Chapter Four — Part Four: The Book of Acts

By: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne

Publish date: 04/11/2021

Foundation Scriptures:
Acts 4:21-24

1. Threats.
a. Acts 4:21-22 NKJV — So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done. 22 For the man was over forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.
b. The religious leaders did not fear God, but they feared the reaction of the crowd, so they let them go.
c. The same crowd the Pharisees whipped up, to call for the crucifixion of Jesus, would have now turned back on them in a heartbeat.
d. The crowd is not always right, but in this case, they embraced Truth—they saw the mighty works of God and believed the anointed words of Peter.
e. The council did not want the Gospel message to spread and were hoping that it would just die out naturally.
f. Which is why they threatened them to stop preaching and teaching in the Name of Jesus.
g. This is exactly what the devil wants—for us to shut up and not talk about Jesus.
h. So many people, who never share the Gospel with others, do not need threats from outside—they have already succumbed to fear and the lies of the enemy in their own heads.
i. We are commanded to open our mouths and share the Gospel.
j. Romans 10:14-15 NKJV — How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent?

2. To Stand or Not to Stand.
a. It is evident, as we see later, that Peter was not intimidated by these threats.
b. We all need to follow the apostles’ example, and make every decision based on if something is right—not if it is safe or if it is popular.
c. If you are going to make a stand against governments and councils, make sure you do it based only on a clear word from God’s Word.
d. Peter already had his Word from God (Acts 1:8; Mark 16:15-20) and this is our Word too.
e. Plus, he—as we all should be—was strongly motivated by his love for Christ and his love for people (Rom. 5:5; 2 Cor. 5:11, 14).
f. As we see, from Peter, and Daniel, and the three Hebrew boys, and the Hebrew midwives in Moses’ day, etc.; it is possible to be respectful and courteous toward authorities, even as you defy the laws they have made.
g. Never make a stand based upon rebellion, anger, or frustration.
h. And be prepared, with all humility, to accept the consequences.
i. Always remember, first submit to God, and then resist the devil (James 4:7).
j. Stand up for Jesus and He will stand up for you!

3. Own Company.
a. Acts 4:23 KJV — And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them.
b. Who is your “own company”?
c. We can see here how important the “ekklesia” is—the assembly, the Church.
d. It is vital for us to gather together—to know one another, to support one another; to stand together in love, respect, and unity.
e. We all need to belong to a community of godly believers, who show us grace and speak Truth, who are available to pray with us and for us, and who encourage us in our faith.
f. Iron sharpens iron!
g. Proverbs 27:17 ERV — As one piece of iron sharpens another, so friends keep each other sharp.
h. We may be the Body of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit and carry His presence with us wherever we are—but we still need one another.
i. The Father has designed it so.

4. Powerful Prayers.
a. Acts 4:24a KJV — And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord…
b. How vital it is that we humble ourselves to come together in unity, and in one accord, for the sake of the Gospel and the purposes of God!
c. How powerful is the prayer of the righteous—prayed in the Name of Jesus—in agreement and faith!
d. These are the prayers that the Father is more than happy to answer.
e. Division in the Church causes us to be robbed of spiritual power and hinders our prayers.
f. But the gates of hell cannot prevail against a unified Church!
g. Acts 4:24b KJV — …they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is.
h. The first thing they did was to humble themselves before Almighty God; and praise Him and lift him up.
i. They acknowledged Him as Creator and the Lord of all creation.
j. They acknowledged His preeminence, His power, His authority, and His ability.
k. Those, who come to God, must come in faith, believing that HE IS (and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him) (Romans 11:6).
l. He is the GREAT I AM!
m. Know, and believe, that He is both able and willing to answer your prayers.
n. It is so important for us to see, and believe in, the bigness of God and the smallness of the enemy.
o. If we want our prayers to be answered, we must pray according to God’s will—which means according to God’s Word.
p. John 15:7 NKJV — If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
q. An effective prayer is not a prayer that tells God what He needs to do.
r. But it is a prayer to ask the Lord to do His will in us and through us.
s. 1 John 5:14-15 NKJV — Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.