I am going to let you on a little secret. This secret is not really a secret but is something that will become more and more evident as you read through the book of Acts. The Holy Spirit will not be stopped! No matter how much opposition there is or the potential of inward corruption, the Holy Spirit will keep moving forward and nothing is going to stop the growth the of the Kingdom! If we have this truth in our perspective than no matter how long of process we are in getting rid of old habits or trying to expand God’s kingdom, we can be at peace because we know that the Holy Spirit is gonna make it all come together sooner or later. God doesn’t leave half-finished projects or promises but is always faithful to its completion and fulfillment. So take heart today that God is not done with you and that God has much more that we wants to work in you, through you, and around you!
12 Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon's Portico.
The miracles were not simply experienced by the believers but that the people of the community were exposed to it frequently. We have to ask ourselves if we are constantly exposing the Kingdom culture to our friends and people we interact with daily or are we just keeping the blessing to ourselves?
TAKE AWAY: As the Spirit wishes to move out and seek the lost are we hindering his plans of expansion by focusing on our own blessings? Let us practice a lifestyle of Christianity and let the Holy Spirit move through you beyond church gatherings and walls.
13 None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem.
The Apostles were heading into the Lion’s den by speaking and healing in the religious leaders’ HQ, which was the temple! Knowing what these religious leaders are capable of, some of the believers decided not to join but respect the movement from a distance. They will live for the name but only if it was within reason and it shows us that the move of the Holy Spirit will at times move in areas beyond your reason and comfort zone! Despite the danger, the Apostles went ahead and in verse fourteen we see great breakthrough as many people became saved. In the eyes of the world it would make sense to not put yourself in unnecessary danger but to play it safe but when the Holy Spirit wishes to minister to broken people we must follow or we will miss out! It is in these moments where even amongst believers, there will be those who will have the crazy testimonies and those who have ideas of what a Christian lifestyle of total obedience is like!
TAKE AWAY: Don’t admire the Holy Spirit and His ministry from a distance! Choose to be in the middle of it by choosing to follow the direction of the Holy Spirit! Choose to wake up everyday and making it a point to be open to the Holy Spirit and seeking His presence constantly through prayer and the word.
15 so that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. 16 The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed.
Jesus proclaimed in Luke 6:40 that a student will become like his teacher. Peter’s ministry experience is mirroring that of Jesus’ and it is revealing the fact that Peter is truly a follower of Jesus because his life is starting to look like his teacher’s! How much our lives reflect the life of Jesus is going to reveal the level of how much Jesus is Lord of our lives. Therefore, if we are to look at our day and realize that we have not been like Jesus at all, then we have to ask ourselves why we did not make Jesus our Lord today? This is different from trying and failing because the intention and pursuit of reflecting Jesus is there but I am talking about trying. Are you even trying? If Jesus is not Lord over all then He is Lord over none in your life because He is an all-or-nothing kind of guy.
TAKE AWAY: Are you reflecting your teacher Jesus Christ or not? Those who call Jesus Lord and Savior cannot not help but begin to look like Him as they get to know him more everyday!
18 they arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison. 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, 20 “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.”
They were set free with a purpose. God didn’t free them just for the sake of freedom but for the sake of freedom alone but that in the midst of that freedom to fulfill the mission given unto them. To be free in the Spirit is to be free to fulfill your purpose in that there are no more obstacles in your way to carry out God’s will for your life. The Holy Spirit is moving forward and keeps inviting the Apostles to continue the mission of evangelism because there are so many people that are still under the chains of sin because they don’t know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
The mission that the Apostles received upon release was to actually go back and do the very same thing that landed them in jail because the Holy Spirit wanted them to continue to preach the word of God and heal in the place where people are in slavery to religion and not free through relationship. The temple has become a place where God was not located but tradition keeps memories of God there. When we look at church or church gatherings, are we hosting the current living presence of God or simply memories of God? Do we worship the the God of winter retreat or the God of today? For the temple that Peter and John was sent to, they were going to a place where God is a memory but not a reality and there are people who need to be set free.
TAKE AWAY: We have been set free from sin and death through Christ to spread the name of Christ! Let all of our deeds and actions point to the living love of God for there is no other way of being saved!