Hey everyone! We want to welcome you to Table Church and are excited that you have tuned in to us this evening! Every time I watch that video, it gets me! A mother’s love is something that is unrivaled! With my dad passing away when I was 7, I saw my mom pour everything that she had to love us, to take care of us, to protect us! We celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend which is much deserved but this weekend isn’t the only weekend, isn’t the only day that we need to be celebrating our mom’s! It’s not the size of the gift that you give her, even though mom’s will agree gifts are nice, but it’s the phone call, it’s the words, the actions that show not only this weekend, but each and every day that she is around what we mean to our moms! As we celebrate mom’s, I always remember one signature meal that my mom always made. What was that one go to meal that she would always make! Go ahead and post your comment about that meal! As you post those comments, I’m going to go ahead and tell you the one meal my mom would make. That meal was lasagna! She spent hours making it with homemade sauce and meat, no sausage, but ground beef. When it would come out of the oven, we would see layers and layers of goodness! Plus we always had leftovers because it was normally just the 3 of us, so we could enjoy it that much more for days afterwards!
If you have been with us the past few weeks, you know that we are doing an in- depth study but also a really practical study into the book of Acts. Last week we dove into Acts 3 and we talked about how rhythm creates consistency in our lives. We saw this lame beggar outside the temple gate called Beautiful consistently being carried out every day to beg, ask for money, food, whatever he needed to survive. While he was consistently asking for those things, the one thing that he wasn’t asking for was for the Holy Spirit. We see Peter and John walk up to this man, grab his attention and deliver the one thing he needed but didn’t have, which was the Holy Spirit. A miracle was performed and he was healed! The miracle couldn’t have been performed though without the lame beggar responding and reaching out to allow Peter to help him. More on responding later!
This week we are jumping straight into chapter 4, so go ahead and get your Bibles out. Again for those of you who are new to us, this is a trimmed down version when it comes to chapter 4. We have community groups that meet Tuesday and Thursday’s online where we go deeper and would love for you to be a part of.
We are picking up in the middle of chapter 4 where both Peter and John were put into jail for preaching God’s word. And I feel this is a consistent theme in the book of Acts where people who were preaching the Gospel were thrown into jail. But let’s pick up in Acts 4:15
Acts 4:15-17: “15 So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together.16 “What are we going to do with these men?”they asked. “Everyone living in Jerusalem knows they have performed a notable sign, and we cannot deny it. 17 But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name.”
One of the things we are going to experience on this journey with God is that opposition will happen! I mean look at the leaders, priests and Sadducees in verse 17. They are asking how do we get rid of this “nonsense”, even though they saw with their own eyes the miracle of the lame beggar and the response from people in Jerusalem. There are two different responses by people when Jesus is mentioned. First response is a positive one where when they hear about Jesus, we hear and see praise from people!
The second response are those who may be offended by Jesus. Let me dig further into the wound here. How would you react if someone came up to you and told you that you were broken? Do you remember how in Acts 2 we discussed how God tends to reveal the truths in our lives? These leaders heard and saw what had happened but they tried to throw dirt over it and cover it up.
Opposition creates this feeling in our lives where we take one step forward but then it feels like we take two steps back. When we look at Nehemiah chapters 4- 6, when it comes to rebuilding a wall, we see how there was advancement and then setbacks to rebuilding this wall. This cycle shows that the Christian life is a conflict. There will always be opposition. The enemy will try to get you sidetracked or to give up completely. Even though it was God’s will for the wall to be rebuilt, He did not remove the opposition. Even though it is God’s will for you to grow strong in faith and to labor to advance His kingdom, God does not remove the opposition.
This is true on a personal level. As long as we live with one foot in the world, living according to the world’s values and for the world’s goals, Satan won’t trouble us.
We can go to church and even pray and read your Bible, and he won’t mind. That’s why we see in the book of Revelation that God would prefer us either on one side or the other and not in the middle. If we are lukewarm, in the middle, he will throw us up! It’s the moment we jump all in when opposition arises!
Opposition doesn’t prevent the presence of God in our lives. Opposition creates an opportunity to prove the presence of God.
Acts 4:18-20: “18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
We see in these 3 verses that we have the opportunity to learn from our mistakes. Let’s go back to the gospels for a moment here. In all 4 gospels, we see a recollection after the arrest of Jesus, people notice Peter and he ultimately denied Jesus 3 times. Let’s fast forward to these verses, we see Peter instead of denying God, he proclaimed Him! Peter finally passed the test! He learned from his previous mistakes.
Our mistakes doesn’t define who we are. God doesn’t look at us based off our mistakes! God views us that we were made perfectly in His own image! I love Landon and I know he is my son because he is a perfectionist! He thought he made a mistake on his assignment this week and he started to tearing up thinking he messed up! Here is what I love about our God. God doesn’t view us through the lens of our mistakes, he views us through the lens of His Grace, His Love, His Mercy! Our mistakes our magnified through what other people see of us but also ourselves! It’s because we have a God that gives us His grace that we have the opportunity to learn from our mistakes!
Lastly, this is a common theme throughout the book of Acts is what were the responses? What were the responses when opposition came calling? We see in the first 4 verses of Acts 4 that Peter and John were arrested but yet in verse 4, we see an additional 5,000 men who became believers. Luke doesn’t mention anything about women and children but you know they were there so that number was possibly doubled. That’s like me asking people to give their lives over to Christ and being handcuffed and taken away! If that happened, what would your response be? My initial response would be, I’m not looking to get arrested today, no thanks! Just like we talked about in Acts 2, God meets us where we physically go. Let’s skip down further in Acts 4 after they let go Peter and John. Their response was to go back and pray.
Acts 4:29-31: “29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”
The response by Peter, John and the other believers was they prayed for boldness. Then after they prayed for boldness, they walked in it! The place they were at was shaken! In our mission statement, we talk about this term movemental prayer. Movemental prayer is praying so boldly and walking in it! If we are going to talk to talk, we need to walk to walk!
Acts 4:32-33: “32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all”
When opposition comes our way because it will, what will our response be? If we mess up the first, second or however many times, know that God’s grace is always present and available to us!