Be sure to view the video introducing our study of Acts 4 (Lesson 4) by clicking here.
Read and meditate on Acts 4.23-28.
I think it’s safe to assume that this must have been a gathering of several hundred people to whom Peter and John gave their report. Whereupon, perhaps one of them began to pray Psalm 146.6, followed by Psalm 2. And everyone joined in – they “lifted their voices together.”
1. The Kingdom of God came into the aggregate culture of Rome and Judea. We’ve seen one way that culture tried to impact the Kingdom, and it wasn’t encouraging. But here is another example. People in ancient Israel prayed the Psalms, using them like a prayer guide or for daily devotions. Here we see the new Christian community doing the same. Given their experience with Judean culture, why didn’t they just reject this practice as well, rather than embrace it like this?
2. This spontaneous, unison praying could happen because these people regarded the Psalms as their prayer book. God had given them these scripts, and they had learned to pray them. Start anywhere, and most folks could join in. Just like if I said, OK, let’s sing together: Amazing grace, how… You’d know it, right? Have you ever tried using the Psalms for prayer? Should you?
3. Praying the psalms was relevant (v. 27). Praying the psalms assuaged their fears. Praying the psalms united their intentions and focus. Praying the psalms stiffened their resolve and gave them confidence. We don’t know how to pray as we should (Rom. 8.26). God knows how we should pray. If you were asked to try out for a performance of Hamlet, you’d ask for a script. You wouldn’t just start babbling on about “to be, or not to be” or whatever! If you want to talk with God, get a script He’s prepared and learn to use it well. He’s written 150 for your convenience. If you had to choose a psalm to pray about the day ahead of you, which would it be? How about Psalm 90?
4. This passage reminds us that prayer is indispensable to the ongoing work of Christ. Joshua and Israel messed up with the Gibeonites because they failed to seek the Lord before entering into a covenant with them (Josh. 9). The apostles, filled with the Spirit, would not make the same mistake, nor should we. What do we learn from this situation about the role of prayer in the life of faith?
5. Take the two Psalms used in this prayer – 146.6 and Psalm 2.1, 2. Use these to write a prayer you can pray several times throughout the day. Make your prayer as relevant as possible to your life and our world today.
In the Kingdom of God we can make use of the good cultural contributions that are available to us from without. Even though the Jewish leaders were threatening the Church, the Church didn’t feel like it had to make a clean break with Judaism. The culture of Judaism helped to equip the citizens of the Kingdom to continue the ongoing work of Christ. How can we decide which cultural resources are useful for advancing the Kingdom, and which are not?
The chariots of God are twenty thousand,
Even thousands of thousands;
The Lord is among them as in Sinai, in the Holy Place.
You have ascended on high,
You have led captivity captive;
You have received gifts among men,
Even from the rebellious,
That the LORD God might dwell there.
Blessed be the Lord,
Who daily loads us with benefits,
The God of our salvation! Selah
Our God is the God of salvation;
And to GOD the Lord belong escapes from death.
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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