Pastor Steve set aside his notes for his Genesis sermon today to preach a message based on Acts 4. And, to call attention what happened just before that, when people came forward for prayer. A woman in the congregation got a word of knowledge about someone whose foot needed healing; during prayer an elder got a word of knowledge about a woman having problems with her esophagus. That turned out to be the same woman who had received the word of knowledge.
Steve said we need a desperate, hungry heart for God. Calling what had just happened a “prophetic moment,” he noted that gifts of the Spirit are intended for someone else’s benefit. The disadvantage we face today is living in a Bible Belt culture that thinks it already knows what the spiritual life looks like—often rooted in fond memories of VBS and church basements.
“The more I’m a pastor the less I think I know what that looks like,” Steve said. “I desire what God wants us to be: to demonstrate the reality of Jesus Christ. That expresses itself in a walk of holiness. The world needs to see people who know God and trust God, in faith and action and not just confined to church services.”
What that looks like appears in verses 24 and 29, he said. First, the disciples appeal to a sovereign God, and then they ask Him to grant them the power to speak His Word with boldness. This hit him like a sledgehammer a few years ago while preaching through Acts and realizing they were acknowledging without the Holy Spirit on their life, they would never be bold.
Even after Peter preached boldly in Acts 2, not long after denying even knowing Jesus, years later Peter denied associating with Gentiles because he was afraid of what other Jews would say.
“I must acknowledge I need Him every day,” Steve said. “Peter knew he needed to petition God, ‘Fill me with boldness or I will go right back to the campfire and I will deny Christ.’ This changes my perception of prayer. I used to think I had to do something and release God into the atmosphere. (But) that is not what they prayed. I need His help every day.”
The disciples were praying this way just three days after Peter and John had healed a lame man, which shows how we’re not in charge. We aren’t “superheroes” but merely vessels. Whether someone gets healed or not, we simply should keep praying.
“God’s plan is prayer,” Steve said. “When we feel we’re in charge and it doesn’t work, and we made all these mistakes, you get paralyzed. You not concerned if people are healed or not healed. You seek the Lord.”