ACTS of the Apostles
Wednesday, May 4
ACTS of the Apostles
Learning How to be Daring and Dynamic
Read Acts 5:17-42
Focus Verse: Acts 5:25
And someone came and told them, “Look! The men you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people.”
So far this week we have covered Acts chapter 5, and it certainly has been ACTion packed:
Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit,
Peter healed many in Jesus' name,
and "more than ever, believers were added to the Lord" (v.14).
Because of all this activity and because of the power of the apostles' teaching, we once again, in today's reading, see that the religious leaders adamantly opposed these Christ followers. They arrested the apostles (all of them) and put them into public prison...BUT, in the middle of the night an angel of the Lord unlocked the prison doors and brought them out, giving them this command, "Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life" (v. 20). Here is yet another miracle in ACTS...an angelic-led prison break...so that the apostles could continue to spread the gospel.
I don't think it was a coincidence that today, also in my quiet time, I read these words in my Open Doors daily prayer guide: "Nine believers were given 5-year sentences for 'acting against national security' because they were members of house churches. The Iranian Supreme Court has ordered new trials for them. Pray that these believers will be freed."
First of all, can we each stop a moment and pray for these people, and many who are like them around the world, who are imprisoned for their faith in Christ? Ask God for miraculous freedom, just like in Acts 5. These are our brothers and sisters.
And secondly, I want to state the obvious:
Soul Sisters, WE are NOT imprisoned.
We have the amazing privilege of holding God's book in our laps, of saying the name of Jesus out loud, of gathering together on-line, of meeting together "on land"-- we can do all these things with very little opposition (yet).
What are we doing with our present-day freedom? Can we, like the apostles, who were freed from their prison cell, go and stand in our divinely-appointed places and speak of the good news of Jesus? The apostles did this even in the midst of opposition. Although they were freed by the angel, they were judged and then beaten by the religious leaders. After their flogging (most likely 39 lashes), "the apostles left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for (Jesus') name. And *every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus" (v 41-42). *Notice the words "every day"!
The truth of Christ can prevail through us just like long ago in Acts! Let's take advantage of our freedom by choosing to be daring and dynamic in some way today. Ask God to give you a divine thought and then ask him to give you the Spirit's boldness to follow through with it.
We are free...to share the name of Jesus. Will you?
Bring my soul out of prison, so I can praise your name (Psalm 142:7).