WHEN HOSPITALS ARE EMPTIED & PRISONS CAN’T HOLD THE PEOPLE OF GOD

Today’s selected reading continues. In the New Testament book of Acts—the account of the spiritual body of Christ—as it was written by the beloved physician Luke. More specifically today’s passage is found in the seventh chapter of this New Testament book. “Then said the high priest, Are these things so? And he said, Men and brethren, and fathers, heareth: The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopomati, before he dwelt in Charran, and said unto Him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee. Then came he out of the land of the Chaldeans, and dwelt in Charran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell. And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child. And God spake on this wise, That his seed should sojourn in a strange land; and that they should bring them into bondage, and entreat them evil four hundred years. And the nation to whom they shall be in bondage will I judge, said God: and after that shall they come forth, and serve me in this place. And he gave him the covenant of circumcision: and so Abraham begat Isaac, a nd circumcised him the eighth day; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat the twelve patriarchs. And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him, and delivered him out of all his afflictions, and gave him favour and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house. Now there came a dearth over all the land of Egypt and Chanaan, and great affliction: and our fathers found no sustenance. But when Jacob heard that there was corn in Egypt, he sent out our fathers first. And at the second time Joseph was made known to his brethren; and Joseph’s kindred was made known unto Pharaoh. Then sent Joseph, and called his father Jacob to him, and all his kindred, threescore and fifteen souls. So Jacob went down into Egypt, and died, he and our fathers, and were carried over into Sychem, and laid in the sepulchre that Abraham bought for a sum of money of the sons of Emmor the father of Sychem. But when the time of the promise drew nigh, which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt, till another king arose, which knew not Joseph. The same dwelt subtilily with our kindred, and evil entreated our fathers, so that they cast out their young children, to the end they might not live. IN which time Moses was born, and was exceeding fair, and nourished up in his fathers’ house three months:and when he was cast out, Pharaoh’s daughter took him up, and nourished him for her own son. And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deed. And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel. And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptians: for he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not. And the next day he shewed himself unto them as they strove, and would have set them at one again, saying, Sirs, ye are brethren; why do ye wrong one to another? But he that did his neighbour wrong thrust him away, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us? Wilt thou kill me as thou diddest the Egyptians yesterday? Then fled Moses at this saying, and was a stranger in the land of Madian, where he begat two sons. And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sina Ann angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush. When Moses saw it, he wondered at the sight: and he drew near to behold it, the voice of the Lord came unto him, saying, I am the God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Then Moses trembled, and durst not behold. Then said the Lord to him, Put off thy shoes from thy feet: for the place where thou standest is holy ground. I have seen, I have seen the affliction of my people which is in Egypt, and I have heard their groaning, and am come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send thee into Egypt. This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge? The same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel which appeared to him in the bush. He brought them out, after that he had shewed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red Sea, , and in the wilderness forty years. This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear. This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us: to whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt, saying unto Aaron, Make us gods to go before us: for as for this Moses, which brought us out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoice in the works of their own hands. Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the house of heaven; as it written in the book of the prophets, O ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices but the space of forty years in the wilderness? Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your God Remphan, figured which ye made to worship them: and I will carry you away beyond Babylon. Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen. Which Al’s our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drive out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David; who found favour before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob. But Solomon built him an house. Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? Saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? Hath not my hand made all these things? Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecute? And they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers; who have received the law by the disposition of angel, and have not kept it” (Acts 7;1-53).

 

            “When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. But he, being full ofd the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus tanning on the right hand of God, and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, and cast him out of the city, and stoned him; and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep” (Acts 7:54-60).

 

            When you come to the seventh chapter of the New Testament book of Acts you will find the account of Stephen standing trial before the Sanhedrin and the religious system of that day. What makes the narrative found in the seventh chapter of the New Testament book of Acts so incredibly unique and powerful when you think about and consider it it’s that this would not be the first time the people of God would stand trial before the religious leaders of that generation. If you consider the words which are found in chapters four and five you will find that the apostles themselves would stand trial before the religious leaders. Looking back at the fourth chapter of this New Testament book you will find the apostles standing trial before the religious leaders of the day after a notable miracle would take place in the city of Jerusalem. In the third chapter of this New Testament book you will find a man who was lame from birth being brought unto the Temple and laid at the gate called Beautiful where he would be on a daily basis asking and begging for alms. This man who was lame from birth was undoubtedly used to sitting at the gate which was present at the Temple asking for alms of the worshippers which would go up unto the house of the LORD to bring their sacrifices, their offerings, their tithes and their gifts. Pause for a moment and consider what it would have been like during those days as not only would there have been men and women who would have gone up to the house of the LORD to give of their tithes and offerings unto Him but they would also encounter this man who was lame from birth who was asking and begging for alms.

