What A Prayer Meeting!

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Acts 4:23-37

23 When they had been released, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 And when they heard this, they lifted their voices to God with one accord and said, “O [a]Lord, it is You who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them, 25 who by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David Your servant, said,

‘Why did the [b]Gentiles rage,
And the peoples devise futile things?
26 ‘The kings of the earth [c]took their stand,
And the rulers were gathered together
Against the Lord and against His [d]Christ.’

27 For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy [e]servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the [f]Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur. 29 And [g]now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, 30 while You extend Your hand to heal, and [h]signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy [i]servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.

Sharing among Believers

32 And the [j]congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them [k]claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them. 33 And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all. 34 For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the [l]proceeds of the sales 35 and lay them at the apostles’ feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need.

36 Now Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of [m]Encouragement),37 and who owned a tract of land, sold it and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.


Discussion Questions

December 9, 2018

1. In verses 24-26 the Jerusalem church responded to Peter and John's trial with the Temple officials with PRAYER, quoting Psalm 146:6 and Psalm 2:1-2 about God's power in creation and how the nations (Gentiles) rage against the Lord. WHAT DOES THIS SAY ABOUT THE JERUSALEM CHRISTIANS' STARTING PLACE IN PRAYING ABOUT THEIR PERSECUTION?

2. In verses 27-28 the prayer now focuses on their present condition of persecution from Herod (a Jewish king) and Pilate (the Gentile Roman governor) as a "purpose predestined" by God. WHY DO WE NOT TREAT SAD AND UNFORTUNATE EXPERIENCES AS "PREDESTINED" BY GOD?

3. In verses 29-30 the early Christians FINALLY ask for something, petitioning God to "take note" of the threats against them, and to "grant" that they "may speak Thy word with all confidence, while Thou dost extend Thy hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Thy holy servant Jesus." HOW DOES THIS COMPARE WITH WHAT WE PRAY FOR WHEN WE ARE PERSECUTED? HOW CAN WE LEARN FROM THIS?

4. Verses 32-37 show an amazing unity and sharing among these early believers. HOW WOULD YOU RESPOND TO AN INDIVIDUAL WHO SAID YOU SHOULD FOLLOW THEIR EXAMPLE AND SELL ANY PROPERTY YOU OWN AND GIVE IT TO OTHERS IN NEED IN YOUR CHURCH? WHAT SCRIPTURE WOULD YOU USE TO SUPPORT YOUR ANSWER?