For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy Son Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur. And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus. And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.”
The word holy means that Christ was separated for a special mission; the word Son refers to the fact that He was deity; the word Jesus refers to His humanity, and so the whole phrase together refers to the Hypostatic Union, the God-Man, the unique Person of the universe.
To do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur means the life and death of Christ was all a part of the plan of God, it was no accident. The Greek word for predestinate is “proorizo.” “Pro” means before and “orizo” means to mark or to design. Combined these words mean to determine or to design beforehand. God not only created us, He also predesigned a plan specifically for each one of us in eternity past. This plan is a perfect plan because it was designed by a perfect Person (God). God’s plan for you is revealed in a logical and sensible way and He also provides the means for His plan to be carried out in your life. Discovering this plan calls for believers to study and apply Bible doctrine on a consistent basis. (Romans 12:1-2)
And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence. They want to be able to witness with confidence. The answer to that prayer was given to them in the Person of the Holy Spirit. Not only does the Holy Spirit restrain those who oppose us, He empowers us to speak boldly with confidence as He did with these believers.
While You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus. Healing was always the way of getting attention for the Gospel. Recall that in the ministry of our Lord, every time there was an act of healing He gave a message, declared the Gospel. So healing was just a way of gathering people to hear the Gospel.
And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness. It was shaken to remind them of the power of witnessing. They had prayed and asked to be effective in witnessing in verse 29. The shaking was to remind them that the power for witnessing is the power of the Holy Spirit—“and they were all filled with the Spirit,” the basis of witnessing, “and they began to speak the word of God with boldness.” Here is the answer to prayer. Boldness in witnessing does not come through prayer, it comes through the filling of the Spirit, and they are reminded of that. Rebound is the basis of the filling of the Spirit; the filling of the Spirit is the basis of witnessing. Another factor is an understanding of the Gospel by the one who witnesses. You cannot communicate what you do not understand. (Acts1:8)
“And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them. And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all. For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales and lay them at the apostles’ feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need.”
Heart refers to the thinking part of the mind, and it means that they were looking at life from the same viewpoint—divine viewpoint, which introduces doctrine, knowledge of doctrine as the pattern for the life. Obviously the Holy Spirit is the witness of the life, II Corinthians 3, but we are dealing with Acts 4 where another part of the witness of the life is developed: you have to know Bible doctrine, which is still the work of the Holy Spirit. By knowing doctrine you are oriented to the plan of God and the grace of God, and this gives you a relaxed mental attitude. Soul here has the concept of purpose. They had the same purpose in life. All believers are to have the same purpose: glorifying God.
We have already seen the principle that Christianity is not communism, but it must be remembered that these believers were under persecution from the Jews at this time. Already the persecutions were beginning, first from the Jews and later from the Roman Empire. In these early days the result of this great pressure was not communism but charity and they helped each other in time of need.
And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all. This indicates that in those days their primary preaching was about the resurrection of Christ. In the Apostolic Era (the period of the early church when the gift of apostleship was valid) the resurrection of Christ played an important part for two reasons. First, the Resurrection is a doctrine which connects the future with the past and the present. The doctrine of the Resurrection showed that God the Father was pleased with the work of God the Son on the Cross. So when they talked about the Resurrection, they talked about its past implications with future results. The Resurrection was the Father’s acceptance of the work of the Son declared to the entire earth. And the Resurrection had future implications; in the future, just as Christ has a resurrection body, so all believers will have a resurrection body and will live with Him forever. Second, in the Resurrection the apostles could declare the Gospel as the hope for every believer in the future. God poured out maximum divine operating assets (grace) on these believers and their power was fantastic. The manner in which millions of people within a short period of time were evangelized was an amazing thing.
For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales and lay them at the apostles’ feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need. This was charity within the local church for those in need not forcing the rich to give up their wealth and redistribute it to the poor. Distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. At this time in 30 AD this was being practiced on a local basis, but eventually the entire Jerusalem church was dispossessed through tremendous persecution. In 60 AD Paul was found going all over the ancient world collecting money and the charity to the Jerusalem church became a world-wide ministry.