 

            It is in the third chapter of this New Testament book you will find and encounter the tremendous truth surrounding the miracle which would take place in the midst of the city of Jerusalem—a miracle that would confound and astound all those who were present in the Temple at that time. What’s more is this miracle would not only garner the attention of those within the Temple who saw this man walking and leaping together with the apostles Peter and John but it would also garner the attention of many who were present in the city of Jerusalem during this time. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it truly is when you take the time to consider it. Here we have this man who was lame from his mother’s womb and who would continually be brought unto the gate called Beautiful to ask and beg alms of those who would go up unto the house of the LORD to worship before the LORD. Undoubtedly those who went up to the Temple of the LORD would have been familiar with this man who was lame from his mother’s womb and would have been used to seeing him laying there at the gate which was called Beautiful. What’s more is I would dare say there might have been worshippers which were present in the Temple who when they entered would see this man laying outside the gate of the Temple asking and begging for alms and yet would now see this man walking and leaping and praising the LORD as he accompanied the apostles Peter and John. Imagine what it would have been like for those who had gone up to the Temple on that particular day and saw this man lying there at the gate called Beautiful and now they were seeing him in the midst of the Temple no longer bound to the mat and bed on which he lied upon but walking and leaping as he praised the LORD.

 

            Oh there is something truly captivating about the words and language which we find in these chapters for what would happen in the third chapter would cause the apostles to be brought before the Sanhedrin and religious leaders which were present during those days. In the third chapter of this New Testament book we find the apostles Peter and John being used of the Holy Spirit to offer healing unto this man who was lame from his mother’s womb. What’s more is the apostles Peter and John would only do what they had previously seen and witnessed their Lord and Master do at the Temple earlier on during those days. It would be in the ninth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle of John we find and encounter the tremendous and incredible truth surrounding a man who was blind from his mother’s womb and how undoubtedly was brought and laid at one of the gates which would lead into the Temple. I am absolutely captivated and gripped with what we find in the third chapter of the New Testament book of Acts for that which we find the apostles Peter and John doing was that which they had seen and observed their Lord and Master do. This was not something they would randomly do and although they would do so being full of the Holy Spirit we must needs recognize that these apostles would do only what they had previously and already seen the eternal and only begotten Son of the living God do during the three and a half years they walked with and followed Him as the Word which was made flesh and dwelt among them. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for what we find in the third chapter of this New Testament book is a powerful example of the apostles themselves walking in the footsteps of the Lord Jesus Christ which He walked during those days. We dare not and must not miss and lose of this and I would dare say that in order to truly understand what took place in the seventh chapter we must understand what took place in the sixth chapter. In order to understand what took place in the sixth chapter you must needs understand what took place in the fourth and fifth chapters and even more so that which took place in the third chapter. Not only this but it is necessary to recognize and understand the words which are found in the ninth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John. It is with this being said I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the ninth chapter of the gospel written by the apostle John beginning with the first and opening verse:

 

            “And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, and said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing” (John 9:1-7).

 

            “The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, is not this he that say and begged? Some said, This is he: others said, he is like him: but he said, I am he. Therefore said they unto him, how were thine eyes opened? He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight. Then said they unto him, Where is he? He said, I know not” (John 9:8-12).

 

            “They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind. And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his  eyes. Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see. Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them. They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet. But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight. And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? How then doth he now see? His parents answered them and said, awe know that this is our son, and that he was born blind? How then doth he now see? His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: but by what means he now seeth, we know not: or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him; he shall speak for himself. These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him. Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner. He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see. Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? How opened he thine eyes? He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? Will ye also be his disciples? Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples. We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is. The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvelous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and. Yet he hath opened mine eyes. Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this man were not of God, he could do nothing. They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out. Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him. And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? Jesus aid unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth” (John 9:13-41).

