God’s word as His witnesses

Acts 4:15-18 But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, (16) saying, “What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. (17) But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name.” (18) So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.

This healing that had taken place and other similar miracles were the opportunities, where the resurrection of Jesus was made known to everyone. 

Remember, when the Lord rose from the dead, the leaders capped the lid on the resurrection of Christ.  Matthew 28:11-15 Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened. (12) When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, (13) saying, “Tell them, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.’ (14) And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will appease him and make you secure.” (15) So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.

The leaders thought that they had effectively negated, the resurrection of Jesus but it was now coming back to haunt them. 

Peter and John were attributing the healing of the lame man to the resurrection of Jesus. 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 Him this man stands here before you whole.

Witnessing was all about the resurrection of Jesus.

Leaders may try to blank out the truth of history but the truth will stay the test of time.  Jesus has risen from the dead and the work of the church has marched on. 

History tells us that those who took violent positions against His church have had to suffer terribly.  We do not want them to suffer but they should come to their senses, their minds should be opened and they repent and surrender to Christ. 

I Thessalonians 2:15-16 who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they do not please God and are contrary to all men, (16) forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost.

God’s wrath has come on the people of Israel for centuries.  We have seen how they have suffered.  This is because of all that Israel has done against God, His prophets, His Son and His church. 

The warning is to the nations of the world who intend to go against God and His church.  Psalms 2:1-5 Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? (2) The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, (3) “Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us.” (4) He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The LORD shall hold them in derision. (5) Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure:

What is the Lord doing all over the globe in these last days?  The Lord is causing people to come to faith in Jesus.*  The sound of God’s people is going out and the persecution that is taking place in different ways is causing the message of the gospel to be heard. 

People come to faith by hearing and hearing is by the word of God Romans 10:17-18 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (18) But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: “THEIR SOUND HAS GONE OUT TO ALL THE EARTH, AND THEIR WORDS TO THE ENDS OF THE WORLD.”

This was the testimony of Apostle Paul. Romans 15:18-19 For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me, in word and deed, to make the Gentiles obedient— (19) in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.

It is when the gospel is preached in all the world as a witness that the end will come.  Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. Keeping these things in mind, let us as His church, not be discouraged, but strengthen ourselves in the Lord to be His bold and wise witnesses.


The building of His kingdom through His church

Acts 4:15-18 But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, (16) saying, “What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. (17) But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name.” (18) So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.

The leaders conferred amongst themselves as to what should be done in this situation.  We have seen that the leaders took an extreme position and banned that there should be no speaking or teaching at all in the name of Jesus. 

When we see these extremely brutal measures being taken, in our times, we as His church are surely concerned.   At the same time, let us know that the Lord is still in control in all these situations.  God places His person or persons in the situation, who bring a godly direction into the matter.

Gamaliel, the Pharisee, was one such person who brought sanity into the midst of the foolishness and irrational decision that was being taken by the leaders.  Perhaps, Gamaliel was not present in the leadership group that gathered rather hastily in Acts chapter 4. 

Acts 5:34-35 Then one in the council stood up, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in respect by all the people, and commanded them to put the apostles outside for a little while. (35) And he said to them: “Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men.

Acts 5:38-40 And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; (39) but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God.” (40) And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.

Even though the persecution of the disciples did take place, the voice of Gamaliel prevailed.  People such as Gamaliel are the persons whom God places in different spheres to fulfil His purpose. 

You and I must see ourselves as Gamaliels to be the voice of God.  We have a prophetical role in our society and nation.      

I wish to digress here.  If we must have persons such as Gamaliel in key decision-making tables, in our nations, in all spheres of life and governance, where will they come from? 

Will they not be raised in our homes?  With what motivation do we raise our children?  Do we raise them to be kingdom builders, occupying key decision-making positions and roles in all spheres of life in our own nations, so that God’s purposes will be fulfilled? 

I find that to a large extent, we are raising our children to be selfish, thinking only to be well-settled in life.  We are not challenging them to take on key leadership roles, especially in our own nation.

Those of us living in developing nations, such as India, are more interested to get our children to live and work in the developed western world and look after their own well-being and success.  Whereas, we desperately lack representation and the calming prophetical voice of godly leaders, such as Gamaliel, at the policy and decision-making tables in our own country.

This is a matter that is very close to my heart over which I am deeply troubled.  Unfortunately, we, the Christian leaders of our nation, are the biggest defaulters in this matter.  Unless Christian leaders in our nation will repent and seek His forgiveness that we have failed in raising our children to be the prophets for our nation, we would have disobeyed God.      

