Always With Jesus Christ

They were convinced by him [Gamaliel], and when they had called in the apostles, they had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the Name of Jesus, and let them go. As they left the council, they rejoiced that they were considered worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the Name. And every day in the temple and at home they did not cease to teach and proclaim Jesus as the Messiah. Acts 5:40-42

This flogging is thirty nine stripes, only one less than death. They ordered Jesus flogged too. Peter and John leave the council with heartfelt words of praise to Jesus Christ, for it is honor to suffer for the sake of Jesus. They go right back to teaching in the temple as God has assuredly directed them to witness.

At temple they tell others what Jesus does, what He says, of the miracles and His compassionate Love, how He shows us all of God through His perfect obedience to God. Each time they tell the truthful facts of Jesus then they tell of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and His appearances to them post-Resurrection. Christ’s Presence is alive.

People are hungry to hear about Him and to take Him as their Lord and Savior, desirous of Baptism. Folks are seeking Jesus Christ and immediately find Him and the joyous union of the fellowship of believers is contagious because now they are always with Jesus Christ’s alive Presence.

Christ is with you, within New Testament Scriptures. With Christ in your heart your eyes are opened to the activity of Christ in and around you by the power of the Holy Spirit. Speak boldly about Jesus Christ and be blessed. He will guard your life as you put your trust fully in Him. Yield yourself in long prayer time with Him and He will direct your paths in righteousness for His Name sake. Lean not on your own understanding but depend completely in Christ understanding.

Open Way To God

The high priest questioned them, saying, “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you are determined to bring this man’s blood on us.” But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than any human authority. The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging Him on a tree. God exalted Him at His right Hand as Leader and Savior that He might give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.” Acts 5:27-32

Jesus had said that the Gospel would go out first to Jerusalem and it is affirmed here. Gospel is God’s mercy and grace given to us, unmerited, as salvation in Christ is offered at all times to ones whose sins put Jesus on the tree. Jesus Christ Savior Resurrected is the true way to God. Christ opened the direct way to God for anyone who will humbly repent of their sins and take Him as Savior for life.

Peter speaks that Jesus was hung on a tree. This is correct for it was not nice straight timbers with a crossbar, it was a tree. From this tree of salvation God has exhaled Him at His right Hand. Positioned Him in authority and action, as Christ has always been and will always be perfect in Love– proven to you as He’s given His life on this tree willingly. You are to do all things with and in Christ. Jesus Christ our Lord is everything.

Jesus Christ completes the I AM … sentence spoken to Moses at the burning bush. I AM the RESURRECTION is your Savior and Lord. He breathes into you the Holy Spirit as you obey Him. Spirit is your strength, helper, and guide. Christ is alive forevermore and we cannot help but live for Him, speak up about Him, and rejoice together that we are His loved ones used by Him humbly in His service.

About A Lie— large or small

How is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You did not lie to us but to God. Acts 4:4

I read yesterday that between the ages of six and ten years old a child forms their platform for telling lies. The child will lie and see if they get away with it and proceed from there to learn to lie better or learn to stop lying. Believers know that they can never get away with a lie because God always knows. Acts 4 shows us that the majority of help from the Holy Spirit is to bond heart of the believer to Jesus Christ the Truth, thus believers are not to tell lies.

You tell the truth and live in Truth (Jesus Christ) by relying on the advocacy of the Holy Spirit to give your heart and mind instant correction.

This is a matter of your heart. Any lie, small or large, is wrong. Best example is given in Scripture today. Ananias and Sapphira sell a piece of land to give to their community of believers and yet they hold back a portion of the land’s proceeds for themselves. When Peter asks them if they are giving the entire proceeds of the land to Jesus’ community of believers they both lie and say that they are giving all, then God strikes them dead for lying.

We previously studied the book of John where Jesus says, “… there is no truth in him (the devil). When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44) Jesus speaks to hard-hearted folks who wholeheartedly reject him and are obeying their father the devil. The lie you tell is the red flag of your hard-heartedness. Any lie can align you to the devil. This is why it is wrong to lie. You are lying to God when you tell a lie.