 

            This is something we must needs recognize and understand for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely incredible truth which we find in the third chapter of the New Testament book of Acts. It is in the third chapter of the New Testament book of Acts we find—not a man who was blind from birth but a man who was lame from birth. In the third chapter of this New Testament book we find the apostles Peter and John going up to the Temple at the hour of prayer fully expecting to pray and worship before the living and eternal God. Undoubtedly this was something which was nothing out of the ordinary for them and even in the second chapter we find Luke writing how those of the early church would continue daily in the Temple in prayers and in fellowship together with each other. On this particular day, however, something dramatically different would take place as the apostles Peter and John would encounter this man who was lame from his mother’s womb. There at the gate called Beautiful this man would ask them of alms which would indeed garner the attention of the apostles Peter and John. It would be the apostle Peter who would in fact declare unto this man lame from his mother’s womb that he did not have silver or gold but such as he did have he would give unto him. This would be immediately followed by the apostle Peter emphatically declaring unto and commanding him to rise up in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. The apostles Peter and John would help this man to his feet and immediately his ankle bones would receive strength and he would rise up to his feet, walk and leap before them as he would worship and praise the living God. Oh how absolutely incredible this truly is when you take the time to think about it for what we find here is nothing short of that which the apostles themselves had personally witnessed the person of the Lord Jesus do while they walked with and followed Him. What’s more is that just as the man who was blind from birth and yet had received his sight would garner the attention of those in the Temple and in Jerusalem as well as the Pharisees so also would the miracle of the healing of the man who was lame from his mother’s womb gather the attention of those who were present in the midst of the Temple.

 

            I am absolutely convinced we must needs recognize and understand this and how absolutely incredible it truly is for it calls and draws our attention to just how mighty this particular miracle was during those days. What’s more is I can’t help but wonder if there were any in Jerusalem and at the Temple who remembered that there among them in their midst another one who had an infirmity from his mother’s womb would be healed. Was there anyone among them who remembered the days of the Lord Jesus Christ and how He had given sight to a man who was blind from his mother’s womb? Was there anyone who thought within themselves that this was now a second individual who had an infinity from their mother’s womb and yet would experience healing? It would be during the days in which Jesus walked upon the earth that He did not command this man to receive His sight but rather simply made clay from the ground, anointed his eyes and instructed him to go wash in the pool of Siloam. When it came to the miracle and healing of the man who was lame from his mother’s womb he would hear the command given by the apostles Peter and John to rise up in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Immediately his ankle bones would receive strength and he would begin walking and leaping as he praised the living God. This miracle of the healing of the man who was lame from his mother’s womb would indeed be the first notable miracle which would be presented within the New Testament book of Acts and it would be a miracle that would not only garner the attention of the worshippers in the midst of the Temple but it would also garner the attention of the religious leaders which were present during those days. WHEN MIRACLES CANCEL WORSHIP! WHEN MIRACLES ATTRACTS THE ATTENTION OF WORSHIPPERS! WHEN MIRACLES STOPS WORSHIP AND OPENS THE DOOR FOR THE GOSPEL TO BE PREACHED! Oh how absolutely incredible it truly is when you read the words found in the third chapter and how this miracle would seemingly stop worship at the Temple dead in its tracks and would cause wonder and amazement to overtake all those who were present in the Temple.

 

            It is at this juncture I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the third chapter of the New Testament book of Acts beginning with the first verse. Within this passage of Scripture we not only find the healing of this man who was lame from his mother’s womb but we also find the attention it would garner during those days as the worshippers in the Temple would be stopped in their tracks as they would all marvel and wonder at this miracle which took place among them. It would be this marvel and wonder which the apostles Peter and John would witness and would prompt the apostle Peter to stand up before them and preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ during those days. Consider if you will the following words which are found in this New Testament book of Acts beginning with the first and opening verse of the chapter:

 

            “Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I hone; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God: and they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him” (Acts 3:1-10).

 

            “And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon’s, greatly wondering. And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? Or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; and killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But those tings, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy preppiest since the world began. For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities” (Acts 3:11-26).

 

            The words which we find in this passage of Scripture are absolutely incredible when you take the time to think about them for what we find here is nothing more than the apostles doing the very same thin which they saw and witnessed their Lord and Master do while they walked with and followed Him. There is something unique and captivating about the words which we find in this passage of Scripture for they call and draw our attention to the truly wonderful and powerful truth surrounding this man who was lame from his mother’s womb and yet who would receive healing and strength within his physical body on this particular day. This man was not only lame from his mother’s womb but would also be laid daily at the gate called Beautiful which was at the Temple of the LORD that he might ask for alms. This is something which warrants strong consideration for this miracle which would be performed among them during these days would indeed garner the attention, the wonder and the amazement of all those who were present in the Temple. It wouldn’t be until the apostles Peter and John entered into the Temple together with this man who was previously lame from his mother’s womb that all those who were present in the court would come running unto them. Undoubtedly the miracle of this man receiving healing in his physical body would stop worship dead in its tracks and would cause all those who were present in the Temple to gather themselves together unto the apostles Peter and John together with this man in a place called Solomon’s porch. Luke writes and records how these worshippers which were present in the midst of the Temple would indeed come running unto the apostles and this man whom they knew had been lame from his mother’s womb. Pause for a moment and consider how absolutely incredible this truly is for this miracle which would take place among them in their midst would cause worship to cease in the Temple as people would gather themselves unto the apostles Peter and John and this man whom they all knew as being lame from his mother’s womb and being laid daily at the gate called Beautiful which was outside the Temple.

