Be sure to view the video introducing our study of Acts 4 (Lesson 4) by clicking here.
Read and meditate on Acts 4.18-22.
Peter’s response to their warning was concise: “Not gonna do it.” I suspect the religious leaders were feeling fairly magnanimous here. After all, they didn’t crucify Peter and John. They just admonished them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. Fat chance of that being obeyed.
1. Since they had no intention of obeying that unjust ruling, Peter and John said so. We are not obliged to obey unjust laws, especially such as pose a threat against the progress of the Gospel. What does this story suggest about the circumstances under which a Christian might disobey authorities in our day?
2. So how did the leaders respond to these words? They threatened them again (v. 21). It’s all they could do. Was this additional threat likely to deter Peter and John? Why not?
3. One red line drawn after another, each one crossed defiantly. The people, after all, were psyched! They were all abuzz about this man’s healing, and, the religious leaders feared the people as much as they feared Rome. The mention that this man was more than forty years old emphasizes the magnitude of the miracle. Doubtless many people, probably even many of these leaders, had seen this man begging year after year after year. No more. What threats to the ongoing work of Christ can you discern in our day?
4. Peter and John knew they could not possibly not talk and teach about Jesus. They’d been with Him, and now He was alive in them, by His Spirit. How could they help themselves? How can we? Are our churches equipping us to deal with threats to the ongoing work of Christ, so that we can respond like Peter and John?
5. What would it take for you to become more outspoken as a witness for the risen Lord? What is your responsibility in preparing for this? How can your church help?
Peter and John had crossed a spiritual Rubicon; they had made the Kingdom turn into a new world, a new reality, and a new power. There would be no going back, but only pushing forward in the ongoing work of Christ. Have you made that Kingdom turn? How do you know?
Give the king Your judgments, O God,
And Your righteousness to the king’s Son.
He will judge Your people with righteousness,
And Your poor with justice.
The mountains will bring peace to the people,
And the little hills, by righteousness.
He will bring justice to the poor of the people;
He will save the children of the needy,
And will break in pieces the oppressor.
They shall fear You
As long as the sun and moon endure,
Throughout all generations.
He shall come down like rain upon the grass before mowing,
Like showers that water the earth.
In His days the righteous shall flourish,
And abundance of peace,
Until the moon is no more.
He shall have dominion also from sea to sea,
And from the River to the ends of the earth.
T. M. Moore
Each week’s studies in Acts are bound together into a free PDF that you can download for personal or group use (click here). Each week also features a video related to the studies of the week, which you may find helpful as you work through our studies Acts.
Acts is the record of Christ’s ongoing work as King and Lord. For more insight to His work in our here and now, order the book, The Kingship of Jesus, from our online store by clicking here.
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