“Let us not neglect our church meetings, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:25 (TLB)
Yesterday we looked at the courage that Peter and John had in the face of intimidating threats, persecution and imprisonment. We witnessed how the Holy Spirit emboldened these men to take a stand that was politically incorrect when they shared the Gospel and spoke in the name of Jesus. If you continue reading the story, you discover one of the other secrets that gave these men the ability to stand. It’s found in Acts 4:23, “On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them.”
I love that verse! It tells me that we can stand fearless and determined if we stand together! Imagine the encouragement these men received when they gathered with fellow believers and reported all that had happened to them. Those they gathered with stood with them! They supported them, and together they all stood before God in prayer. They understood that the threats from the religious leaders were not just against Peter and John, but against them all! This was a critical time for the infant church! If Satan could stop these men, he could silence the church! How we respond to the defining moments in our lives will determine our destiny and our legacy.
Peter and John didn’t run and hide. They were not ashamed of the trouble they were in. They knew that others would stand with them. I love the phrase in that verse that says, “Peter and John went back to their own people. ….” That’s the power of standing together! After they reported what happened, the Bible says, “…all the believers lifted their voices together in prayer to God….” It was a bold prayer acknowledging the threats they had received and asking God to pour out even more miraculous demonstrations of His power and give them even greater boldness to proclaim His name.
There’s a synergism in standing together. The Bible says that God is present when two or three gather in His name and that He inhabits the praises of His people. It’s no surprise then that the heart of God was thrilled with His people, and He heard their prayer. I love this part. Acts 4:31 (NLT) says, “After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness.”
Nothing delights the heart of God more than when His people are united sharing the same vision and mission! Nothing can stop that kind of church from growing, not even the gates of hell! This story teaches us a profound truth:
IF WE STAND FEARLESS, STAND DETERMINED AND STAND TOGETHER, THEN WHAT WE DO WILL STAND FOREVER!
We have the Gospel today because in their defining moment these men took their stand. As we stand together we will pass our hope to the next generation!