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Can People Tell That You Have Been With Jesus?

Acts 4: 23-31

“After Peter and John were released, they returned to their own [people] and reported everything that the chief priests and elders had said to them. And when they heard it, they raised their voices together to God and said, “O Sovereign Lord [having complete power and authority], it is You who MADE THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH AND THE SEA, AND EVERYTHING THAT IS IN THEM, who by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David, Your servant, said, ‘WHY DID THE NATIONS (Gentiles) BECOME ARROGANT and RAGE, AND THE PEOPLES DEVISE FUTILE THINGS [against the Lord]? THE KINGS OF THE EARTH TOOK THEIR STAND [to attack], AND THE RULERS WERE ASSEMBLED TOGETHER AGAINST THE LORD AND AGAINST HIS  ANOINTED (the Christ, the Messiah).’ 

For in this city there were gathered together against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined [before the creation of the world] to occur [and so without knowing it, they served Your own purpose]. 

And now, Lord, observe their threats [take them into account] and grant that Your bond-servants may declare Your message [of salvation] with great confidence, while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders (attesting miracles) take place through the name [and the authority and power] of Your holy Servant and Son Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place where they were meeting together was shaken [a sign of God’s presence]; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness and courage.”

ACTS 4:23-31 AMP

Did you know that when we pray sometimes even if we have prayed a great prayer that it’s possible for some people to become offended?

The reason they become offended is because of the name of Jesus.

Did you ever think you would have lived in a time where the thought of mentioning the name of Jesus in a public place would bring such resistance.

I have found out that even today as I stand before you. People still have a problem with the fact that you IDENTIFY with a SAVIOUR who Died and Rose again 3 Days later!

Peter and John were arrested and tried. They were arrested “as they spoke,” they were arrested while they were preaching. 

Remember that the crippled man had walked through the temple leaping and praising God (Acts 3:8-11). With all the excitement of this man’s healing, a huge crowd of thousands had rushed to see the cripple who had been healed and to hear the message being proclaimed by the two men who had such power.

The excitement and noise were bound to attract the attention and bring the temple authorities to the scene. What they saw and heard disturbed them to no end. They thought they had eliminated the “Jesus movement” eight weeks earlier when they had crucified Jesus.

They had heard about the preaching incident several days earlier and how excited the people had become (Acts 2:5). Now these two men (Peter and John) were publicly preaching the fact that God had raised Jesus from the dead. 

And they were preaching, of all places, in the temple precincts.

It was time to investigate the matter, to nip the movement in the bud before it could spread.

Note those who came to arrest them. As mentioned above, they had stopped Peter right in the middle of his message.

Peter and John suffered abuse because they preached the resurrection. 

The officials were threatened by the preaching of Jesus being raised from the dead. 

They knew that it was the nature of people to respond to hope, especially to great hope. They also knew that great excitement existed within the people’s heart for the coming of the Messiah and that it would take only a small spark of hope to set the excitement aflame.

They just could not allow Jesus to be preached, not the hope of His resurrection, for the resurrection meant that all men who followed Him would arise. 

People ached and were ripe for such a message. Therefore, the authorities, knowing the nature of man and the situation, were threatened. 

If the people turned to the new movement, the authorities, feared the loss of the people, their loyalty, recognition, and esteem.

They feared their loss of position, authority, and livelihood. 

If they lost the loyalty of the people or allowed a disturbance, the Romans would replace them with other officials.

The Romans were usually tolerant, but they were quick to stamp out disorder and disloyalty.

They also feared the people might begin to think that their doctrine was wrong. If they allowed the preaching of the resurrection to continue, they would be admitting that God had by passed them and revealed the truth to others.

Their own spiritual condition and beliefs and teachings would be suspect. They were the secure religionists and the official religious leaders. Therefore, they would be jeopardising their own religion and leadership among the people. They would be undermining their own sense of security and their sense of being acceptable to God.

They feared acknowledging they were wrong in crucifying Jesus. 

