All of Christ for All of Life
Grace Alone, Faith Alone, Christ Alone

21 January 2021 – Acts 4:23-31

When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. [24] And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,

“‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers were gathered together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed’—

for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness. – Acts 4:23-31 (ESV)

Throughout the book of Acts we are struck by the boldness of the early Christians – particularly of the Apostles. Where did this boldness come from? We are told in several places that this boldness was the direct result of their being filled with the Holy Spirit. It is also worth contemplating how this boldness was grounded in the conviction that God was absolutely sovereign over every detail of the universe. R.C. Sproul writes:

The early church had no debates about Calvinism and Arminianism. There wasn’t an Arminian to be found in the early church. Every Christian believed in the sovereignty of God, and they believed in it absolutely. They never negotiated the sovereignty of God, because Jesus revealed exactly who God is and the power of the Almighty against all the machinations of the people of the world. The early church saw all the displays of power on the part of the ruling authorities as nothing. Just a few weeks before this, God’s Son had been delivered into their hands for execution, but it had all been decreed beforehand by God. Our Lord Jesus would not have suffered a scratch through the conspiracy of human enemies against Him were it not for the determinate counsel of the Father, who ordained from all eternity that the Son should suffer at the hands of wicked men for our sake.

MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 40
Q. 40. What did God at first reveal to man for the rule of his obedience?
A. The rule which God at first revealed to man for his obedience was the moral law.