *Surprisingly, thebelievers did not pray forchanged circumstances orpersonal comfort.*They instead turned toGod, recognizing Hispower and sovereignty.
  44. 44. They knew what we oftenforget: effective prayer isforemost God-directed.*How often have ourcorporate prayers beendirected to the limited,listening audience, rather
  45. 45. than to omnipotent GodWho can do somethingabout us and ourcircumstances?*Before any request, thebelievers focused on God.
  46. 46. *They addressed Him asMaster.*The Greek word renders“a ruler with absolutepower/sovereign Lord”.The term often referred toa master or to a king with
  47. 47. unchallengeable power ofhis subjects.*Here, it communicatedGod’s omnipotence, as“Lord Almighty.”*The believersdistinguished that the
  48. 48. Sanhedrin had influenceand desired to silencetheir witness, but thedisciples knew the Jewishauthority dimmed incomparison to God’s rule.
  49. 49. We would be wise toremember such powerfultruth in light of theopposition Christians andChristianity faces in theworld today.
  50. 50. Furthermore, theyproclaimed God asCreator, “the One Whomade the heaven, theearth, and the sea, andeverything in them.”
  51. 51. *Steeped in OldTestament understandingof God, Scriptureinformed their prayer.In fact, prayer commenceswith God’s Word.
  52. 52. *Just as the Bible informsour theology, our ethics,and our behaviors, it alsoinforms our prayer.*If we are alwayspresenting God with a listof pleas, trying to talk
  53. 53. Him into granting ourdesires, it makes us a bigmouth and God a big ear.*Praying Scripture turnsGod into the voice and usthe ear, ready and willingto respond to His plans.
  54. 54. *Then, the believersaccredited God as theSource of revelation.*Under the inspiration ofthe Holy Spirit, God hadspoken through David.
  55. 55. They quoted Psalm 2:1-2in their prayer.Psalm 2:1-4Coronation of the Son1 “Why do the nationsrebel and the peoplesplot in vain?
  56. 56. 2 The kings of the earthtake their stand, and therulers conspire togetheragainst the Lord and HisAnointed One:3  ’Let us tear off theirchains and free ourselves
  57. 57. from their restraints.’4 The One enthroned inheaven laughs;the Lord ridicules them.” Psalm 2:1-4
  58. 58. Peter and John, along withthe assembled believers,interpreted the recentevents as proof God wasworking in their midst andthat Jesus fulfilled David’sprophetic
  59. 59. word, regarding thecoming Messiah.*In King David’s time,vassal rulers wererequired to submit to anewly enthroned king.
  60. 60. When some refused, Godlaughed at such revolt( Ps. 2:4).
  61. 61. The believers recognizedJesus as God’s AnointedOne.
  62. 62. *They thus knew howfoolish it would be forauthorities to think theycould stop God’s plan andthe proclamation of Hismessage.*Did God laugh again?
  63. 63. *The early believersapplied this propheticstatement to theirsituation.*They filled supportingactor roles in God’s divinemission in the world.
  64. 64. *It bestowed meaning totheir persecution andharassment.*The unfolding eventsserved to remind thechurch that they were ingood company, for God’s
  65. 65. faithful people alwayshave been under attack.*Persecution provided theacid test of obeying Godrather than men.
  66. 66. *They acknowledged Godas the Overseer of history.*Verse 27 identifieshistorical figures and theirplot against Jesus.
  67. 67. Acts 4:27 “For, in fact, inthis city both Herod andPontius Pilate, with theGentiles and the peopleof Israel, assembledtogether against Yourholy Servant Jesus,”
  68. 68. The conspirators includedHerod Antipas (notHerod the Great) whocorrespondedwith the kingsof the earth.
  69. 69. Then, Pilate related withthe rulers.
  70. 70. The Gentiles were theRomans, sentencing Jesusto the cross and executingthe sentence.
  71. 71. The people of Israelrepresented the Jews,acknowledging their rolein Jesus’ death.
  72. 72. *All were united againstJesus; all were a part ofGod’s predetermined planthat the Messiah mustsuffer and die.*These people raged andplotted against Jesus,
  73. 73. God’s holy Servant,Whom God anointed.
  74. 74. *Rage depicted a neighinghorse, tossing its head,snorting, stamping itsfeet, prancing in pride,but ultimately the stallionwould submit to the reinsof the master.
  75. 75. *Jesus, the incarnation ofGod, traversed amonghumanity.*He suffered the blows ofhumanity.
  76. 76. Jesus succumbed to theworst that humanitycould unleash on aperson, yet He came outvictorious.
