Family Bible Study lesson for Nov. 9: Acting Boldly for God
October 24 2003 by Mary Fillinger , Focal Passages: Acts 4:1-3, 7,12-13, 18-21, 23, 29-31

Family Bible Study lesson for Nov. 9: Acting Boldly for God | Friday, Oct. 24, 2003

Friday, Oct. 24, 2003

Family Bible Study lesson for Nov. 9: Acting Boldly for God

By Mary Fillinger Focal Passages: Acts 4:1-3, 7,12-13, 18-21, 23, 29-31

Boldness could be defined as confidence in the face of danger, standing firm when others are running away.

When Boldness is Needed Acts 4:1-3 While Peter and John were speaking to a crowd that gathered after they healed a lame man, the priests, the captain of the guard and the Sadducees came to confront them. The officials were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people about Jesus' resurrection. The Sadducees denied there was any such thing as a resurrection of the dead. But in the case of Jesus, a resurrection from the dead had undeniably taken place.

In the gospels we find opposition to Jesus coming mostly from the Pharisees, especially in Galilee where Jesus spent most of His public ministry. This opposition shows up clearly in such passages as Mark 2:1-3:6, where we find vivid descriptions of five controversies between Jesus and Pharisees, who taught in the synagogues.

When we come to Acts, we find that the Sadducees persecuted the early believers. They seized Peter and John for being dangerous characters who preached that Jesus had risen from the dead. This would have proven that He was the Messiah. If the apostles could persuade the people that this was so, the Sadducees would be in serious trouble for their role in Jesus' death. But Peter and John persevered.

When Boldness is Effective Acts 4:7, 12-13, 18-21 With the Sanhedrin officially in session, Peter and John were brought from prison. They faced a semicircle of scowling faces. This was the group that had recently condemned Jesus to death, and the apostles could expect the same fate.

The Sanhedrin asked them a series of questions. They wanted to know what mysterious power they drew on and whom they were representing. It should be noted that the question acknowledged that a healing miracle had actually taken place. But they were also suspicious of how it was performed.

Verse 12 is one of the most significant verses in Acts. It is a major theme of the New Testament: salvation through Jesus is the only way to eternal life. It is interesting to note that the word "saved" here means "made whole." The healing of the physical body is a symbol of the healing of the soul. Jesus, the Great Physician, is equally able to do both. Peter declared that there is no other name in which we must be saved. He stated that we must be saved, not as a matter of option or right, but as a matter of necessity, if we are to be saved at all.

The members of the Sanhedrin were amazed at the boldness and theological understanding that enabled Peter and John to speak with such freedom and openness. They could not refute or say anything more. However, the Sanhedrin was also concerned about them being able to persuade the people, so they warned Peter and John not to preach about Jesus anymore. Peter and John answered that they must do what God had told them, rather than what these religious rulers desired. The rulers only threatened the apostles because they feared what would happen to them if they tried to punish Peter and John. The rulers found themselves in a predicament with no way out.

Prayer and Opportunities Acts 4:23, 29-31 As soon as Peter and John were released, they went back to their own people and reported to them all that had happened. The church was under attack.

The prayer of the early believers is utterly amazing. They did not pray for protection, but for power to continue to preach boldly. They wanted Jesus to demonstrate His power through them by working miracles. They were ready to preach the gospel and take the consequences. When they had prayed, the place was shaken, which reminds us of what happened on the day of Pentecost. And their prayers were answered.

Each true believer has the power of the risen Lord Jesus operating in his or her life. We can pray and receive all that we need to fulfill what Jesus desires for us to do in our churches and communities.

10/24/2003 12:00:00 AM by Mary Fillinger , Focal Passages: Acts 4:1-3, 7,12-13, 18-21, 23, 29-31 | with 0 comments
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