 

            When the apostles Peter and John would witness the marvel and amazement of all those who had come running unto them and had gathered themselves together to them they would ask them why that marveled in amazement at them as though by their power and holiness they had caused this man who was lame from his mother’s womb to be healed. The apostles Peter and John recognized that it was not their own power nor their own holiness that would cause this man to be made whole but rather the name of Jesus and faith in the name of Jesus that would cause this man to be healed and made whole. This is something we must needs recognize and understand for when you come to the fourth chapter you will find this miracle garnering the attention of the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees who came upon them. It would be while the apostles Peter and John would speak unto the people that the religious leaders and the captain of the Temple would come unto them—undoubtedly inquiring as to what had just taken place. Oh there is a part of me that can’t help but wonder what the priests and the Sadducees thought when they beheld this man whom they too perhaps knew to have been lame from his mother’s womb standing together with the apostles Peter and John. What was it like for these religious leaders to witness and behold this man whom everyone knew was laid at the gate called Beautiful day in and day out that he might ask alms of those who would pass by and go up into the Temple? On this particular day the priests, the Sadducees and the captain of the temple would join all those who had come running unto the apostles Peter and John and this man after witnessing and beholding what had taken place among them. What’s more is that as you read the words found here you will find that it was not the miracle itself which captured the attention of the priests, the captain of the Temple and the Sadducees but it would be while the apostles were speaking unto the people the priests, the Sadducees and the captain of the temple would come unto them—perhaps to see what was taking place among them. OH it is with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the fourth chapter of this passage of Scripture beginning with the first verse:

 

            “And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide. Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand. And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers and elders and scribes, and Annas the high priests, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them in the midst, they asked them, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this? Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, eve by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:1-12).

 

            “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, saying, What shall we do to those men? For that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it. But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name. And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. 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. For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed” (Acts 4:13-22).

 

            The words which we find here in the fourth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts describes how the priests, the Sadducees and the captain of the temple were gathered unto the apostles Peter and John for they were grieved that they taught and preached in the name of Jesus—and not only preached in the name of Jesus but also preached the resurrection from the grave. What would take place thereafter was the apostles Peter and John being laid hold of and being put in the hold until the next day for the time of the day was far spent. What makes this truly captivating and astonishing when you take the time to think about it for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth that despite them laying hands on the apostles Peter and John and placing them in the hold until the next day there were many among them who believed after hearing the word which was preached by them. The number of the men which believed were about five thousand which demonstrates that not only was there a notable miracle which took place among them but so also did many which were present on that day believe on the name of the Lord Jesus. Oh there is something truly captivating and astonishing about this when you take the time to think about it for it brings us face to face with the incredible truth that the miracle was what garnered the attention of the people at first, however, it would be the teaching and preaching of the apostles which would gather that attention of the priests, the Sadducees and the captain of the temple. These religious leaders would bring the captain of the temple together with them for they had every intention of laying hands on these apostles of Jesus and placing them on hold. What’s more is what we find here in the fourth chapter is not only that they were grieved at the words which the apostles Peter and John preached but they were also grieved at the response and reception which was being given by the people present during those days.

