Peace, going on in the fear of the Lord and comfort of the Holy Spirit
Acts 9:26-43 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
When he came to Jerusalem, he was trying to associate with the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took hold of him and brought him to the apostles and described to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had talked to him, and how at Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus. 28 And he was with them, moving about freely in Jerusalem, speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 And he was talking and arguing with the Hellenistic Jews; but they were attempting to put him to death. 30 But when the brethren learned of it, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him away to Tarsus.
31 So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase.
32 Now as Peter was traveling through all those regions, he came down also to the saints who lived at Lydda. 33 There he found a man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden eight years, for he was paralyzed. 34 Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; get up and make your bed.” Immediately he got up. 35 And all who lived at Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord.
36 Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which translated in Greek is called Dorcas); this woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did. 37 And it happened at that time that she fell sick and died; and when they had washed her body, they laid it in an upper room. 38 Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, having heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him, imploring him, “Do not delay in coming to us.” 39 So Peter arose and went with them. When he arrived, they brought him into the upper room; and all the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing all the tunics and garments that Dorcas used to make while she was with them. 40 But Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed, and turning to the body, he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up. 41 And he gave her his hand and raised her up; and calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive. 42 It became known all over Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. 43 And Peter stayed many days in Joppa with a tanner named Simon.
In today’s text it says: So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase. Just prior it says: When he came to Jerusalem, he was trying to associate with the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took hold of him and brought him to the apostles and described to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had talked to him, and how at Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus. And he was with them, moving about freely in Jerusalem, speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord. And he was talking and arguing with the Hellenistic Jews; but they were attempting to put him to death. But when the brethren learned of it, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him away to Tarsus. In John 14:27 Jesus says: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” The peace that the church enjoyed was not the peace of the world. The world was against them. They were trying to put Paul to death as they already had done to others of the faith. The peace that the church enjoyed came from the comfort of the Holy Spirit and the fear of the Lord. Psalm 128:1 says: How blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, Who walks in His ways. If we will fear the Lord, there will be no one or nothing else that we need to fear. If we will walk in His ways, we will be blessed. Ephesians 1:3 says: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. We have every spiritual blessing in Christ. They are ours in heaven. Jesus taught us to pray saying: Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. We are to walk in the spiritual blessings of Christ on earth. Peace in the midst of chaos, confusion and conflict is one of the greatest blessings we have in Christ. In John 16:33 Jesus says: “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
The overcoming power and peace of Christ in the midst of the chaos, confusion and conflict in the world today is not only a blessing that we have in the world, it is also one of the most powerful witnesses that we have to the world. There will be tribulation and if we believe what Jesus said, the tribulation will continue to get worse. As it does, the peace of Christ will shine even brighter in the darkness of the world. We are seeing that there is little if anything of human institutions that we can trust. Governments lie and deceive for power and control. Science no longer pursues the truth, but rather follows the finances. Education no longer promotes thinking, but rather indoctrination into a way of thinking. Truth in our society and culture is no longer based on reality and fact, but rather on perception and opinion. Living apart from and opposed to truth is a source of conflict and lack of peace. When Saul was confronted by Jesus for persecuting the church Jesus said: ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ (Acts 26:14) Another translation says: ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is useless for you to fight against my will.’ It is difficult, useless when we oppose God’s will. It causes conflict and lack of peace. If we will walk in His ways, even in the most difficult times, we will have peace and comfort. Romans 8:28-30 says: We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
May this song, written by a man who suffered great tribulation and loss in the world, but knew the peace of Christ be our declaration and prayer.
- When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
- Though Satan should buffet,
though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
- My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
- For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
- But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!
- And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul. Amen.