SERIES: The Book of Acts
TEXT: Acts 4:23-31
MESSAGE: “An Authentic Faith”
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“Called to be a separate and distinct people, our call is to the ‘narrow’ rather than the ‘broad’ way. For followers of Jesus, the voice of the people must never be taken as the voice of God.” — Os Guinness
In today’s text we see three marks of an authentic faith. 
(1. Accepting Adversity 2. Drawing Near 3. Extraordinary Resilience)
  1. Accepting Adversity (v. 23)
When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them.
“…they were released…” — released from what?
This reminds us of what happened to them in v. 3 — And they arrested them and put them in custody…” — Why? For doing good & sharing Jesus
Our vision is so limited we can hardly imagine a love that does not show itself in protection from suffering…. The love of God did not protect His own Son…. He will not necessarily protect us – not from anything it takes to make us like His Son. A lot of hammering and chiseling and purifying by fire will have to go into the process.” ~ Elisabeth Elliot
  1. Drawing Near (v. 24-26; 28)
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, 25 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 26 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed’28 do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.”
“It is God’s creation, and so God’s lordship is the highest court of appeal. So the disciples pray for God’s aid, not in destroying the enemy but for their own role andmission in his world.” — Darrell Bock
  1. Extraordinary Resilience (v. 29-31)
“And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 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.”
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” — James 1:2-4
“…God’s work must always be done in God’s way to see results that are worthy of God’s reality and greatness.” — Os Guinness
TAKEAWAYS: How do we live courageously right now?
  • Apply God’s Word — the early believers are actively applying God’s truth to their fear/uncertainty. Look at what they prayed…
“Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:2 “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?3 Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. 4 “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. 5 Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it?6 On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, 7 when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” — Job 38:2-7
  • See God’s Hand
  • Trust God’s Heart
“God knows our situation; He will not judge us as if we had no difficulties to overcome. What matters is the sincerity and perseverance of our will to overcome them.” — C.S. Lewis
Jesus answered them, ‘Do you now believe? 32 Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” — John 16:31-33