If He were truly the risen Son of God, then they were sinners, chief sinners, guilty of denying and rejecting God’s Son.

Note how the same fears strike so many today, causing them, not to support true men and women of God and the genuine movements of God. 

So many today are afraid to rock the boat. So many are willing not to do what is right.

Too many today are seeking after: acceptance, esteem, recognition, position, wealth, possessions, authority (power), bigger and better things instead of really serving God.

So, when the authorities arrested Peter and John. It was late in the afternoon, it too late for a trial, so they placed them in jail for the night.

I want you to notice the significance of the fact that before Peter was arrested, he had shared enough of the gospel for the crowd to respond. 

As a result of this Five thousand men (not counting women and children) made decisions for Christ.

Persecution did not stop the Word of God nor the Spirit of God from working and reaching souls who were saved despite the abuse and opposition.

Isaiah 55:11 says “So will My word be which goes out of My mouth; It will not return to Me void (useless, without result), Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”

The Sanhedrin court convened the next morning to put Peter and John on trial.

The term “rulers, elders, and scribes” means the Sanhedrin. It was the ruling body, both the governing council and supreme court of the Jews.

The term “rulers, and elders, and scribes” is apparently just a term of synonyms, a term used by the people when referring to the Sanhedrin:

Rulers would refer to the whole body.

Elders would refer to the most esteemed of the nation. The whole Sanhedrin was sometimes simply referred to as the Elders.

Scribes was a definite profession of men, the experts, the doctors of Jewish law and tradition.

Annas was apparently recognised as the High Priest by most Jews. He had actually been removed from power by the Romans, but he had been so influential among his peers that he was still recognised as the power behind the throne.

However in the eyes of the Romans Caiaphas was serving as High Priest.

The question the court asked was straight to the point. They wanted to know “by what power, or by what name have you done this [healed the man]?”

The court was doing exactly what God had said to do. God had instructed Israel to try every man who claimed to be a prophet and worked signs and wonders among the people.

Deuteronomy 13:1-5 says

““If a prophet arises among you, or a dreamer of dreams, and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder which he spoke (foretold) to you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us follow after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve and worship them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and mind and all your soul [your entire being]. 

You shall walk after the LORD your God and you shall fear [and worship] Him [with awe-filled reverence and profound respect], and you shall keep His commandments and you shall listen to His voice, and you shall serve Him, and cling to Him. 

But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counselled rebellion against the LORD your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to draw you away from the way in which the LORD your God has commanded you to walk. 

So you shall remove the evil from among you.”

DEUTERONOMY 13:1-5 AMP

So if the man was not a true prophet, he was to be executed.

But there is more to their questioning than this. 

They knew Peter was preaching the resurrection through Jesus Christ. 

They had to stop it or risk losing the loyalty of the people and their position and livelihood, so they were seeking opportunity to accuse and stop Peter and John. (Acts 4:2-4.)

Their questioning may also involve something else. After all they were the religious leaders; therefore, they thought the power could not be of God. 

If God should choose to do some marvellous work, especially in the temple, they thought He would choose to reveal it to them, the traditional religious leaders. Therefore they felt the name and the power that healed the crippled must be diabolical or characteristic of the Devil.

Remember they said the same thing about Jesus in Luke 11:15 when they said that,” He was casting out devils through beelzebub the chief of the devils.”

Every minister, organisation and believer must guard against this thinking that God can only work through them. 

Let me tell you something.”God can work through anyone. He is always raising up new faces and groups into the picture to do His work. He must, for the mission is so enormous and there is still so much to do, so many who have not yet heard and been helped.

God equipped Peter and John with the Holy Spirit. 

Notice how quickly God came to the rescue: “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit.” Peter had not even had time to speak, and God was present, filling Peter with the Holy Spirit. 

God’s Spirit was ready to take over and give Peter the words to say.

Peter and John credited Christ with the power to make men whole. Peter declared three critical points.