 

            If you continue reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will find the rulers, the elders, the scribes, the high priest and all those who were of the house of the high priests being gathered together on the following day. Upon being gathered together they would ask them by what power or by what name had they done this. The apostle Peter—being filled with the Holy Ghost—would speak unto them concerning the good deed which was done unto the impotent man and the means by which he was made whole. The apostle Peter would declare and call for it to be known among them all, and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth whom they crucified and whom God had raised from the dead—it would be by him this man stood there before them made whole. Not only this but the apostle Peter would also declare that there is no salvation in any other for there was none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved. Upon seeing the boldness of Peter and John, and perceiving that they were unlearned and ignorant men they marveled and took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus. What’s more is that as they beheld the man which was healed standing with them they could say nothing against it. Having asked the apostles Peter and John to go outside apart from the council they would confer among themselves  asking what they should and what they could do to these men for indeed a notable miracle had been done by them and was manifest to all those which dwelt in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. What makes this all the more intriguing when you think about it is when you consider the words which Luke wrote in this passage of Scripture for not only did he wrote how they could say nothing against this miracle but they also could not deny it. There was absolutely no denying nor refuting the miracle which had taken place among them and it would be the miracle itself that would confirm their message concerning the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob and the God of their fathers raising Him from the dead on the third day as Jesus had declared and spoken.

 

            What I so love about the words which are found in this passage of Scripture is that when the chief priests, the scribes, the elders of the people and the religious leaders could not deny nor refute the miracle which had taken place among them they would threaten them and let them go for they could find nothing how they might punish them. This is something we must needs recognize and understand for when you come to the fifth chapter of this same New Testament book you will once more find the apostles themselves standing trial before the religious leaders and council of that day. The fifth chapter of this New Testament book would begin with the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira for their conspiring together to lie to the Holy Spirit. The opening verses of the fifth chapter would describe how these two would conspire together to lie to the Holy Spirit about that which they had brought unto the apostles and had given unto the Lord and this would immediately be followed by Luke writing of the great miracles, signs and wonders which took place during those days. Beginning with the twelfth verse of the fifth chapter of this New Testament book we find Luke writing how by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people for they were all in one accord in Solomon’s porch. Luke goes on to further write how no man durst join themselves unto them but the people magnified them. Moreover believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. As a direct result of the signs, wonders and miracles which were performed by the apostles it would sweep through the city of Jerusalem as multitudes would be added to the Lord and those which were sick would be brought forth into the streets and laid upon beds and couches. Oh pause for a moment and consider how absolutely incredible this is and imagine what it would and could look like in our generation. Imagine hospitals being emptied as those who sick—perhaps even those who were dying—were brought forth out of the hospitals and laid upon beds and couches in the streets.

 

            IMAGINE A DAY WHEN HOSPITALS ARE EMPTIED! IMAGINE A DAY WHEN HEALTHCARE FACILITIES ARE EMPTIED! IMAGINE A DAY WHEN EMERGENCY ROOMS AND URGENT CARE FACILITIES ARE EMPTIED! Oh I sit here today thinking about and considering just how absolutely incredible this truly is when you take the time to think about it for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful and powerful truth surrounding all those who were sick being brought into the streets and laid upon beds and couches that at the least of the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. What’s more is that there came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem bringing sick folks and those which were vexed with unclean spirits and were healed every one of them. Oh there is something truly astonishing and captivating about them when you take the time to think about it for it calls us to think about the days of the early church and what would and could take place during our own days and within this generation. Imagine what it would look like if beds and couches began lining the streets of the town in which you live as sick folk were brought forth out of their houses that they might find healing and wholeness because of the work which the living and eternal God would accomplish during these days. Oh I sit here today thinking about this and can’t help but wonder what would happen if hospitals started being emptied as those who were sick, those who were diseased, those who were infirm and even those who were dying were brought forth out of the hospitals that they might be healed by the power of the Holy Spirit working through the disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. Imagine what would happen if medicine no longer worked in the lives of those who were sick and those who were infirmed and men and women were brought forth out of the hospitals, out of the cities, out of the towns, out of their homes and the like that they might receive healing from the living and eternal God. Imagine if there were multitudes of men and women who had spent all they had and perhaps even had exhausted all their insurance company was willing to pay and yet instead of being made better and instead of recovering they grew worse.

 

            IMAGINE IF HOSPITALS WERE EMPTIED! IMAGINE IF INSURANCE COMPANIES WERE NO LONGER NEEDED! IMAGINE IF MEDICINE WAS NO LONGER NEEDED! Oh I sit here today thinking about the firestorm that would take place during these days and in this generation if men and women who were sick—regardless of what that sickness was—were brought forth into the streets and were laid upon couches and beds that they might be healed by the power of God as the disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ would lay hands on the sick and they would recover. I find myself thinking about this and how absolutely incredible it would be if hospitals began to be emptied of cancer patients and of the variety of other patients which were present in the midst of their halls and rooms. Imagine what would and could happen if modern medicine no longer had any impact of affect on anyone among us who were sick and if the way men and women recovered was based solely on what is written and found in the New Testament epistle written by James: “Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray. Is any merry? Let him sing psalms. Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the LORD; and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the LORD shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:13-16). Imagine what would and could happen within our generation if hospitals, if urgent care facilities, if emergency rooms, if healthcare clinics and the like began to be emptied as men and women would seek the face of the living God and that they might be healed of Him. Imagine what would and could happen if word began spreading throughout the streets and homes of our cities that signs, wonders and miracles were taking place in our generation and men and women diligently and faithfully sought to be healed according to the prayer of faith which would indeed heal the sick. Imagine the firestorm that would take place and would be ignited within our generation if modern medicine—that which is directly linked to modern science—no longer worked to make those who were sick, those who were diseased and those were infirmed any better.

