Acts 4:1-22: What You Have Seen and Heard
January 6, 2023
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Another amazing story of God’s power at work through ordinary people. Luke, the author of Acts, is asking us to consider: what could we do for God in dependence upon his Spirit in our own day and age? There are several lessons from this story for us to take on board today.
- First, it is reasonable to expect opposition. Jesus told us we would be opposed for following him. The acts of the apostles describes that opposition. Church history witnesses to it. But we are still caught by surprise sometimes when it happens to us. Do not be surprised if you are being opposed for following Christ and doing Christ’s work. Be surprised if you are not being opposed! We follow a crucified Lord, and opposition is the normal Christian experience if we are seeking to advance the kingdom of God.
- Second, emulate the extraordinary clarity with which Peter specifies the issue at hand. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” That is a verse worth memorizing if you have not already. It specifies the exclusive nature of salvation in one simple sentence. It is through Jesus and Jesus alone. It is particularly important that we keep this truth at the forefront of our minds today. Everything around us wants to tell us that Christ is just one among many different paths up the mountain to God. But no, says Peter—says Christ (John 14:6), says the Bible—Jesus is the way, and the only way to be saved.
- Third, do all you can to spend time with Jesus. When the religious leaders at Jerusalem heard Peter speak, they were astonished because they were “unschooled, ordinary men.” How had they learned to speak with such power, with such courage, with such confidence? “They took note that these men had been with Jesus.” That is the difference, of all distinctions: when a man or woman is frequently in the presence of Jesus, then it leaves a mark on his or her character, courage, and personality. Spend time with Jesus, and whether or not you are schooled or sophisticated, God will still use you and give you the courage that comes from knowing Jesus, being loved by Jesus, and having the Spirit of Jesus at work within you!
- Four, follow the example of Peter and John with the reply they gave to the religious leaders. There is a time to disobey those in authority: that time is when they ask you to do something that is clearly against God’s Word and to deny the Savior that you serve. In that case, do as Peter and John and speak as they did too: Judge for yourselves whether it is right to listen to people or to God! (verse 19). There can come a time when the choice is clear: God or peer group, God or popularity, God or people. At that time, choose as Peter and John chose. And as did Joshua in the Old Testament: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
- Five, spending time with Jesus, worshipping him, enjoying him, you will find yourself increasingly in the experience of Peter and John who said: “As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” A heart filled with Christ will overflow in witness to Christ. When you are in love, you cannot stop telling other people about the one you love. When you discover a new restaurant, you will want to tell other people about it. When you find a new book, you want to share that with other people too. How much more is it that when you realize just how beautiful Christ is, how amazing, how extraordinary, you will find yourself speaking about what you have seen and heard!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
To receive God Centered Life devotionals directly in your inbox, as well as other resources, enter your email address in the form at the bottom of this page and click "subscribe."