  1. It was “the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth” that made the man whole. Note that Jesus is called the “Christ” (Messiah). Peter was declaring that men must know that Jesus is the true Messiah, and there must be no doubt which Jesus: it was the Jesus of Nazareth. He is the Messiah, the Saviour whom God promised to send to the world.

Note the word “whole”

The man was made whole in spirit, body and soul. Who did it? Who could heal the man in his spirit, body and soul? Peter declared unequivocally: not he himself, nor John, nor any other man. It was Jesus Christ, the Messiah, you know, the Jesus from Nazareth; He alone had made this man whole.

b. It was Jesus Christ (Messiah) whom ye crucified.

Remember Peter was speaking to the top leaders of the nation. He charged them with killing not only a man, but the Messiah. What an indictment! To be charged with killing the Son of God Himself!

c. It was Jesus whom God raised from the dead that made the man whole. Peter was declaring that it was the power of the resurrected and ascended Messiah, the Lord of heaven and earth who had such power.

In Acts 4:11-12 Peter says “This Jesus is the STONE WHICH WAS DESPISED and REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNERSTONE. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among people by which we must be saved [for God has provided the world no alternative for salvation].””

ACTS 4:11-12 AMP

Peter had just shared the source of his power, the name of Jesus Christ. 

He now proclaimed the salvation that is in Jesus. 

And to strike the point home, he used the declaration of prophetic Scripture. From Psalms 118:22 which declared that Jesus Christ is the Head, that is, the Chief Cornerstone of God’s building.

God gave man the Head Cornerstone for His building, the life He wanted man to build. But men set the stone “at nought,” counted it as no good, unacceptable, of no account, of no worth.

Men rejected God’s Head Stone and went about finding their own chief stone and building their lives as they wished. But God took His Stone, despite man’s rejection, and still made Him the Head. God has exalted Jesus Christ and made Him the Head of life.

Jesus said in Matthew 21:42 “Jesus asked them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘THE [very] STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED and THREW AWAY, HAS BECOME THE CHIEF CORNERSTONE; THIS IS THE LORD’S DOING, AND IT IS MARVELOUS and WONDERFUL IN OUR EYES?”

MATTHEW 21:42 AMP

Ephesians 2:20 says “having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the [chief] Cornerstone,”

EPHESIANS 2:20 AMP

Peter proclaimed in 1 Peter 2:6 “BEHOLD, I AM LAYING IN ZION A CHOSEN STONE, A PRECIOUS (honoured) CORNERSTONE, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM [whoever adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Him] WILL NEVER BE DISAPPOINTED [in his expectations].””

1 PETER 2:6 AMP

Jesus Christ is the only one alone saves. There is no other Head, no other exalted Lord; therefore, no man can be saved, by any other head or lord nor by any other name given under heaven except the name of Jesus.

No teacher is capable enough, no prophet is noble enough, no minister is good enough to save himself, much less anyone else. 

Therefore, no matter the claim, no matter the indulgence and strength of the name, whoever the man may be, he comes far, far short of being God’s chosen Head. 

No man has the name by which God saves men. All men are mortal. No man can make another man immortal. Therefore God’s Head, the name which God uses to save men, must be eternal; and only One Man is eternal and thats Jesus Christ.

John 3:16 says For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Acts 4:12 “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among people by which we must be saved [for God has provided the world no alternative for salvation].””

1 Corinthians 3:11 “for no one can lay a foundation other than the one which is [already] laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

Peter and John gave evidence that they had been with Jesus. 

It was the boldness and power of Peter and John that caused the rulers to recognise the fact that they had been with Jesus because the rulers had witnessed the same boldness and power in Jesus. 

And now it was the same boldness and power that identified these two men as having been with Jesus.

Acts 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

The boldness and power or Anointing that was on them was not due to education and learning. It was due to them having “been with Jesus.” It was their mark of Identification.

The clear evidence that a person has been with Jesus is boldness and power. 

The man made whole stood before the Court of the World. 

