What to Say (Acts 4:5-12)

(I apologize for not getting this post out earlier today. I was travelling yesterday and did not get into the hotel until midnight.)

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;” (Acts 4:8–9, AV)

There have been times when I was caught totally off guard and did not know what to say. What I mean is that I had nothing prepared. One type of situation that I experienced in ministry was counselling. Often people would come into my office and tell me that they needed help with some serious issue. I would listen and then have to deal with them in the issue in some way. Usually after they would unload for a while, I would pray with them for the Lord’s wisdom and direction with the issue.

In these situations, I was amazing. Without any understanding of the problem ahead of time, the applicable words of Scripture and godly wisdom would come to mind. It was sufficient to begin the first session with the person, giving them a starting point to deal with the issue. After the session, I would write down the key points derived from the Scripture that dealt with the issue and put them in my counselling manual for future use.

The question is from where did these Scriptures and this wisdom come? Some might say it was from human intellectual pursuit. Granted, I did have seminary instruction in counselling and I have read the Bible numerous times. Yet, to glean from Scriptures the very specific truths needed to deal with a difficult issue is not something born in the human intellect.

Here, we see a similar experience as Peter and John were taken before the Sanhedrin for preaching in the name of Jesus. The rulers wanted to know why they were doing this. The record shows that Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit began to speak truth. This is exactly the point. Peter responded by the power and guidance of the Spirit. Jesus previously gave the disciples this advice.

But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.” (Matthew 10:19–20, AV)

Of course, they had spent three years with Jesus, sitting under His teaching and learning much. Yet, the hearing and learning alone was not enough to enable them to deal with the issues of ministry. They needed this, but apart from the Holy Spirit, they could never properly apply what they knew.

We today, still experience the same thing. We do need training. We must study the Scriptures. Yet, all of our study and training will be moot in ministry if we are not filled with and living by the Spirit. How does one become filled by the Spirit? This would take quite some time to explain. I will try to cover some key points at another time. I suggest reading over Ephesians 5:18 and thinking about it. However, in short, it involves a dedication to God that seeks to glorify Him by avoiding sin, seeking Him and His ways and doing His will. When one has this heart, then he or she is in a position to be filled with the Spirit.

Published by Steve Hankins, Th.D.

Steve has had extensive military, business and ministry experience. He has served for over 16 years in full time vocational ministry and many years of part time ministry in churches. He has led churches through start-up and recasting of vision. Now He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he is working to help smaller churches and believers to renew their hearts and regain the joy of the Lord.

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