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Read: Acts 4:1-22

Verse: Acts 4:7- “By what power or what name do you do this?” … 4:14- “Since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say”. 

   “Preach the gospel at all times and, when necessary, use words.” 

Many have heard this famous line, and it’s a nice sentiment, but is it true? Not for Peter and John. They had done an amazing and generous work. They healed a lame man who had been that way for a long time. But when asked, “By what power did you do these things?”, they couldn’t help but share that it was not by their own power, or even by sheer chance, but by the name of Jesus! They declared this even while facing the threat of imprisonment or even death. But they said, “We can not help speaking about the great things we have seen and heard.” So what does that mean for us in our faith?

  1. We shouldn’t just talk ABOUT Jesus. They lived out their faith by taking whatever they had at their disposal and served others in need. They took on great challenges as well; healing a man who had been disabled for decades. Since others could see the good works of God staring them right in the face, it made their words about Jesus that much more powerful and trustworthy.
  2. We must resist the temptation to be proud of our good works. Peter and John could have easily let everyone know about how powerful and faithful they are to do such a nice thing for a person in need. They could’ve even just sat silent and let everyone assume something was special about them, feigning humility, “Ah shucks, we just do what we can to help!” Instead, they always turned the focus off of themselves to the name of Jesus.
  3. We must do great things with great words. As mentioned above, doing good works without words leaves it open for people to praise us, assume it was just a nice, one-time chance occurrence, or even assume that it was some other, generic god or power that helped the person. “Maybe it was the power of positive thinking and believing in yourself?!”  Peter and John did great works while also proclaiming great words of faith. 

Think about verse 7: People began asking questions, “By what power or what name do you do these things?”

First, are you taking any risks in your faith that might elicit questions from others?  “Why did you help that person?” or “Why are you living that way or serving in that manner?”  

Secondly, when was the last time you were able to share about the work God was doing in your life.

People may question things you say about your faith. Perhaps they may even question the motives of what you do when you do good works of service. But when your great works of faith are coupled with great words of faith in Christ, it may very well silence the doubts of others and inspire people to listen more openly.

Let us rework this old quote, “Preach the gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”  The words are necessary and yet have rang empty for many because, too often, the people who are talking about God are either questionable in character or their faith is so inactive that their lives elicit no questions. 

Perhaps we can begin to think of the saying differently. How about this:

Live out the gospel in such a way that it makes it necessary to give an explanation.

What is one way you can proclaim your faith with a great act in the great name of Christ this week?