The Secret to Unshakable Faith: Acts 4:18-20
“18) And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19) But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; 20) for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”” Acts‬ ‭4‬:‭18‬-‭20‬
This text captures the power, confidence and boldness imparted by the Holy Spirit. They were not concerned about their own thoughts, feelings or personal welfare. They did not conduct an opinion poll to see what the majority of Christian’s thought. The only opinion that mattered was Gods!
They had spent close to three years with Jesus during His public ministry. The Living Word Himself had taught them the written Word. They watched Jesus willingly suffer and die on the cross at the hands of this same Council. Jesus had spent forty days with them on numerous occasions after His resurrection. They were baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit.
Peter’s response was classic; “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard!”
This response became the standard for the New Testament Doctrine of suffering. Take a moment and read 2 Peter 4:12-19. When we are suffer for the name of Christ while doing right and displaying godly character, then the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon us. (See 2 Peter 4:14-16)
There is a big difference between suffering for stupidity sake and suffering for the gospel. Joseph and Daniel both suffered for their unwavering godly convictions, but they did it with respect and honor. They were not mouthy, rebellious or rude. The same was true of Peter and John in this story. They made their stand based solely on what was right in the sight of God. They were willing to suffer for their convictions.
Notice Acts 4:20; “for we cannot stop speaking what we have seen and heard.” John used these same words in 1 John 1:3; “what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, that you also might have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.”
This takes the conversation to the next level. They were driven by something higher than personal convictions. They were motivated by intimacy and fellowship with God. They were walking with God and therefore were wrapped in agape love.
They were consistent. They were willing to suffer for Christ and the gospel because they were living every day for Christ and the gospel. Their focus was not on dying for Christ, their focus was on living in sweet communion with Him. Their mindset was not “suffering for Christ”; their mindset was “fellowship with Christ.” As Paul said in Philippians 3:8, his surpassing value was knowing Christ… and that intimate relationship took the sting out of suffering.
On the rare occasions that I have been privileged to associate with the underground church, I observed that moment by moment intimacy and fellowship with Jesus Christ was the common denominator among them. They were deeply rooted in personal fellowship and intimacy with God. They sincerely loved Jesus Christ and walked in His Spirit.
This invitation is for every believer. We are called into deep fellowship and communion with God irregardless of our outward circumferences. The walk in the Spirit can be summarized as intimacy with God.
There was no mystical secret behind the boldness of Peter and John as they stood before the Council. Acts 4:13 says they were marveling at their confidence and then began to recognize them as having been with Jesus. Their demeanor was the overflow of their inner fellowship and relationship with Jesus Christ. The Doctrine of Suffering is rooted in the greater calling to intimacy with God.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global