This coming weekend represents such a special time for Christians. Good Friday is a time to reflect on the suffering of our Lord for our sins. Easter Sunday is a time to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and His victory over sin and death! For the first time in my 36 years of ministry, we will not be able to physically attend church, but Acts 4 gives us some great principles on how to celebrate Easter. I’m praying this Easter would be our best and most impactful yet!
The whole chapter of Acts 4 is about boldly telling others about Jesus (v. 13, 29, 31). In the first four verses we learn that Peter and John were thrown in jail because they were teaching about the resurrection of Jesus. They were proclaiming hope and many were believing. This week, instead of wasting our words and complaining about not being able to meet together, let’s use our breath to invite others to join us online. Boldly is not the same as bluntly, rudely, or obnoxiously. Boldly just means confidently, courageously, without fear of rejection. We are not trying to win an argument. We are trying to win souls. Peter and John had done “an act of kindness” (v. 9). They were “unschooled, ordinary men” but people “took note that these men had been with Jesus” (v. 13). You don’t have to be clever or sophisticated, just be kind and winsome. We all have something in common right now, COVID-19! Paul said, “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power” (1 Cor. 2:4). Boldly invite and pray the Holy Spirit will use it!
In verses 23-31, we read how the church prayed. They did not pray as a last resort. They prayed about the threat, for God’s power and God’s will, for courage, boldness, and healing. This is what the first century church prayed for and that is what we in the twenty-first century are praying for! Look at the problem and you will be filled with panic/fear. Look to God and you will have peace/faith. Pray for your neighbors and friends this week. Pray for your one. Pray that this Easter would be the day of salvation for many!
“All the believers were one in heart and mind” (v. 32). They shared so that no one among them was needy and they “continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus” (v. 33). We may not be able to gather in one place, but we can still meet needs and be of one heart and mind. We can pray for business owners who are carrying a heavy burden, for those who have lost jobs or hours, and for those who are suffering. We are praying that God will give you great grace. “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work” (2 Cor. 9:8). God is able to make ALL grace abound to you. Whatever you need, whenever you need it, wherever you need it, God is able. God’s grace can get you through! If you have a need, or if you want to meet a need, go to www.libertylive.church/coronarelief and let us know.
The last two verses in Acts 4 read, “Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.” Joseph/Barnabas was named by his actions. What would your nickname be? Barnabas went on to assist Paul in being accepted by the disciples. He encouraged the new believers at Antioch and went with Paul on the first missionary journey. He salvaged Mark’s ministry when Paul turned him away, and Mark went on to write the gospel that bears his name. In Acts 4 he gave a piece of land to the church to help those in need. Every individual can do something. Together we can make a difference. This week, let’s all do our own part to meet needs, to pray for those around us, and to invite others to join us online this Easter. Tammy and I love you and we are praying for you! Looking forward to a great Easter weekend!