This is the second big spirit filling prayer meeting in the book of Acts. The scene is that the Apostles have been commanded by authorities to stop preaching. Their response is a bold, "no"!! My points will be:
1. When expansion of the Gospel is threatened, the first response is Prayer. To support this I will quote 1 Timothy 2;1 - Pray for everyone everywhere. And I will quote John Wesley who said, "God does nothing but in answer to prayer".
2. Prayer is necessary when the obstacles are great. Here, I will begin to talk about the reality of the obstacles we face today. My text is verses 25-26 which says "why do the nations rage and plot a vain thing against the Lord and His Christ".
a. many people today have hateful bigotry against the church and Christianity.
i. Angry people are irrational.
- Irrational arguments against the bible.
- Irrational attacks on the role of the church in history.
We need to not be naive. People are not rational about religion. The answer is not to attempt a rational argument but to PRAY for power and preach boldly.
I will inevitably give the example of irrational views of America in the world and the need for a positive and triumphant view of the church's role in the world. This is the essence of our job to make Jesus' name praised.
3. Prayer is an act of support for the troops. In this passage, Peter turns to "his own" translated his friends for support. He finds this support in prayer. This week at our bible study, we ended the time of worship and I started to speak and one person interrupted the time and just asked to pray for me. This was a great act of support and love. Praise the Lord.
4. Effective Prayer utilizes Good Theology. "sovereign Lord, creator of heaven and earth..." We must think big thoughts of God if we are to pray with Holy Optimism!!!
5. Effective prayer makes its case to God using scripture. To this I will exhort people to biblical literacy and scripture memory. I will also speak of my experience with the Holy Spirit in prayer and how the Spirit helps us in prayer by bringing to our minds scripture. I have been in some very passionate prayer meetings in my life.
6. Prayer for the expansion of God's kingdom ends in Boldness. God's means will always be preaching.
7. Boldness is a result of being filled with the Holy Spirit.
- It is the filling of the Spirit as a conscious experience of God's participation in our life that explains Peter's new found boldness after his cowardice at the end of the Gospels.
This is one of the great beauties of the bible it speaks about us. This expereince of God's presence efecting our boldness and our natural cowardice is Peter's story and ours. So intimate and real!!! Just a big WOW!!
I will edit this later, as I have a visitor God Bless,