Acts 3-4, Psalm 120
Many individuals and churches are afraid to speak with boldness and confront sin. They would rather only speak pleasant words and try to stay "relevant" and popular. Those leading and following in the "Name it and claim it" or prosperity gospel movement are thriving in numbers and financially. But the question remains: at what cost? From Jon Courson's commentary about Acts 3:6 it says, a story is told that the pope was counting the silver and gold coins in his coffers one day when Thomas Aquinas walked in. "Greetings, Thomas,". He said as he gleefully held up some coins for Thomas to see. "We can no longer say, silver and gold have we none, now can we?" Thomas looked at the pope and said, "And neither can we say, "In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk." Whenever we as individuals or the church has traded purity for prosperity, she has lost power.
Notice in Acts 3, that Peter and John were not distracted but on their way to pray. Notice also that they were available, they allowed God's opportunity to heal the lame man rise above their original plans. When the healing occurred and the people began to glorify them, Peter in humility stated in Acts 3:12, "Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?" In today's day if not humble, Peter could have posted a picture of himself and the beggar on the internet and start a healing ministry named after himself, but he knew where the power came from and would not allow the praises of man directed at himself. Understand their boldness. When they were asked the question in Acts 4:7, "By what power or by what name have you done this?", the religious leaders were referring to the miracle and it was a well thought out trick question. They probably had stones in their hands as they asked, hoping that they would direct others to worship another god or themselves, using Deuteronomy 13:1-5 as their justification to kill them. Notice their response without the slightest hint of intimidation but with total boldness in Acts 4:10, "let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by whom this man stands here before you whole." When Peter and John were further threatened by the leaders, they responded by saying in 4:19, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge."
So we must ask ourselves what kind of faith and what kind of witnesses we want to be? To we want to live life intimidated by the fear of public disapproval and scrutiny, or do we want to live a life where we boldly and unashamedly exalt the name of Jesus. There are many excuses but none are really valid. Notice in Acts 4:13 , "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus." Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:27, "But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;". Like Peter and John we can choose to be with Jesus daily in His Word and step out in boldness, without fear, unintimidated by a world that misunderstands us. How I pray that might all free ourselves from the shackles and obstacles of this world and experience what they did in Acts 4:31, "And when they had prayed , the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness."
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: