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Brightening Our Light – Acts 4:1-37

Updated: Dec 4, 2019

April 7th, 2013

INTRODUCTION – Thursday morning at 1:30 fumbling to find my cell phone…. finally had to turn my little bedside lamp on to find it at which point I was greatly relieved somehow– but my poor wife sat straight up in bed and …..

Sometimes when the light of Christ invades the darkness of people who do not yet know the Lord it jolts and shakes them. Sometimes they greatly resent it, but without this precious light – individuals are at the mercy of the Destroyer, and by the way he has no mercy.

Without this light – families crumble; communities are torn apart by all the things darkness specializes in like crime and addictions and greed and exploitation of the weak and vulnerable. Without the light of Christ there is no hope that anything can ever be different than it presently is.

One thing some of us have realized in this process and conversation we just went through as a congregation as to whether we should change our name to “Lighthouse” is – that while we could be a greater light than we are: for over 30 years we have been a consistent instrument of light in this region.

Today we are going to learn from the early church’s example – how our light can be more effective and more powerful. But with a focus on the whole body of Christ – the whole church in our coastal region – Los Osos, Morro Bay and Cayucos (and we’ll throw Atascadero in there since we have two families joining with us in these days). Why is that? Because – the light of any one congregation is totally insufficient to penetrate and push back the darkness of a whole city or region. If we really want our light to increase in power and effectiveness – we have to not only work on our own congregation – – but also work on or at least pray for the wider church in our cities.

6 lessons from Acts ch. 4 – – Here’s the first lesson or principle: I. The light is brightest when we expect and gladly receive all responses to our witness – vs. 1-7

A. Jesus Christ told His disciples before He was crucified two things that they should expect.

1. They would do greater things than even He did (Jn. 14:12).

2. Some would hate them as much as they hated Jesus; and would persecute them just like they persecuted Jesus. (Jn. 15:18-20)

B. Some – especially power holders & Gov’t. or Civic leaders or even religious leaders of a community– will reject us. They like their authority, power and control over the people, and don’t relish the thought of giving it over to someone else…vs. 1-3 & 5-7. Very possible that Saul of Tarsus was among them.

C. Some – will respond to our message in faith – vs. 4 Many did with Peter. More will in our region as our light brightens. They have to hear the message to believe (vs. 4) II Cor. 2:15 “..We are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. …” Prayer for this in our region:

II. The light is brightest when we are crystal clear to the world of our source/inspiration – vs. 8-12 A. People don’t just naturally connect the dots. Many still believe we are just good, straight, morally upright people.

B. If we are truly filled with the Holy Spirit (vs. 8) we will speak of Jesus – vs. 8-12 because He is the “Spirit of Jesus” (Acts 16:7) & “Spirit of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:19)

C. Peter didn’t just speak His name; he also spoke of His works and person

1. Nazarene;

2. Whom you crucified;

3. Whom God raised from the dead;

4. He is the Stone (connected Him to prophecy)..

5. Salvation in no one else (He is supreme or preeminent – – He is not one of many – – He is the only one)

Prayer for this in our region:

III. The light is brightest when our confidence & God’s miracles are evident – vs. 13-16; 21,22 A. Not flashiness or eloquence was noticed, but confidence/assurance – vs. 13

B. As much as they wanted to, they couldn’t explain away the healed man standing there in their midst – vs. 14-16 Thank God when He heals someone’s hangnail or headache, but when he heals a man who has been totally lame for over 40 years, that gets noticed! And that’s the kind of miracles we need to see more of in our region.

Prayer for this in our region:

IV. The light is brightest when we do not cower or wilt under civil gov’t’s threats & unrighteous laws– vs. 17-20, 31 A. When gov’t orders or laws cause us to have to disobey God’s orders or laws – a line must be drawn in the sand who would you say is most trying to shut us up in these days?

B. A lot easier to obey when you have seen and heard Him & His kingdom, and it is not just head knowledge (vs. 20)

Prayer for this in our region:

V. The light is brightest when the church devotes itself to prayer – vs. 23-30 A. Persecution carries far less weight when the burden is shared by our brothers and sisters – vs. 23

B. Prayer always starts with worship, praise and thanksgiving – Psalm 100: 4

C. Once we have clear vision of who He is, then we are ready to ask – – vs. 29,30

D. Didn’t just ask for protection and prosperity; but for confidence in their witness & God to heal and do miracles through them

Prayer for this in our region:

VI. The light is brightest when the members of the church learn to love and care for one another– vs. 32-37

A. Selfless united sharing in the body – vs. 32

B. Great power in proclamation – vs. 33

C. Abundant grace (enabling power) was upon them all (not just the superstars) – vs. 33

D. No poverty or homelessness or deep indebtedness among them – vs. 34 E. Great spontaneous generosity and self sacrifice for the greater good – vs. 34,35

Prayer for this in our region:

CONCLUSION – Ex. of body of Christ in our region and Alanna

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