  77. 77. In the end, God’s desirewould prevail.
  78. 78. 28 “to do whatever Yourhand and Your plan hadpredestined to takeplace.” Acts 4:28
  79. 79. God’s hand, a commonimage in the OldTestament, representedGod’s power and strength.God’s plan revealed God’swill regarding Jesusthrough His death and
  80. 80. resurrection.*These vicious acts servedGod’s purpose.*His plans, His strategy,His power alwaysaccomplish His intendedoutcome.
  81. 81. *Nothing would hamperGod’s agenda.*This fact fueled the earlybelievers’ courage.*They discerned that Godcould take the worst mancould dish out and turn it
  82. 82. into something good.*God squeezed good out ofevil.*His purpose exists ineverything. We never driftbeyond His protection andHis plan.
  83. 83. *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.
  84. 84. *Recognize God’ssovereignty, revelation,and incarnation; thesetruths ground Christianprayer.*Seek God to determineHis purposes.
  85. 85. *Look for ways in themidst of your situation toparticipate in His plan.*Live on His agenda andyou will never be offcourse.
  86. 86. 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.
  87. 87. Pray for God to WorkActs 4:29-3029 “And now, Lord,consider their threats,and grant that Yourslaves may speak Your
  88. 88. message with completeboldness, 30 while Youstretch out Your hand forhealing, signs, andwonders to be performedthrough the name ofYour holy Servant Jesus.”
  89. 89. *They requested couragethat they “may speakYour message withcomplete boldness.”*They sought bravery inthe face of danger,boldness to proclaim the
  90. 90. Gospel without fear, andpower to prevail in themidst of overwhelmingodds.
  91. 91. *The disciples’ boldnesscharacterized, first, aspiritual virtue; as such, itcan only come from God.*Second, it revealed thebeliever’s courage inpreaching the Gospel,
  92. 92. their unreservedness.*The word was used ofcitizens who had thefreedom to say anythingpublicly without fear ofpunishment.
  93. 93. *Thus, for believers itcommunicated thefreedom to speak thetruth about Jesus.*Third, it described thebelievers’ confidence toproclaim the redeeming
  94. 94. work of Jesus Christ.*Boldly the disciplesshared their faith withconviction.
  95. 95. *Did God answer theirprayer for boldness?*The rest of the Book ofActs reveals God did,indeed, answer theirprayer.
  96. 96. *These once timid andfrightened men, who hadbeen in hiding,embarrassed andashamed, were altered.*God took weak,ineffectual, and insipid
  97. 97. persons and transformedthem into bold, powerfuland courageous warriorsfor Jesus.
  98. 98. Likewise, we should askGod for boldness to speakfor Him.
  99. 99. *Prayer carries anevangelistic component.*Worship leads to witness.*Prayer propels us intoaction.*Prayer advances God’skingdom.
  100. 100. Prayer ignites a church tomove beyond its walls.
  101. 101. They wanted God’s hand,(the second reference toGod’s hand in thisprayer), which stands forHis provision, Hisstrength, His work,displayed miraculously in
  102. 102. their midst. God alone,through His omnipotentpower, could eclipse thelaws of nature and time.*They wanted God todemonstrate His power,thus affirming their
  103. 103. message, throughhealing, signs, andwonders.*The signs were visibledemonstrations thatpointed to God, the OneWho has ultimate and
  104. 104. omnipotent power.*The wonders exposedspectacular events thatpunctuated the earlychurch as recorded byLuke in his writings.
  105. 105. The Book of Acts—oftencalled the Acts of theApostles but could becalled the Acts of the HolySpirit—recounted God’scontinual demonstrationsanswering this prayer.
  106. 106. The validation of God’sanswering their prayer forspeaking with greatboldness was confirmedby the signs and wondersthey saw in their midst.
  107. 107. *Their prayer forces us toevaluate our prayers.*Do we pray for boldnessto communicate God’smessage?*Do we ask for power todo His work?
  108. 108. *Do we seek confirmationto our answered prayers?*God’s will might notremove us from difficultsituations or soften ourtrek through life bydelivering us from
  109. 109. opposition, but when wepray God will strengthenus and make us moreeffective for Him in thosesituations.*God furnishes courage toHis people when they
  110. 110. 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
  111. 111. and share about Him.*Let’s not forget thesource of answeredprayer: the name of Yourholy Servant Jesus.
  112. 112. In Biblical times, a person’sname represented morethan an identification or ahandle; it revealed theessence of one’s identity,character, personality,authority, and
  113. 113. 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
  114. 114. 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
  115. 115. hopes, our longings beone with Jesus.*In essence, when weimplore in Jesus’ name weseek to glorify God,soliciting for what Jesuswould pray.