A notable miracle had taken place and the leaders had no way to muzzle this event or its cascading effect.  Acts 3:9-10 And all the people saw him walking and praising God. (10) Then they knew that it was he who sat begging alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

This lame man begging at the Beautiful gate of the temple was a regular feature.  The healing of this lame man caused the entire Jewish community to know that an amazing miracle had taken place.  The Lord in His mercy and love was reaching out to His people through the healing of the lame man. 

This is how we must consider the signs and miracles that God is doing amongst us in our times.  These are events through which God is drawing people to Himself through His love. 

The Lord is also using these signs and wonders to stop the mouths of those who are against God.  Luke 21:15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.

Let the church be assured that man will not be able to stop the building of His kingdom through His church.


LIFE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT Romans 8:01-17(01)

*Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.*

Death – Gen 1:17/Gen 3:6 –

1.  Alienated from the life of God Eph 4:18 

2.  trespasses and sin Eph 2:1 /Rom 7:23-24/ Rom 8:6-7

3.  Dead in our relationships with one another – I Jn 3:14

4.  Dead in our relationship with creation Rom 8:19-22

5.  Powers of darkness – Eph 2:2/ II Tim 2:26/ Heb 2:14-15

Life – Eph 2:5

1. Reconciled back with God – Rom 5:10/ II Cor 5:18/ Col 1:21-22

2. Victory in our bodies – Eph 2:4-5/ Rom 6:4-6/ Col 2:12-13/ Rom 8:2-4,11/ Heb 10:10

3. Relationships – Eph 2:13-18 / Col 3:10-11/ Gal 3:27-28

4. Creation – II Cor 5:17/ II Pet 3:10-13 / Col 1:20

5. Powers of darkness – Heb 2:14-15/Col 2:13-15 / Eph 3:9-11

Boldness and wisdom to witness

Acts 4:13-14 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. (14) And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.

The central event that caused this questioning to take place was the healing of the lame man.  As we have seen, there are larger issues that have come to light but it was all centred on this healing. As His church, we must be conscious that God will use circumstances in our lives as the pivotal event by which the Lord’s name is glorified. 

The man was healed and he was standing with Peter and John as the proof for their witness.  The leaders were not able to say anything against it.  As His church, the healing that the Lord has done in each of our lives must be evident for everyone to see.  Each of us must be the manifestation of the truth. 

II Corinthians 4:1-2 Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. (2) But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

We manifest the work of God’s healing in our entire person.  Yet, our personal healing is only the means by which God’s greater purpose of restoring lost humanity to Himself is taking place.  We must never lose sight of the larger design of God. 

From when the healing took place in this lame man’s life, till the time the testimony was taking place before the leaders, Peter and John, constantly gave glory to Jesus.  They took attention away from themselves and they also took attention away from the healing itself, for the healing of the lame man was only the means for people to be confronted with the God of heaven and earth.

Acts 3:6-8 Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” (7) And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. (8) So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them—walking, leaping, and praising God._

As the crowds became excited over the healing, Peter and John, very intentionally, took the people’s attention away from the healing and from themselves and brought the people to focus on the larger issue of Jesus being the Prince of life, whom they had killed.

Acts 3:14-16 But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, (15) and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. (16) And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

This is an important lesson to learn, for we in our times, seem to have a tendency to give more weightage to the miracles, signs and wonders and we are not showing greater concern for getting people reconciled with God. 

The way Peter and John took on the leaders is very interesting because they made the leaders realise that they were questioning them for a good deed done to a helpless man.  Peter and John quickly grabbed the opportunity to confront the leaders with the evil act of crucifying Jesus, whom God raised from the dead.  Peter and John turned the tables on the leaders. This was boldness combined with wisdom.  

Acts 4:8-10 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: (9) If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, (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 Him this man stands here before you whole.

Today we are being questioned about the good deeds done by the church to the community.  We must turn the tables on our bullies and ask them for which good deed, that we have done, is questioning us. 

Even if they tell us that we are changing the customs and traditions of our society.  We must present the evil customs and traditions that our society follows and how necessary it is for people to be free from these evil bondages.

One such evil tradition that is followed by our society is to make poor people conduct rituals and spend money, which destroys the livelihood of the poor.  If people are set free from such evil oppression and are taught to manage their finances well, have we done something bad for our society? 

Let us pray for boldness and wisdom in our witness.