Hand Out and Hand Up

There was a Levite, a native of Cyprus, Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”). He sold a field that belonged to him, then brought the money, and laid it at the apostles feet. Acts 4:36-37

The Holy Spirit guides you with confidence, encouragement, and is your Advocate. Joseph of Cyprus has been filled with the Holy Spirit and the apostles rename him Barnabas due to the fact that his personality has been transformed by the Holy Spirit into encouragement toward others. He is Spirit led to sell a piece of land which belonged to him and then his hands lay all the money before the apostles. This is Barnabas’ hands and heart responding to the needs of others in their believer’s community, and also it is his way of encouraging others to stand fast in the faith in Christ Resurrected.

To us, the most significant fact about Jesus is His happy, radiant, loving personality. The apostles have first-hand experience of Jesus. The apostles pattern their outreach from Jesus’ own ways. They are filled with joy and love that seeks to benefit others with our Resurrected Christ within the power of the Holy Spirit. Barnabascatches The Spirit through giving, joy of living, and free expression of his faith. The apostles are teaching this community of believers to share everything– goods, money, and faith.

Giving is a hand out and a hand up. When your hands and heart are sharing with generosity and encouragement you are doing more than meeting others needs. You are actively showing others that you have an intentional interest in their faith life because you are mirroring Christ’s light of compassionate love which is grounded in your being through the Holy Spirit. Your hands and heart reach out to help, to bless, and to heal.

How Are We To Act?

With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. Acts 4:33-35

The Resurrection of our Lord unites us in a Kingdom Principle– we share with our brothers and sisters so that needs are taken care of not only in the Spirit’s showers of blessings, but also in our generous giving. The blessings that the Spirit gives to you are the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and the gifts of the Spirit (Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, and 1 Peter 4:11) prominent in Scriptures.

All of the Holy Spirit comes to us through Jesus Christ’s Resurrection. This is your central belief upon which all of your faith centers. And then this poses the question. 1 Peter 3:8-9 answers the question: How am I to act? … have unity of Spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called– that you might inherit a blessing.

The blessing of the Holy Spirit is extended to others through you when you have spend large amounts of time in prayer with the Lord Jesus resulting in your heart being tenderized and your mind/soul becoming humbled. Like Christ humbled Himself and was Servant to the Heavenly Father for His Grand Plan, so too you are the Heavenly Father’s servant as all of you and everything you possess belongs to Christ.

You Be The One

Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the Apostles gave their testimony to the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus and great Grace was upon them all. Acts 4:32-33

Church is the place where we are of one heart and soul in Jesus Christ. There are Bible Scholars who say that this tremendous unison is impossible to achieve again in our present day and they may be right. Some who profess believing no longer go to gather with other believers with the goal of joining hearts and souls but rather to go to gather to get fast spiritual food. These folks are allowing society to seep into spirituality as the variety store Church replaces the believer’s unison in Jesus Resurrected.

When Church is convinced and convicted by the Holy Spirit then the unity Spirit gives is an understandable given– we cannot help but be absolutely convinced that all that we have belongs to our Heavenly Father and Christ’s Peace will come on earth as in Heaven when we are unified in our Resurrected Christ. The Lord shakes the very ground of our being to make it so.

Then, if you are one of the few believers in a gathering of believers who has been shaken by Holy Spirit unity the question before you is this; what is one person made completely holy by the Holy Spirit’s power to do? Like John, Peter, and believers in the early Church you are to speak boldly, act generously and compassionately, and continue to stand firm in your New Birth. Be the one to represent Christ Resurrected, living in great Grace.Lead the way to Christ’s Way.

Our Overcoming God

“And now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant to your servants to speak Your Word with all boldness, while You stretch out Your Hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the Name of Your Holy Servant Jesus.” When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word of God with boldness. Acts 4:29-31

John and Peter are released and they return to the Church to tell what happened before the authorities. The believers continue to meet head-on the threats and direct persecution of believers in Christ Resurrected. Gathering together, this Scripture is a portion of their prayer. While they do not pray that the persecution cease, they ask that they will be strengthened to endure and will be empowered to speak with boldness.