  116. 116. We are urging that Hiswill be done on earth,rather than our will bedone in Heaven.
  117. 117. 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 .
  118. 118. Experience God’s PowerActs 4:31 31 “When they hadprayed, the place wherethey were assembled wasshaken, and they were all
  119. 119. filled with the HolySpirit and began to speakGod’s message withboldness.” Acts 4:31
  120. 120. God answered theirimplored entreaties byshaking the place wherethey had assembled,filling them with the HolySpirit, and empoweringthem to speak God’s
  121. 121. message with boldness.*Whether the shaking wasphysical or spiritual asGod’s manifest presenceinvaded them, we do notknow.
  122. 122. It did, however, provide asign of God’s omnipotentpower manifestedthrough God’s divinepresence.
  123. 123. *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.
  124. 124. *The Holy Spirit resides inbelievers as the drivingforce in our lives.*This experience indicateda special or freshendowment of power forwork and witness.
  125. 125. When filled with God’sSpirit, we boast of arenewed awareness ofGod’s power andpresence in our lives.
  126. 126. *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.
  127. 127. “The Holy Spirit,”according to The BaptistFaith and Message, “is theSpirit of God, fully  divine…. He cultivatesChristian character,comforts believers, and
  128. 128. bestows the spiritual giftsby which they serve Godthrough His church.…  His presence in theChristian is the guaranteethat God will bring thebeliever into the fullness
  129. 129. of the stature of Christ.*He enlightens andempowers the believerand the church inworship, evangelism andservice” (section II.C, 2000edition).
  130. 130. *Some people talk of theHoly Spirit as animpersonal power orinfluence.*They speak of the HolySpirit as an “it.”
  131. 131. *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
  132. 132. 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.
  133. 133. Because of this infillingwith the Holy Spirit, thedisciples began to speakGod’s message withboldness.
  134. 134. *Interestingly, these samewords were verbalized intheir request in verse 29.*The word boldness meanstelling all.*It occurs when one hashad an experience based
  135. 135. on undeniable truth and iscompelled to tell othersabout it.*Bold people areimpassioned.*They formulate noapology.
  136. 136. *They possess a greatpassion.*Their motivationoriginates from theindwelling Holy Spirit’spower and presence.
  137. 137. *Their character matchestheir conviction.*People are drawn tothem as bugs to light,captivated by theirmessage when theycommunicate.
  138. 138. *God answered thebelievers’ prayer.*By the Spirit’s power,they continued preachingas though the Sanhedrinhad never made a threat.
  139. 139. *They chose obedience toGod rather thansubmission to men.*Boldness provided theoutward sign of the HolySpirit’s inward control oftheir lives.
  140. 140. *Christians overflowingwith the Holy Spirit sharethe Gospel.*In fact, one filled with theSpirit declares the Gospelboldly.
  141. 141. *Isn’t that what we want?*Courage?*Boldness?*Living obediently toChrist?*Dependent prayer fosterssuch a transformation.
  142. 142. *This lesson embarks onthe study centered on thetheme “The Church:Transforming Lives in aChanging Culture”—fourlessons that identifyelements of
  143. 143. transformationalchurches.*This first elementconcentrates ondependence on God asshown through thechurch’s prayers.
  144. 144. Prayer was not the onlything the early church did,just the first thing thechurch did. (1 Tim. 2:1)
  145. 145. Jesus thundered that Hischurch was to be a houseof prayer (Matt. 21:13).
  146. 146. *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.
  147. 147. Think of the most recenttime you experiencedGod’s power.Describe the experience .
  148. 148. Biblical Truths:• Prayer alwayscommences withreverence for God,acknowledging Hissovereignty.
  149. 149. • Prayer compels one toact, moving out of theprayer closest and ontothe street throughministry and mission.
  150. 150. • Prayer warriors don’trequest a lighter load buta stronger back and thecourage to face dauntingtasks with valor anddependence on God.
  151. 151. • Prayer endows believerswith boldness to share theGospel messagepowerfully.
  152. 152. • Prayer unleashes God’sSpirit within us asbelievers face obstaclesand opportunities.
  153. 153. Only God can transformthe lost to saved, theintimidated to bold, thepersecuted to victor.
  154. 154. While depending onGod, pray that He willtransform your life andthose of class and churchmembers, as well as thelost in the community.
  155. 155. Next week:Sunday School Rally in Fellowship Hall East November 18th: Acts 13 Kingdom Building