Acts 4:8 (ESV) — 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders…
Spirit-filled speech. What is it? What does it sound like? I don’t know about you but when I hear that term my mind most often runs right to Acts 2 and the Day of Pentecost. In other words “speaking in tongues.” And there is no doubt that is one great example. Though what is often overlooked in that passage is that we know the content of what was spoken that day – and it wasn’t mysterious at all. The people that day said: “we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” Ac 2:11.
But what about in this passage in Acts. 4? Note these 4 things quickly:
1 – Peter revealed no new truth. There was no special revelation. Just as in Acts 2, extant information was in play.
2 – His message was not received with a great response. Just the opposite. Being Spirit empowered did not mean it would be well received or massively impactful in the positive way we might imagine.
3 – Vs. 11 shows how Peter applied an OT passage to Christ. He used the exegesis of Scripture as his means, citing Ps. 118. He did not shy away from using the Scripture as His authority. Amazingly – and in contradistinction to some today – he did not feel the need to untether Gospel preaching from the Old Testament.
4 – Vs. 12-13 shows that it was Peter’s unapologetic boldness to declare the truth about Christ which characterized his speech. This is what the Spirit does. He gives us unapologetic boldness to declare Jesus, the resurrection and His exclusivity. And it is this continued boldness that they all pray for again in vs. 29. This is the concern of the early Church – and in our day, it is all the more needed.
We do not need wild predictions or some new, deep revealed truths: We need to declare the cross of Jesus as the exclusive means to be reconciled to God with unapologetic boldness and uncompromising clarity in the face of any and all opposition and contrary to cultural correctness.
And so in Acts 4:31 “And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.”
This is what it means to speak in the power of the Spirit.