Therefore, the world was silenced. The enemies of Jesus could not refute the claim, for the claim was backed up by the evidence of a miracle, of a changed life: a man was made whole.

There is only one evidence that we identify or belong to Jesus. If we have been with Jesus, then His boldness and power will be present within us.

Acts 4:15-18 “But after ordering them to step out of the Council [chamber], they began to confer among themselves, saying, “What are we to do with these men? For the fact that an extraordinary miracle has taken place through them is public knowledge and clearly evident to all the residents of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But to keep it from spreading further among the people and the nation, let us [sternly] warn them not to speak again to anyone in this name.” So they sent for them, and commanded them not to speak [as His representatives] or teach at all in the name of Jesus [using Him as their authority].”

Yes Peter and John suffered threats. 

The court had Peter and John escorted from the council chambers so they could discuss the matter and reach a verdict. They acknowledged that a “notable” (clear, unmistakable) miracle had been done. 

The man was made whole. 

All the people knew the man had been transformed. They could not deny the miracle. They would have; but the evidence (the power of Christ), made the man whole, which stood before them.

The great need of the hour is for lame men to be made whole, transformed by the power of Christ. 

When a man is truly transformed, the world cannot deny it. 

The power of Christ stands within them as evidence that He is the risen and exalted Lord.

The rulers knew they must stop the new movement, suppress it from spreading any further among the people they speak among themselves and say in Acts 4:17 But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name. 

At this point, they did not dare take drastic steps lest the people cause a disturbance that would bring the Romans down upon them.

Acts 4:21 says “So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done.”

Their decision was to threaten Peter and John, forbidding them to speak or teach in the name of Jesus. 

But how can you stop preaching about Jesus?

The orders and decisions of the court were binding except in the death penalty (which had to be referred to the Romans). The court’s orders had to be obeyed or else Peter and John would face severe consequences.

But I love their response in Acts 4:19-20 it says Peter and John answered and said to them, “But Peter and John replied to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you and obey you rather than God, you must judge [for yourselves]; for we, on our part, cannot stop telling [people] about what we have seen and heard.””

Peter and John refused to compromise their message.

There comes a time in your life where your going to have to take a stand for the sake of the Gospel. It is in that very moment that you will find that God must be obeyed rather than men.

The highest authority must always be obeyed. This is the very basis of men and their laws. It is the word of the highest authority that men must carry out. Peter and John challenged the world: “Ye judge” (Acts 4:19). “[If it is] right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye” (Acts 4:19).

Christ had commanded them to preach time and again (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; John 20:21). They had to obey Him. 

They could do nothing else, for the highest possible authority had spoken. They were commissioned by God to speak and teach the resurrection, even in the face of opposition and persecution.

How can believers keep silent about Christ and His glorious salvation? He has commanded us to speak and teach, to bear witness and testimony to the living Lord.

A man must testify to what he has seen and heard. Notice that the two disciples were claiming to have seen and heard Jesus after His resurrection as well as during His ministry.

The result of such a dynamic witness was that men glorified God, and they kept on glorifying Him. Why? Because the power of Christ had taken a man who had been helpless for forty years and made him whole, completely whole.

Conclusion:

When you identify with Jesus it will change the way you live and cause you to rise above adversity. It’s normal for us to identify with something or someone. 

It makes us feel connected and gives us a feeling of belonging.

In our everyday lives, we identify with a person, organisation, occupation, nationality, or a church. 

We also have an identity in the spirit realm. 

The scriptures say we have been crucified with Christ (Galations. 2:20). Not only did we die with Him on the cross at Calvary, we also have been raised with Him.

EPHESIANS 2:4–7 “But God, being [so very] rich in mercy, because of His great and wonderful love with which He loved us, even when we were [spiritually] dead and separated from Him because of our sins, He made us [spiritually] alive together with Christ (for by His grace—His undeserved favour and mercy—you have been saved from God’s judgment). And He raised us up together with Him [when we believed], and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, [because we are] in Christ Jesus, [and He did this] so that in the ages to come He might [clearly] show the immeasurable and unsurpassed riches of His grace in [His] kindness toward us in Christ Jesus [by providing for our redemption].”