 

            I fully realize this has absolutely nothing to do with the narrative of Stephen as it was written and recorded in the sixth and seventh chapters of this New Testament book, however, I am absolutely convinced that within these chapters there are two distinct truths and realities which would ignite a firestorm within our generation and within this nation. Within the New Testament book of Acts we find the religious leaders first threatening the apostles Peter and John after a notable miracle had taken place among them as one who was above forty years old and was lame from his mother’s womb was healed. Luke writes and records how they could speak nothing against it and how they could not deny it and as a direct result of this would merely threaten the apostles that they no longer preach the name of Jesus and no longer preach the resurrection from the dead. What we find in the fifth chapter of this New Testament book is signs, wonders and miracles continuing to take place among those in Jerusalem and within the Temple during those days. What’s more is not only were signs, wonders and miracles wrought at and by the hands of the apostles but multitudes were added to the Lord on a daily basis as the number of those who were a part of the early church would grow in increasingly abundant number and measure. Luke writes how they would bring forth the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and couches that at the least the shadow of Peter passing but might overshadow some of them. As if this weren’t enough Luke also writes how there came a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem bringing sick folks and those which were vexed with unclean spirits and how they were all healed. These signs, these wonders and these miracles would be a great threat to the religious system and establishment during those days as it would become a mighty and powerful movement which would take place during those days and that generation.

 

            Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible this truly is for I am absolutely convinced that if something like this happened within our generation it would infuriate pharmaceutical companies, hospital boards, investors, healthcare provides, insurance companies and the like. Oh imagine if the only “universal healthcare” provided within our generation was not something named after a former president or something which was made ‘affordable” but rather was something that was completely and utterly free. Imagine a healthcare that was not free simply because there was no cost to it but because it had absolutely nothing to do with healthcare at all. Imagine if there was a universal healthcare which cost man absolutely nothing and did not require any medicine nor required going through any insurance company nor any deductible being met nor any co-pay. Oh I have to admit that I find myself absolutely astonishing and captivated with this very thought and how if something like this ever happened—if the church and the body of Christ truly rose up in the power, the authority and the anointing given unto them—it would not only empty hospitals and healthcare facilities but it would also completely and utterly anger insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and the like. If you think cancel culture was present within our nation during the previously months and years imagine what would and could happen if there were men and women who moved in the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit and great signs, wonders and miracles were performed among men within this generation. Imagine a nation and generation where universal healthcare was hands being laid on the sick, the prayer of faith being prayed, and the sick were completely and totally recovered. Imagine if there was no need for universal healthcare which bore the name of a previous president but was actually something that had nothing to do with the government, nor anything to do with the hospitals, nor anything to do with insurance companies, nor anything to do with pharmaceutical companies. Pause for a moment and consider how absolutely incredible this truly would be when you take the time to think about what would and could happen within our nation and within this generation if the universal healthcare was the prayer of faith for the sick and healing, signs, wonders and miracles taking place among us within our generation.

 

            If you want to get a truly powerful picture and glimpse of what would and could happen if such a manifestation took place within our generation and within this nation you need look no further than that which is found in the fifth, sixth and seventh chapters of this New Testament book. I would also add that which we find in the fourth chapter of this book must also be included in this, however, the words within that chapter have already been presented within this writing. If you being reading with and from the seventeenth verse of the fifth chapter as well as the words which are found in the second half of the sixth chapter you will indeed find a tremendous response—not only to preaching in the name of Jesus and preaching the gospel of the resurrection from the dead but also signs, wonders and miracles being performed among us within the streets of our cities. Oh as you read the words which are found within these chapters you will find and encounter the tremendous truth surrounding the tremendous threat the apostles—and not merely the apostles but the work of the Holy Spirit during those days would have for the religious and political establishment during those days. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand it’s that what took place during those days not only angered and offended religion and the religious leaders but also the political leaders as religion and politics were sometimes one and the same during these days. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it truly is for there is something to be said about what took place during the days of the apostles and the early church and how the person, the presence, the power, the movement and the activity of the Holy Spirit threatened the religious leaders, the religious establishment and even the political realm and arena during those days. OH it is having said this I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the fifth, sixth and seventh chapters of this New Testament book of Acts beginning to read with and from the seventeenth verse of the fifth chapter:

