The early Christians were very bold. Even in the face of opposition they continued to have courage and confidence. Where did they find their spiritual boldness? Yesterday we considered the power and authority of Jesus’ name. Today’s let’s consider another source of spiritual power and authority.
Principle #2 – The Power and Authority of God’s Word
The early Christians leaned heavily upon the power and authority of God’s Word. Consider Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost. The Bible says that when the people questioned how the disciples could speak in others languages, Peter said: “this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel…” (Acts 2:16) Later in his message Peter quoted David from the Psalms. “For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved…” (Acts 2:25)
During his next message Peter returned to the Old Testament once again. This time he quoted the prophets (Acts 3:18), Moses (Deut 18:15), and the book of Genesis. (Gen 22:18) When he made his defense before the Sanhedrin he used the book of Psalms as his source of authority. “This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.” (Acts 4:11; Psalm 118:22)
Why was it so important that the disciples refer to scripture? Psalm 119:89 tells us that God’s Word is eternal and that it stands secure forever in heaven. Consider Peter’s teaching in his second epistle –
“We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it…you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:19-21) God’s Word is more certain than our personal experiences. The book of Hebrews tells us that the Bible is- “alive and active…sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to … the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.” (Heb 4:12-13 NIV)
The religious leaders were silenced before the authority of God’s Word. The Bible says – “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. (Acts 4:13) They could not understand how such common ordinary men could know so much about scripture. How did they?
- Their Study: For three years the Lord taught them extensively. Then, after the resurrection, the Lord spent another forty days confirming that His death, burial and resurrection was the fulfillment of divine prophecy.
- The Spirit: Jesus told them – “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” (Luke 12:11-12)
When the moment presented itself, the Spirit brought back to their minds all that they had studied and learned. The same holds true for us today as well.