A Church That Acts – Guilt By Association

Today we continue with our journey through the book of Acts. Remember, our objective here is to rediscover the origins, history, divine influences and governing principles which drove the first century church and followers of Jesus through the centuries to follow in order to discover some practical lessons which are relevant to our walk of faith today.

Central to what we hope to glean from the book of Acts is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit during Pentecost. Apart from this event the early followers of Jesus would have been committed but powerless. The arrival of the Holy Spirit is THE defining catalyst for the success of these early believers.

Acts, chapter 4, continues the narrative from the third chapter but now the Apostles have rocked the boat. They are a threat to the status quo. And when that happens there are often consequences. We pick up the story in verse 13.

Acts 4:13-22

13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 

Guilt by association.  

Always let it be said of our good efforts that they are a direct result of our relationship with Jesus 

14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say.
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.”

When our love and good works cannot be disputed, expect adversaries to resort to fear and intimidation

18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.

Silencing Christ followers is a common tactic to minimize our impact

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.”

Spirit inspired communication is bold but not harsh, ill-informed or illogical.

21 After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened.
22 For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.

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