Friday, September 4, 2015

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday September 6, 2015

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(Pray for courage and boldness in your witness)
(Acts 4:23-31)

In Acts chapter 4, verses 23-31, we see that no sooner than Peter and John had been released by the Sanhedrin, they begin to show the heart and character that made them special and acceptable to the HOLY SPIRIT. First, in verse 23 we see that they went to find other believers, and after informing the other believers about their trials, and the threats that the Council had made to them regarding their preaching about CHRIST, they all lifted up their voices in unison in a prayer to GOD for continued courage and boldness.
One of the first life-style changes that a Christian has to make, after they have accepted CHRIST, is to stop hanging out with the old crowd, and start studying, socializing, and fellowshipping together with other believers. We do not need to go back and tempt ourselves with the old lifestyle, not even to try and convert others, until we ourselves have become rooted and grounded in the Word of GOD. We need to know how to defend the Gospel before worldly people, just as Peter and John were able to boldly do here in this chapter, and like them, oftentimes, we will have to defend the Gospel, even in, and especially in, the Church.
Secondly, we see in verse 24 that they used the power of prayer to seek strength and courage from GOD, and they always gave GOD HIS proper place at the head of their lives. All Christians need to have a strong prayer life, and clear communication with GOD. Our relationship with GOD must become an experiential and personal one if we are to expect the “special favor” and benefits that set us apart from just the “general blessings” that GOD almost automatically affords all of HIS human creation (i.e. rain, sunshine, wills that are free, sharing HIS nature, etc).
In verses 24-30 Peter, John, and all the other believers came together in unison and prayed this powerfully earnest, and humbling prayer for courage and boldness in their application and carrying out of the work of CHRIST;

“O Sovereign LORD, CREATOR of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— (25) you spoke long ago by the HOLY SPIRIT through our ancestor David, your servant, saying,
‘Why were the nations so angry?
    Why did they waste their time with futile plans?
(26) The kings of the earth prepared for battle;
    the rulers gathered together
against the LORD
    and against HIS Messiah.
(27) “In fact, this has happened here in this very city! For Herod Antipas, Pontius Pilate the governor, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel were all united against JESUS, YOUR holy servant, whom YOU anointed.
(28) But everything they did was determined beforehand according to YOUR will.
(29) And now, O LORD, hear their threats, and give us, YOUR servants, great boldness in preaching YOUR Word.
(30) Stretch out YOUR hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of YOUR holy servant JESUS.” (NLT)

Finally, in this passage, in verse 29, we see that they all recognized from WHOM their strength came, and they asked for courage and boldness to continue to preach the Gospel to a world that was totally adverse to all that JESUS stood for. After this prayer the building they were in shook, and they were all filled with the HOLY SPIRIT. And they indeed did preach the Word of GOD with boldness from that day forward.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website

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