There’s power in the Presence.
So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, … Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.Acts 4:24, 29-31 NKJV
Satan always hates Christian fellowship; it is his policy to keep Christians apart. Anything which can divide saints from one another he delights in. He attaches far more importance to godly intercourse than we do. Since union is strength, he does his best to promote separation. Charles Spurgeon
I remember many wonderful Fall Saturday afternoons in my college days. I had good seats in the student section for Oklahoma football. The place was always packed. There were people from all walks of life. Some were working class beer guzzlers. Some were quite well-to-do wine-sippers. There were hippies and rednecks. They were racially, economically, educationally, and politically diverse. But on Saturday afternoon, all those differences dissolved when the band started to play and the Sooners came out of the tunnel. We all rose to our feet, sharing a common passion for the success of our team. We were in “one accord.”
We have seen the power that’s available when God’s people come together in agreement, when we find that place of symphonic prayer. Jesus said He would be personally present in our midst to respond to our corporate faith. (Matthew 18:18-20) We also saw that then we gather in unity, that the High Priest is present and that we are exposed to the anointing in such a way that we can receive things that we didn’t know we needed; we are exposed to “unknowns.” Those are wonderful benefits of being part of the Christian community experience, but the episode recorded in Acts Chapter 4 shows us another level in corporate prayer.
Peter and John had been arrested for healing a lame man. Because the crowds were unwavering and vocal in their support for the apostles, they were released, but were threatened if they continued to preach and teach in the Name of Jesus. They headed straight for the gathering of their faith companions. There they recounted all that the religious leaders had said to them. The next phrase is telling: “So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord. (Acts 4:24a NKJV). Then began the prayer that brought the results we read in our opening passage. The building shook, the Holy Spirit filled them afresh, and they declared the Word of the resurrection with boldness.
Notice three things in this passage. They immediately went to the place where other believers were gathered. They knew that was where they would find agreement and power in prayer. Next, they recounted the problem: they had been threatened for healing a man. Finally, they lifted their voices in one accord. Their prayers were specific. They asked God, not that He would stop the persecution, but the He would give them boldness in the face of it. Then they asked Him to stretch out His hand to do more of what got them in trouble in the first place: heal in the Name of Jesus. They received answers to both these requests (Acts 4:31-33; 5:12-16). In addition, God confirmed His presence among them by shaking the building – a kind of Holy Spirit exclamation point.
What was the key element that separated this prayer from others? The answer lies in the term “one accord.” It’s used in several places to describe the actions of groups, some for good and some for evil. Just like the example in Genesis 11 where rebels were able to build a tower contrary to God’s desire, people in the book of Acts were able to organize for evil when they were in “one accord.” The Greek term means something like “having the same passion.” It implies a passion for a person or purpose, not just an intellectual nod of assent to a fact or idea. Let’s look at one of the negative episodes using this term in Acts Chapter 7:
But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”Acts 7:55-59 NKJV
The crowd that stoned Stephen were in “one accord.” They passionately hated him for his conversion, for his preaching, and for his refusal to recant even when threatened. That hatred, grounded in fear, allowed people who would never do such a thing individually to commit murder in the name of God. Their hatred for Jesus gave them a cohesion that was, for that moment, more powerful than their individual moral sense. They were a mob.
Many things have a godly use and an evil use. Stubbornness in the service of God becomes perseverance. Pride when brought to the altar becomes gratitude. Similarly, the passion that drives the mob to destruction brings the church to signs and wonders when turned to the love of God. Take a few minutes to read these examples:
- Act 2:1-4. The post-resurrection believers were gathered in the upper room, and they were in “one accord.” Their passion was turned to expectant waiting for the “Promise of the Father” that Jesus told them was coming. (Acts 1:4-5)
- Act 2:46-47. The church in its fledgling state were in one accord in their love for Jesus, the Apostle’s doctrine, and one another. The result was an atmosphere of miracles and revival.
- Act 5:12-16. The aftermath of the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira brought the church into a new era of unity. They were in one accord, recognizing that this Jesus was indeed alive and that He was personally present in their midst. They saw the manifestation of the Spirit both in their gatherings and in the community around them. A common passion brings an atmosphere charged for the supernatural.
In a day when many avoid being committed to a local church, when there are so many disputed fine points of Christian doctrine, and when our political differences seem to be beyond repair, how do we find the capacity to be in one accord? My friends at the football game somehow manage to generate unity on Saturday afternoon, even though they may fight like cats and dogs during the week. Do we have things in our churches that stir shared passion, things that can bring us into “one accord?” I think there are a few:
- Jesus is alive and He took our sin on Himself. I am forgiven and so are you. Let’s thank Him.
- God loves me with a Father’s love, and He loves you, too. Let’s adore Him.
- I love Jesus and so do you. Let’s tell Him.
· I want others to know Him, and so do you. Let’s ask Him.
If that’s all we can get passionate about, that’s plenty. However, in most of our churches we have much more: He is good. He heals and delivers. He meets our needs. He’s coming again. I could go on. When we manage to find a way to celebrate these things with the passion they engender, “one accord” ensues and powerful things happen. It’s not a mob, it’s a congregation, and it shakes things up.
Here’s the Point: In your quest for healing, there is wonder-working power in being with a group that’s in one accord. In order to do that, you must first go to gatherings of believers. Once you’re there, be alert for things you can agree about. The more the better, but if “Jesus is Lord” is all you can manage, then that’s enough. Look for groups and places that have a sense of cohesion about the things of God, His goodness, His healing power, the wonder of His Word, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Join in and let your passions rise with the tide and watch what happens.
In our next lesson we will look at the “Special Sauce” that blends us into agreement, passion, and power in His Presence: Praying in the Holy Spirit. It turns a prayer meeting into a meeting with God. You don’t want to miss it. Previous lessons on Healing Help along with video teachings are available at www.pastorvirgil.com. God wants you healed and so do I.
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