Be Bold and Uncompromising

“But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:19-20

Some of you know that every other Saturday night my wife and I meet with two other couples for Bible study at the Cobb Pregnancy Resource Center in Kennesaw, GA .  We go verse by verse through difference books and we are currently going through the Book of Acts.  Three of us take turns teaching a chapter of the book we are studying  and this past Saturday I had the opportunity the teach Acts 4.  I knew this would take more than one night to go through so I will teach next time as well to finish.   We have been doing this for over eight years and have had some great discussions in both the Old and New Testaments.  The discussion we had last night centered on the idea that we as Christians should be bold and uncompromising regarding how we declare the message of Christ to a world that needs to hear it.

I know I speak of this often, but it is important that we as Christians never compromise in any area of the gospel and the reality of Christ and the work He did on the cross in redemption for all who truly call on Him.  It is critical that we present the light of truth both in word and deed, no matter the cost.  In this chapter Peter and John are speaking to the people there in Jerusalem regarding Christ, how He was spoken of by the prophets of old.  However, not all were pleased by what they were hearing because the  Priests, Sadducees and the Captain of the Temple were greatly annoyed and had them arrested and placed into prison until the next morning.

What happens after the leadership convenes in the morning is what I want to focus on.  First, they asked about the healing of the lame beggar at the gate of the Temple.  “By what power or by what name did you do this thing?” Acts 4:5a.   Peter’s response shows how we need to be when dealing with those who want to shut us up. First, he submitted to the Holy Spirit.  We need to always be led by the Holy Spirit in everything we do.  As I like to say, it is better to be led by someone who knows everything than by someone, like ourselves, who do not.  And because of this, they were able to be bold and understand what needed to be said.  “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well.  This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.  And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” ” Acts 4:8b-12.  

What boldness they showed.  The answer Peter gave was probably the last thing the Jewish leadership expected, feeling they  would be able to intimidate them into silence.  As you see Peter and John were not intimidated.  On the contrary, they did not compromise in any way.  In fact, when the leadership saw the boldness of Peter and John, they were the one’s who had nothing to say in opposition because the man who was healed was standing beside them.  They then commanded them to leave and they conferred with one another saying, “What shall we do with these men? For that a notable sign has been performed through them is evident to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.  But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.” Acts 4:16-17  However, Peter and John did not assent to their command, but responded as follows, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”  

Francis Schaeffer put it well when he said in his book A Christian Manifesto the following, paraphrasing, “We are to obey the laws of man where they do not go against the laws of God.”  God has called us to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Mat 28:19-20.  This is our calling.  And no matter what anyone tells us, we must not deviate from it.  It is, though, important that we allow the Holy Spirit’s wisdom to guide our steps.  However, we must not confuse our so-called wisdom with His true wisdom.  We must be willing to sacrifice our comfort, goods, and our very lives to fulfill His calling for us.  We must not compromise, we must be All In.  Peter and John in the above verses shows us how we are to respond to those who try to silence us.  They did not argue, insult or berate them.  In love, they told them the truth of the Gospel while letting them know they “cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”

In closing, I want to share another paraphrased quote from Francis Schaeffer’s book that sums up everything we need to know about how we are to view our calling.  “Christ must be the final Lord and not society and not Caesar.”

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