 

            “Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, and laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison. But the angel of the Lord but night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life. And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned, and told, saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within. Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow. Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people. Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, least they should have been stoned. And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? And, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him” (Acts 5:17-32).

 

            “When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them. Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space; and said unto them, ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men. For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought. After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed. And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: but if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God. And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And ally in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Christ” (Acts 5:33-42).

 

            “And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people. Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenian, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake. Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God. And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council, and set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law: for we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us. And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel” (Acts 6:8-15).

 

            “When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus tanning on the right hand of God, and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, and cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and said, Lord, Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep” (Acts 7:54-60).

 

I have written about what it would be like within our nation if hospitals were emptied because instead of the sick, the diseased, the infirmed and those with illnesses—even those who were dying—were brought out into the streets where they were laid upon beds and couches that the people of God might pray the prayer of faith and the sick were healed and raised up. Imagine funeral homes began to be emptied as those who have died were suddenly raised from death to life and began going forth within and throughout the land speaking the wonderful works of the living God. Imagine if modern medicine was no longer effective against any of sicknesses and illnesses men and women had and the only thing which worked was the prayer of faith which healed the sick as the people of God simply laid hands upon the sick and they recovered. Imagine a nation and land where the universal healthcare which was standard throughout the midst of it was the prayer of faith which healed the sick and they recovered. What’s more is stop and consider the firestorm such manifestations would ignite in the boar rooms of hospital boards, in the board rooms of the pharmaceutical companies and in the board rooms of insurance companies. Imagine if in this nation health insurance was no longer needed because the prayer of faith was prayed and men and women were healed and the sick were recovered. What a truly astonishing and captivating place this would be when you take the time to think about it for there is something truly wonderful about the prayer of faith which healed the sick—and not only the prayer of faith but also men and women being brought into the streets and even being brought out of surrounding towns, cities, houses, homes, villages, etc.

 

WHEN HOSPITALS ARE EMPTIED & PRISONS CAN’T HOLD THE PEOPLE OF GOD! If there is one thing I find absolutely captivating about the words and language presented in the fifth chapter it’s how the religious and political leaders had the apostles cast in prison because they refused to cease preaching in the name of the Lord Jesus. What makes this narrative so incredibly powerful when you take the time to think about it is it calls and draws our attention to the fact that during the night the angel of the Lord entered into the prison and brought the apostles forth from the midst thereof. What’s more is that not only did the angel of the Lord enter into the prison and bring them forth from the midst of it but the angel also instructed and commanded them to continue to preach and teach this gospel of life. It’s one thing for hospitals to be emptied of those who were sick, diseased and infirmed because the power of God was flowing in the streets and those within the hospitals and facilities were brought forth that they might be healed. I am sitting here today imagining a nation where hospitals are emptied and prisons could not hold the saints of God and the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh it is indeed true that the disciples of the Lord Jesus were indeed arrested and put in jail or put in prison and yet no prison nor jail could hold them because the power of God was manifested in the midst of it. What we must needs realize and understand is this would not be the first time the glory of the living God would enter into a prison during the days of the apostles and the early church. In the fifth chapter you will read of the angel of the Lord entering into the prison where the apostles were and bringing them forth out of the midst of it commanding them to preach the gospel and word of life. In the twelfth chapter you will read of the apostle Peter being imprisoned in the midst of Jerusalem and another angel entered into the prison and not only loosed Peter from his shackles, not only opened his prison door, not only led him forth from the prison but also caused the gate of the city to open of its own accord before departing from the apostle Peter. Moreover it is in the sixteenth chapter of this New Testament book where we find and encounter the tremendous truth—not of a prison break but of the power of the living God causing the earth to shake, causing the prison doors to be opened and causing chains and shackles which were upon the prisoners to be loosed.