According to this passage of Scripture, we are seated with Christ in heavenly places. 

Unfortunately, some Christians are having an identity crisis. 

They don’t know who they are in Christ or where they are seated. Instead of identifying with Christ, they identify with the problems that confront them. 

You can tell they do this because they call themselves by their problems.

When we really understand our identity in Christ, who we are in Him, it changes the way we think and live. 

Second Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV) says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 

That same verse in The Living Bible says, “When someone becomes a Christian, he becomes a brand new person inside. He is not the same anymore. A new life has begun!”

Before we were in Christ, we were destined for death and destruction. 

Now we are destined for eternal life (1 John 2:25). 

Before Christ, we were destined for despair, degradation, and poverty. But in Christ, we are destined to have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10).

In Christ is where our identity should be. It’s in Jesus that we are somebody!

Did you ever notice in the Scriptures that God often changed people’s identities? 

They looked at themselves one way, but God told them who they really were. 

This is what happened to Gideon. He was so terrified of the Midianites that he hid inside a winepress to thresh his wheat. 

He believed the Midianites would take what little he had if they saw him threshing grain (Judges 6:1–11). 

One day the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon and said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior” (Judges 6:12 NIV). Gideon was acting like anything but a mighty warrior! However, when he finally saw himself the way God saw him, he went on to deliver the Israelites (Judges 7:1–25).

God also changed Abram’s name. 

It was impossible for Abram and his wife, Sarai, to have children. 

But God said, “No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations” (Gen. 17:5 NIV). 

He also changed Sarai’s name to Sarah (Gen. 17:15). And God’s words were fulfilled when Sarah gave birth to Isaac.

God calls those things that are not as though they were (Rom. 4:17). 

In the natural realm, what God is calling us may not exist. But in His eyes, it does. 

So we need to talk about ourselves the same way God does.

What God says about us is found in His Word. Here are some things we are and have in Christ:

We are new creatures (2 Cor. 5:17).

We are the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21).

We’ve been healed (1 Peter 2:24).

We’ve been made rich (2 Cor. 8:9).

We are accepted (Eph. 1:6).

We are free from sin (Rom. 6:20–22).

Psalm 23:4 says, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” 

We could read that verse like this: “Yea, though I walk through all of the mess that the devil tries to put on me, I will fear no evil. 

Through my identification with Christ, I can walk on scorpions and not be harmed. I can walk on anything that tries to get in my way and come out victoriously.”

It’s time for us to stand up and be who God says we are. 

And we need to let the devil know that we know who we are in Christ. 

Then anytime he tries to attack us, we can throw our shoulders back and say, “Don’t mess with me. I’m identified with Christ!”

When you identify with Christ, God gives you a new identity.

Instead of SINNER, you are called CHRISTIAN.

Instead of LOST, you are called FOUND.

Instead of ENEMY, you are called FRIEND.

Instead of UNRIGHTEOUS, you are called RIGHTEOUS.

Instead of SICK, you are called HEALED.

Instead of POOR, you are called RICH.

When you understand your identity in Christ, you’ll be a stronger and more stable Christian. Your faith will work for you better, your prayer life will be enhanced, and you’ll walk in a new level of power and authority.

 

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I really want to encourage you to be diligent with your Bible study time, because God has so much more for us than we can get from just going to church once or twice a week and hearing someone else talk about the Word.

When you spend time with God, your life will change in amazing ways, because God is a Redeemer.

Theres nothing thats too hard for Him, and He can make you whole, spirit, soul and body!

You’re important to God, and you’re important to us at www.faithministries.com.au.

When it comes to prayer, we believe that God wants to meet your needs and reveal His promises to you.

So whatever you’re concerned about and need prayer for we want to be here for you! Or even if you just want to say Hi, you can contact us

2020 IS A YEAR OF CLARITY

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