On Thursday at Surrey CU John Benton spoke from Acts 4v23-31 on How can Christians find courage?. John spoke gently and sensitively, carefully explaining the word of God.
It's humbling to sit at the feet of such a wise and experienced pastor. Youthful enthusiasm is often so full of confidence and fresh ideas, but our generation have so much to learn from those who have gone before us.
Through John, The Bible once again proved itself to be exactly what we need. No surprise - this is God speaking, and without God's word student mission is meaningless. And it is mission we're gathered to do.
The passage concerns the response of Peter and John after they're released from their trial. Their crime was preaching Christ. They were asked to stop but refused. How do they respond? What we find was spot on for a student missions context. The Spirit of God speaking through his word. Brilliant!
They pray to the Sovereign Lord! They pray to the speaking Lord! And they ask for him to act - to consider threasts, to embolden them to preach Christ and that God would stretch out his hand in power, providing objective proof! All this so that the pre-eminence of Christ would be seen.
The only way to pray is if God is Sovereign, the ruler over all. And far from preventing action a high view of God's sovereignty spurs God's people to action. And not just to prayer, but emboldened to preach and for God to act to save people through them.
The place shakes, showing God's presence (as at Sinai). They're filled with the Spirit. They become bold in preaching God's word. And many are healed (chapter 5). The Word of God is prohibited from being preached. But God's people cannot stop preaching, and they cannot cease to pray.
We didn't do it, but I think our response should have been to get down on our knees for the rest of the night and pray desperately to the Sovereign Lord for power to witness on campus. I think we missed what God was saying that night. We can only repent and turn again in humility to pray. Calling on the sovereign Lord to empower us, what else can we do?