GET TOGETHER- HAVING PEACE IN A HOSTILE WORLD
Ac 4:24-28 So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, “who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: ‘Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the LORD and against His Christ.’ “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together “to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.
The early church faced some very challenging times. They were being persecuted by their fellow Jews. Don’t forget that the very first followers of Jesus Christ were Jews. They were also living under the oppression of the Roman government. There was much instability, and corruption in their home country. Peter and John had been put in prison for proclaiming that Jesus Christ was risen from the dead and that He was the only Name under Heaven by which men, and women may be saved.
We currently are living at a time when the nations are raging. There is rage going on in the United States. There is rage going on at the border between North and South Korea. There is rage between India, and China. There is rage between families. If I listed everywhere that rage was going on, I would not be able to hold your attention to get to the points that I believe that the Holy Spirit would have me to share with you today.
We also live in a time where it is not popular to proclaim as Peter did in Ac 4:11,12 “This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Today I believe that there are some principles that the early church practiced that will help us to reflect Jesus Christ and to advance the Kingdom of God upon the earth during this time as the nations rage and hostility grows towards those that proclaim the Name of Jesus Christ as the only Name under Heaven given under Heaven to humanity to be saved.
First of all, we need to be sure that we are spending time with Jesus. That worked for Peter and John : Ac 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. Yesterday the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart that I needed to be focusing on Jesus rather than looking at the storm so much.
We need to speak the Word of God rather than offering up vain opinions. When I say speak the word of God, I mean declare it, confess it, preach it, pray it and teach it. Ac 4:29 “Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word.” We need to be sure that we are engaged in prayer as never before.
We also want to be sure that we are filled with the Holy Spirit and not walking and contending in the flesh. Never forget what we are taught in Eph 6:11,12 “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Remember Stephen the first recorded martyr of the church. He knew that his battle was not with those who were stoning him to death. Ac 7:58 –60and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. “Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. (NKJV) Look what happened as a result of him knowing who his real enemy was. Saul of Tarsus got saved on the Road to Damascus. He would go on to write at least thirteen books of the New Testament. He planted and strengthened churches on at least three continents and the fact that I am writing this and that you are reading it is a result of that. Might not God in this day as He did John Newton a former slave trader who wrote that great hymn Amazing Grace turn the enemies of the Gospel into ambassadors for Christ.
Most of what was happening in our opening passage was taking place at a prayer meeting. We need to make ourselves houses of prayer. We need to make our homes houses of prayer. We need to make our churches houses of prayer. We need the kind of prayer that they were praying. We need the kind of prayer that was taking place at this prayer meeting in Acts 4. When that kind of prayer is going on some shaking takes place and people get filled with the Holy Spirit. People filled with the Holy Spirit can walk in peace and be used to advance the Kingdom in a hostile climate.
So basically, the principles that I have shared with you today on how to have peace in a culture that is hostile to the Gospel are:
- Spending time with Jesus
- Speaking the Word of God
- Being engaged in prayer as never before
- Being filled with the Holy Spirit
- Knowing that we don’t battle against flesh and blood
I covet your prayers and ask you to hold me accountable that I will do this. I believe that if we do this that the Kingdom of God will be advanced. I believe that we will experience God’s peace in a hostile climate. Remember that any type of strategy no matter how successful that it might appears that is not Christ centered is a vain thing. If you read the scriptures and study history from the Assyrians to the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks under Alexander the Great, the Romans were all empires that were founded on a vain thing. Their plots would turn out to be vain things. Remember this the Kingdom of God is eternal. It has no end. In this time when all of the nations are raging and people are plotting a vain thing know that if we practice these principles that we will run our race faithfully, and that others will come into the Kingdom.
Let Us Pray
Lord today we live in a culture that is hostile to the Gospel. We live in a culture where many have been deceived into believing vain philosophies. Lord today when we look at people that have been led into deception may we respond as the early church did. May we pray for their souls. May we be filled so full of your Holy Spirit that we are not drawn into fleshly battles. May we be a people of prayer that spend time in intimacy with you. Help us to be in your word. Help us to declare Your Word, believe Your Word, stand on Your Word, pray Your Word, preach Your Word, and to teach Your Word.
In Jesus Name
We love you all!