 

            I sit here today thinking about the words which are found within these chapters and I am finding myself trying to picture what this nation would indeed be like if hospitals were emptied and prisons could not hold the people of God who were somehow imprisoned for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and/or even being used of the Holy Spirit to perform signs, wonders and miracles in the midst of the land. There is something truly powerful about the days of the apostles and the days of the early church for those were days when signs, wonders and miracles were the norm and where prisons and jails could not hold those who were seized and laid hold of by the religious and political leaders. Both within Philippi and in Jerusalem the power of the living God entered into and invaded prison cells and in all three cases those who were imprisoned were brought forth. It was an angel of the Lord who brought forth the apostles after they had been imprisoned, it was an angel of the Lord who led the apostle Peter out of the prison in which he was held and bound while he awaited the time when Herod sought to kill him. Although it would not be an angel of the Lord who would lead Paul and Silas out of the prison in the city of Philippi they would nonetheless witness the prison doors in the prison being opened, they would witness the chains and shackles of all the prisoners being loosed and they would be brought forth from the prison by the jailer and guard. What a truly powerful thing it is to think about the fact that during the days of the apostles and the early church the power of God was manifested in the Temple, the power of God was manifested in the streets, the power of God was manifested in people’s homes and the power of God was manifested in prisons. There is something truly unique about that which we find in the New Testament book of Acts for those days were days of tremendous power of the Holy Spirit as men and women were healed and as signs, wonders and miracles were performed by the apostles—and not just the apostles but also Stephen.

 

            FULL OF THE HOLY GHOST AND WISDOM! FULL OF FAITH AND OF THE HOLY GHOST! FULL OF FAITH AND POWER! “And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people” (Acts 6:8). What makes this particular narrative so incredibly unique and astonishing when you think about it is in the fourth chapter the apostles Peter and John were threatened by the religious council that they not preach in the name of the Lord Jesus not preach the resurrection rom the grave. In the fifth chapter we find the apostles being seized and imprisoned before the angel of the Lord brought them forth from the prison and instructed the to continue preaching the word of life. After the apostles were brought forth from the prison they were again threatened by the religious leaders and council before they were beaten and then released once more. It is in the sixth chapter where we find something incredibly unique taking place for in the midst of Stephen being full of faith and power performing great wonders and miracles among the people there would arise certain during those days and in the midst of the city of Jerusalem who would dispute and debate with Stephen. Luke writes and records how those who attempted to dispute and debate with Stephen were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake. As a direct result of their pride and arrogance being offended and angered they would succor men which would falsely accuse him declaring how they they heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God. What’s more is Luke goes on to write how these individuals stirred up the people, and the elders and the scribes came upon him and caught him and brought him to the council. There in the midst of the council they set up more false witnesses against Stephen and declared how he ceased not to speak blasphemous words against the holy place of the Temple and the law.

 

            As I bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the fact that although the days of the apostles and the early church were days of tremendous power—days of signs, wonders and miracles—they were also days which were filled with tremendous persecution of the apostles and ultimately of the church and body of Christ itself. What would begin with the apostles being threatened in the fourth chapter would continue with the apostles being imprisoned and ultimately beaten in the fifth chapter. What’s more is that this persecution would ramp up and take on a whole new level when men such as Stephen and Saul were involved. It would be Stephen who would not only be falsely accused but his defense before the Sanhedrin and all those present would so anger and offend them they would drag him out and would stone him in the midst of the street. Stephen would indeed become the first martyr of the early church and it would be his persecution that would indeed set in motion the persecution of the early church itself. What’s more is that not only would the early church itself begin to be persecuted but a man by the name of Saul of Tarsus would begin to rise up and terrorize the early church together with its followers. There are those who would like to ask for the days of Acts, the days of the early church and the days of the apostles and many are truly asking for the activity of the Spirit and the signs, wonders and miracles which accompanied that. What most don’t realize, however, is that these days would eventually be characterized by tremendous persecution which would break out against the early church and against the disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. Eventually the early church would be scattered throughout Galilee, throughout Judaea and even in Samaria. Oh that we would read the words which are found within the New Testament book of Acts and not only earnestly desire the movement and activity of the Holy Spirit but would also recognize and understand that these days can and will be characterized by tremendous persecution. What’s more is Jesus Himself warned of this prior to ascending unto the right hand of the Father when He declared that His disciples would be hated of all men for His name’s sake and men would put them out of the synagogue and even put them to death believing themselves to do a service unto the living God. Oh that we would indeed prepare and make ourselves ready for that which lies ahead and that we would recognize that while we have been sent into the world to love we have not been sent into the world without being hated, without being ridiculed, without being mocked, without being afflicted and without being persecuted.

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