In Ephesians 5, Paul wrote about the “Sword of the Spirit,” saying it was the word of God. The author Hebrews said this sword was living and active, sharper than any actual sword. There are times when iron must sharpen iron
The bulk of Paul’s teaching was not about redressing wrongs and rebuking sinners. Instead, Paul talked about the vital necessity of protecting unity, building community, and caring for each other with such love, brothers and sisters in the Lord would rather absorb the cost for another than stand on their own rights.
Plenty of times you and I can feel imprisoned by our circumstances … there are all kinds of ways to find ourselves bound in chains, as Peter was, having to fall asleep between hostile guards.
Peter’s simple, straightforward logic, and God’s obvious affirmation, rendered them speechless. There was no tenable argument, no counterpoint could be made, God had made His desire and will abundantly clear. But this issue was going to crop again and again. Prejudice is hard to get rid of.
Often, it seems, the way God does that is to shake things up with the unexpected, the unanticipated. Depending on how entrenched you and I are in the way we view something, will determine how willing we are to even entertain the new ways, new perspectives, and new challenges God presents.
You know how it feels to be stuck? You can’t see any way out, and you sure wish you could get out. This onramp at the end of Acts chapter 9, leading to Acts chapter 10, is all about breakthroughs, Peter willing to cooperate with God as God began to expand the church and take it in new directions.
God working miracles through Philip drew the attention of a powerful sorcerer named Simon. He was the proud resident magician of Samaria, even considered by many people to be divine, and he had a wide and loyal following. But not, Simon was losing many of his followers to the gospel of Jesus Christ, so he came to investigate this new phenomenon.
Having integrity means living what you truly believe, even if what you believe isn’t very popular.
Trouble came pounding, they prayed, and God answered powerfully with a fresh infilling of His Spirit.
In our lives today, you and I have to cope with much the same kinds of things that are in these chapters—meeting people’s needs, dealing with people who don’t like us or what we represent, who want to stand in the way, dealing with discord in our churches and relationships, dealing with lies, suffering, injustice, and personal injury. The list goes on.