Taken Holy Hold

So in the present case, I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; because if this plan or undertaking is of human origin it will fail; but if it is of God you will not be able to over throw them– in that case you may even be found fighting against God. Acts 5:38-39

These words are spoken by Gamiliel, a respected religious teacher of Jesus’ time who was also Paul’s teacher. Gamiliel moves forward to speak, not in defense of the apostles, but say if temple authorities leave these believers alone they will either flourish or flounder. This temple group does not have eyes to see Christ within John and Peter for it is Christ’s Good News that flourishes.

The Living Presence of Victorious Christ within believer’s hearts and minds has already taken Holy hold. This is not a movement of people joining a just cause but it is people, one by one, giving themselves in humble surrender to Jesus Christ as their lives are joyously and gloriously locked into Him.

Jesus Christ’s victory was at Resurrection! His Victory frees you. Just as the Angel freed Peter and John from jail so we are freed by Christ from sin’s bonds holding us captive. The tempter has no power over you. You belong to Christ. Christ in your heart frees you to stand firm for Him, take action in His Name, and uphold His Love in this world as primary and foremost in all you say, do, and are.

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.

Message About This Life

Then the high priest took action; he and all who were with him (that is, the sect of the Sadducees), being filled with jealousy, arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison. But during the night an Angel of the Lord opened the prison doors, brought them out, and said, “Go, stand in the temple and tell the people the whole message about this Life.” When they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and went on with their teaching. Acts 5:17-21

Jealousy in the Sadducees leads the persecution of Christians now. (Formerly, the Pharisees led the persecution of Jesus.) The Good News of Jesus Christ’s Resurrection must get to the hearts of those in all walks of life and Peter preaches the Resurrection as disciple John confirms believer’s into Jesus. Our Heavenly Father sends an Angel to free them from prison and instructs them to go back to His people (the Gentiles, the Jews, the seekers) and affirms the Holy Spirit will fill new believer’s hearts.

The new believers learn of the everlasting Life in Jesus which begins the moment one accepts Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Those in the temple are there waiting with expectation, hope, and the need for Jesus. Expectation and the Spirit’s outpouring comes to every gathering of believers who expectantly worship and adore Jesus Christ. To learn about and use Jesus Christ’s Life giving words and Presence cause the believers to rejoice as He permanently enters their lives.

The Apostles go on with their Resurrection teaching as the Spirit strengthens and assures them, entering the temple at daybreak. Daybreak speaks to their discovery that the tomb was empty and Jesus Christ Resurrected defeated death, stomped on evil’s head, and gloriously sparks up the Light of His Presence in believer’s hearts. Be assured by the Spirit that Christ’s Presence is yours to guard you from jealousy and evil as you are instructed here to stand and tell of Life in Christ’s compassionate Love.

Fit Us For Heaven

Yet more than ever believers were added to the Lord, great numbers of both men and women, so that they even carried out the sick into the streets, and laid them on cots and mats, in order that Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he came by. Acts 5:14-15

Seekers of Christ come also from nearby towns bringing the sick and those tormented by unclean spirits to be healed as they are cured by Jesus Christ our Lord. Through separate records we know that by 300 A.D. there are over a million Christians in the Roman Empire (Peter dies 64 A.D.). Peter has the Spirit Gifts in their fullness and Christ uses him to show His glorious Love. As the original disciples taught new disciples, these have been handed down to us generationally.

Peter, James, and John were in the inner circle of Jesus and have firsthand spiritual experiences with Jesus to witness to and share with new believers. New believers listen intently and pass exact stories on to one another. Men and women come to believe in Resurrected Christ through Peter’s sharing and healing prayers. The Presence of Christ through the Holy Spirit is so pure that even Peter’s shadow passing over a sick person prompts the Spirit to gift Christ’s healing.

Peter has abundant zest for being true to the Savior Jesus! He has already experienced the surge of spirituality from amazing Grace– Jesus forgave him three times for his thrice denial during Jesus’ unjust arrest and trial. So we ask, what is Peter doing that you and other believers can do in service for Christ? Fit people for heaven (like Peter does), on earth and hereafter, by zestfully bringing all into the Love of Christ Jesus’ Holy Presence.

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!