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Peter and John were apostles of Jesus Christ. One day they healed a man who had been lame from birth. The man whom they healed was now walking and leaping and praising God.

The people who witnessed this were filled with wonder and amazement at what had just happened to the man. So, Peter spoke to the people, and he gave glory to Jesus Christ as truly being the one who had healed this man.

But, Peter did not stop just at that, for he seized the opportunity to teach the people about who Jesus Christ was and is, too.

Nonetheless, the priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees were greatly disturbed over what the apostles were teaching the people about Jesus. So, they arrested the apostles, and they put them in jail until the next day.

“But many of those who had heard the message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand” (Acts 4:4 NASB).

The next day the apostles were brought before the rulers, elders and scribes, who then questioned them regarding by what power, or in what name, they had healed that man. Again, Peter let it be known that it was by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom they had crucified, that the man stood there before them in good health.

No Other Name
Acts 4:11-12 NASB

“He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

I love how the apostles never shied away from talking about Jesus, and how they so often seized the opportunities presented to themselves to tell the people about him, about who he was and is, and about what he did for us. And, they did this knowing full well that they would probably be persecuted for their faith and testimonies for Jesus Christ, too.

There is salvation in none other than Jesus Christ. He, being God the Son, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – left his throne in heaven, came to earth, took on human flesh, suffered like we suffer, and was tempted in like manner as we are also tempted, yet without sin. But, he was hated by the leaders in the temple of God, for they were jealous of him, and so they had him hung on a cross to die.

Yet, it was the will of God that he should suffer and die on a cross, and be resurrected, too, from the dead, on our behalf. For, through his death and resurrection he put sin to death for us so that we might be delivered out of slavery to sin, and so that we might walk with him in his righteousness and holiness, and have eternal life with God in heaven.

Having Been with Jesus
Acts 4:13-14 NASB

Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus. And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say in reply.

I have always loved this passage of scripture. I love how the leaders and rulers in the temple of God identified these men as having been with Jesus. That has always spoken to me about my life, about our lives, as followers of Jesus Christ. Would it be obvious to others that we have, that I have been with Jesus by the things that I, that we say, and by the things which we do?

The other aspect of this which I find so beautiful is that the leaders and rulers in the temple had observed that the apostles were uneducated and untrained men, and yet they spoke with such confidence, which amazed them. And, this was followed by the fact that they began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.

What this says to me is that they recognized that these men, in and of themselves, were acting and speaking beyond their own natural abilities. So, it was obvious that something extraordinary had taken place here.

And, this is how it should be in our lives, too, that when we are following Jesus, and we are doing what he says to do, in his power within us, that we will be able to do and to speak beyond our natural abilities so that God can use us in miraculous ways in other people’s lives, but also so that He gets all the glory for it, and not ourselves, because we know this came from HIM.

To Not Spread Further
Acts 4:15-18 NASB

But when they had ordered them to leave the Council, they began to confer with one another, saying, “What shall we do with these men? For the fact that a noteworthy miracle has taken place through them is apparent to all who live in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But so that it will not spread any further among the people, let us warn them to speak no longer to any man in this name.” And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.

Yet, when we are following Jesus Christ, and we are doing what he has called us to do, and we are operating in his power and his strength within us, even if people do recognize that we have been with Jesus, or perhaps because of that acknowledgment, we will often be persecuted for our faith and testimonies for Jesus Christ, too. And, this is because we serve as a threat to Satan’s kingdom. Thus, he is the one behind the persecution.

So, there is a campaign going on in our world and in the church today to both dilute the gospel message, to take away its power to deliver from sin, and to blend it in with other religions under the guise of promoting love, peace and good will toward all humanity. For, Satan is still trying to destroy Jesus Christ, his gospel, and his servants.

We Cannot Stop Speaking
Acts 4:19-20 NASB

But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

Oh, how I love their response! Even though they faced possible beatings, imprisonment, or even death, for their testimonies for Jesus Christ, and for their boldness in speaking out publicly about him, they did not give in to intimidation. They courageously responded by telling their rulers that they could not comply with their order.

For, you see, although scripture does teach us that we are to obey our leaders and rulers, i.e. those in positions of authority over us, scripture also teaches that obedience to God is foremost. In other words, if human leaders command us to do something which would be in direct disobedience to God, then we must always obey God, and not human beings.

And, this goes, too, for if our church leaders guide and lead us in the wrong direction. If they counsel or teach us something which is in direct conflict with the teachings of Christ, and of the full gospel message of our salvation, then we must follow Christ and his Word and not follow human teachers.

We need to be very discerning about all of that these days for there is much deception going on within the church, and coming from the mouths of our leaders. Thus, we should be testing what we hear against the Word of Truth to make certain that what we are listening to is truly the Word of God and not the words of humans in their deceitful scheming.

And, then we need to stand on the Word of God, and not give way to intimidation or to persecution. But, we must speak boldly in Jesus’ name, in his power and strength within us. For, there are many liars and deceivers out there who profess Christ as Savior of their lives, but who are truly wolves in sheep’s clothing. They have snuck into our churches largely unnoticed, and they are leading many of God’s people astray.

So, this is a time in history, perhaps like no other, when it is essential that we are bathing our minds with the Word of Truth so that we will discern error and manipulations of humans, and so that we will not be among those who are being led astray. But, head knowledge alone will not help us in combatting Satan’s lies. We must not only be in the Word, but we must be listening to our Lord, and then we must be doing what he teaches us, too.

My Sheep / An Original Work
June 24, 2012 / Based off John 10:1-18 NIV

My sheep hear me. They know me.
They listen to my voice and obey.
I call them and lead them.
They know my voice, so they follow me.
They will never follow strangers.
They will run away from them.
The voice of a stranger they know not;
They do not follow him.

So, I tell you the truth that
I am the gate, so you enter in.
Whoever does enter
Will find forgiveness and will be saved.
Nonetheless whoever enters
Not by the gate; other way,
He is the thief and a robber.
Listen not, the sheep to him.

Oh, I am the Good Shepherd,
Who laid his own life down for the sheep.
I know them. They know me.
They will live with me eternally.
The thief only comes to steal and
Kill and to destroy the church.
I have come to give you life that
You may have it to the full…

They know my voice, so they follow me.

Thursday, March 15, 2018, 2:03 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for this teaching from Your Word. Bring it home to our hearts, I pray, in Jesus’ name. Amen!