Beginning their prayer with, “Sovereign Lord who made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them, it is You who said by the Holy Spirit… ,” then using the words in Psalm 2 they launch into glorious praise and rejoicing that the threats against them are already targeted by our overcoming God. They pray for boldness to speak His Word, for the Lord Jesus Christ to heal, and that the Lord perform signs and wonders as they call on His Name.

Then the earth shakes as they are filled with the Holy Spirit! What we glean from this Scriptural witness is that we are to do the same. Our pattern of prayer may be the same with similar results. What they did then, we do now. Pray for boldness to speak His Word using the Name of Jesus Christ resulting in healing, signs and wonders, and be Spirit filled!

Can’t Help But Talk About Jesus

So they called them and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the Name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in God’s sight to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge for we cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:19-20

So they let Peter and John go because there were hundreds of people praising God and thanking Him for His Son Jesus Christ Resurrected. Christ’s alive Holy Presence had filled those who were praising and by the power of the Holy Spirit they experienced Jesus’ Presence powerfully firsthand. It was glorious and it still is glorious today!

We would hope that the council of the Sanhedrin would have hearts softened by this but they refused Christ’s Presence, the Holy Spirit. Their hearts were so hard and their necks so stiff. Peter and John and those praising God were not to be silenced because as Peter says, “… we cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

As you are witness to the alive Presence of Christ in your life, have you the same statement– that you cannot help but talk about Christ, praise Christ, and share Christ with others around you? Christianity is contagious. We cannot help ourselves. We have to talk about what we are seeing and hearing. Miracles and awesome Holy Spirit events surround us and we cannot be quiet about how Christ is blessing and giving!

Use This Compassion

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, let it be know to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God Raised from the dead. Acts 4:8-10

Peter speaks to those who have put Jesus on the Cross of crucifixion and first advises them that Jesus Christ Resurrected is alive and in the business of healing and more importantly redemption. Peter has said his prayers for those who rejected Jesus. Like Jesus on the Cross who said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do,” Peter has prayed this prayer too. How do we know this?

Because Peter is compassionately speaking at this Divine Appointment to offer the Good News to these wicked people; he delivers this important message to save souls by clarifying the Grand Plan of God in Jesus Christ Resurrected; and Peter is USING the Holy Spirit’s tremendously great compassion to bring all the people of the world to know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord!

My friend, let Peter’s Spirit-filled words be your words. Peter says, “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other Name under Heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.” (v. 12) Then these wicked people realize that they are uneducated and ordinary people, they are amazed, and they do nothing in opposition because their hearts are convicted. Peter, and John, are committed to Christ with confidence!! This is how we live each day committed to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Holy Spirit Hearing

While Peter and John were speaking to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came to them, much annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming that in Jesus there is the Resurrection of the dead. So they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. But many of those who heard the Word believed; and they numbered about five thousand. Acts 4:1-4

Peter has seen Jesus Christ Resurrected, he is a first-hand witness, and every sermon he preaches now points to His Resurrection. The huge numbers of Jews that accept Christ into their lives and are Baptized occurs because they hear him preach this Good News (the Messiah has come to us) and the living Presence of Christ embraces the hearts of those who give their whole selves to Him.

Through the words of Peter, the Holy Spirit introduces Jesus Christ’s Presence to non-believers and they readily accept Him. There is joy, peace, hope, and spiritual cleansing occurring within all of these new believers. These 5000 go home to tell their families at the dinner table and their families become believers. Again, here we see the Church come alive because of the Holy Spirit’s activity!

Spirit activity continues throughout generations so that one day every knee will bow to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Through Peter’s preaching the understanding of God’s Grand Plan is revealed and people see with their hearts and now listen to the Spirit to direct their lives. This is monumental as the family of Christ grows today too. For, it is vital that you are fed Spiritually with your Scriptures, the life experiences you have with Spirit, listening to Bible based preaching that includes Resurrection Good News, and Spirit led reasoning to make righteous choices in your life which influence others for Christ.