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Sermon Overview & Prayer: "An Unstoppable Gospel"

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Acts 4:1-22  – PRAYER POINTS
An Unstoppable Gospel by Nick Kidwell
These written prayers are intended to fuel your meditation on this passage and your enjoyment of God in prayer.

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.  And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:8-12)

“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) As believers in Jesus Christ, we have been commissioned...to take the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the unbelieving world and to promote Gospel growth in the hearts of believers.

PRAYER: Father, prompt me to ask daily to be filled with the Holy Spirit, that I might go into each day more deeply aware of, and devoted to you; and more alert to opportunities to pursue the mission for which I was saved. As I begin each day, please bring to mind where those opportunities might arise, peacefully trusting you to guide.

However, while Luke is intending to acknowledge the reality of the persecution faced his greater aim is to show that nothing can stop the spread of the gospel. His aim was to comfort not frighten.

PRAYER: Lord, as I consider the fallenness, the darkness, and the corruption in this fallen world, I can be tempted to fearfully wonder how bad it will get, and where it will all end. Remind me that you charged us to pray that “your kingdom come”; and because that is your will, it will be!

Scripture leaves no room for mystery on if the mission will ultimately be accomplished. Jesus says, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14)

PRAYER: Father, fill me with faith, courage, and a joyful fervency to be a part of the fulfillment of your mission!

In preparing the disciples for the persecution to come, Jesus says in Luke 12: “And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

PRAYER: Lord, when I think of mission and witness, please keep me from being preoccupied with me – my words, my articulation, and my reputation. Grant me a few simple questions to ask, a few gracious comments to make, and a few relevant Scriptures to share...that will serve as seeds of the gospel for you to plant, water, and bring forth a harvest.

We do not need to fear...God will provide what is needed to bear witness to himself as he works through us. Peter declares in v 12, “that salvation is found in no one else and that there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”

PRAYER: Holy Spirit, when I am challenged to answer, “what about this?!” or “what about that?!”, fill me with faith and compassion to lovingly ask, “What about Jesus Christ, you, and your relationship with God?”

There is no other message, there is no other Gospel. The glorious truth that Jesus Christ the Son of God came to seek and to save sinners, and to die in their stead, is THE authoritative message of history, and we have been granted authority by Christ to proclaim it. It can be so easy for us to become discouraged in our proclamation of the Gospel. We can doubt our efforts, question our techniques, and at times even question the power of God.

PRAYER: Father, by your grace, I am not ashamed of the gospel, for I am assured that it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. Remind me of your promise: so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)

We can’t measure the truth of the Gospel, or the effectiveness of the Gospel, by responsiveness and numbers of conversions...but ultimately, salvation is in the Lord’s hands and not all who hear will be saved, but the word must still be proclaimed.

PRAYER: So, [we] pray for this same kind of faith to be bold witnesses to the truth. [We} pray that we might make this gospel known to ourselves, to each other and to the onlooking world which needs it so desperately.  Lord, thank you for this, our mission.


OVERVIEW OF THE SERMON:
After performing a miracle and preaching the Gospel, Peter and John received opposition from governing authorities in Acts. We were given 3 aspects of the Gospel that bolster our faith as we minister to the world. The Gospel we proclaim is unstoppable, authoritative, and effective. Through attempts to stop the spread of the Gospel, the Gospel actually expands its influence. No authority can trump Jesus Christ himself, who Peter appeals to when he is questioned from whom his power came from. Jesus and the Word of God have ultimate authority. The Gospel demands a response, and we see that Peter and John’s response was to speak about what they have seen and heard. Our response ought to reflect the Gospel’s power in our lives. Finally, we should be remember that God receives all the glory, whether people receive it or reject it. Nothing has stopped or ever will stop the spread of the Gospel.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. As you read these verses, which aspect of the Gospel stands out most to you? The gospel we proclaim is: unstoppable, authoritative, or effective?
  2. Nick reminded us that the message we proclaim is a “force that’s been released . . . the Truth cannot be stopped”. How does this statement and the common status of Peter and John (verse 13) take weight off of your evangelistic efforts?
  3. Peter leads by example, not apologizing for sharing glorious truths. Which aspects of the Gospel message do you shy away from when sharing with unbelievers (or even fellow believers)?
  4. What are some temptations you personally face when proclaiming the Gospel to unbelievers? What or who is competing for authority in your life when being tempted?
  5. Apart from God’s grace we would not know the Gospel, how can this fact help us to respond in thankfulness and eagerness to spread it?