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What’s God’s Mission-Part 3
Peter and John are Arrested
One of the many things I remember growing up is that taxes are a guarantee in life. My dad is retired from the IRS so taxes were at times a topic of conversation at the dinner table. No one likes taxes, but taxes are necessary if the government is going to function. We can try to avoid them, but they are always going to come our way. Whether they are income, sales, or property, we are going to have to pay and support the government. Is this the only guarantee in life? There is death and opposition to God’s mission on earth as well - these are big opposers.
When it comes to doing the work of God’s mission, we are going to have oppositions, creating stress, chaos and diversion. Doing the work of God's mission is hard work. No question. Again, we can try to avoid it, but it is always coming our way. No way around it. If you don’t believe me (and even if you do), open your Bible to Acts 4:1-22. Peter and John are arrested and brought before the Jewish leaders because they were preaching about Jesus. Peter and John were in the midst of opposition, the first big opposition since Pentecost. God’s mission had been moving along relatively well and the leaders of the city of Jerusalem didn’t like it.
Video reminding us to boldly love others.
What’s great about chapter 4 of Acts is what happens next. Peter and John are released and they go to the people of God and they pray! Now there's a concept! They didn’t allow what happened to them to stop their missional activity because they knew God was with them. How did they pray? I’m so glad that you asked because I think these examples are great to use when we face opposition in our our ministries.
Share What Happened: They told the other believers what happened. They tell the whole story to help those they are with to pray with them. When you are facing opposition, talk to those that you trust. I want to stress again... those you trust. We don’t want to compound the program by gossiping. Limit who you talk to. We are going to need people to really know how to pray and people who will actually pray.
Pray Scripture: They opened up the book of Psalms and prayed it back to God. What is good about this is that it reminds us that other men and women of God have gone through times of opposition as well. I like the Psalms because the writers are very honest about how they feel and then at the end of their writings they praise God because they know He is going to bring them through it. This is a great thing for us to be reminded of. God is going to bring you through no matter what you are going though - IF: you put your faith and trust in Him, you really pray and sincerely seek Him throughout the matter and you are diligent.
Ask God to Consider the Threats: Not only did they share with trusted others what happened, but they let God know. I realize that God already knows what happened, but there is something powerful about opening up to God how you are feeling. God wants to hear that. Its called relationship. He wants you to put your cares and troubles on him. He can handle it. Trust me. Again this goes back to many of the Psalms. For me personally, I have many times opened up to God about a lot of things going on in my life. The amazing part is when I do that, I get closer to Him (again, RELATIONSHIP). Don’t forget Philippians 4:6. Don’t be anxious, but present your request to God.
Request for Boldness: Peter and John didn’t want to stop what they were doing because of the opposition. They prayed for boldness to speak the truth. This is a great example for us. How easy would it have been if they had just stopped what they were doing. With God’s help, they decided to continue. Not only do I want to continue, but continue with boldness. Peter and John - what examples, what great men of faith! My prayer is that I will never stop, but continue in boldness in what God is calling me to do.
Miracles and Signs: This goes back to those wanting the mission to continue. They asked for God to show himself to the people and the Jewish leaders. When I’m doing my prayer walks around Old Town, I’m praying for God to show Himself to Old Town. This could be with miracles or signs or with raising up laborers for the Harvest. Pray for God to show Himself in any situation that you might find yourself in.
What Would You Add: I would really like to know what you have to say about all of this. As a writer and prayer leader, I really want to learn more about this topic. Talking with others is just one more way to learn. So, don’t be afraid to share.
Peter and John Praying After Being Released
The best part of this passage in Acts is that God does answer their prayers. Look at vs 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.” Let that sink in. The Holy Spirit came, shook the ground, and then filled them. This enabled them to speak boldly. Isn’t God amazing?
Yes, we are going to face opposition of some kind or another. The greater the work, the more the opposition. And if you are doing a good work, rest assured, the devil doesn't like it and he is the ultimate Opposer, sure to give you a very hard time! This should give us opportunity and motivation to pray and bring others into praying with us (when the Church gets together and prays....ahhhh...POWER!). Whether you are facing opposition or things are going great, stop and pray. When you finish, pray some more. And when you have felt your have prayed enough, go ahead and prayer some more. Do this early and often.