There is a word in the 23rd verse of the 4th chapter of Acts introducing the text from which I will preach today that speaks loudly to our church today. That word is “COMPANIONS” in the New American Standard version of scripture. That same word is translated as “THEIR OWN COMPANY” in the King James Version.
When Peter and John were released from the hands of their adversaries, they wasted no time in returning to fellow believers to report all that had happened. These believers are called in the Greek text, “pros tous idious” which mean, “one’s own kind”. You might say “KINDRED” or even “FAMILY”. Peter and John went home to be consoled and restored after the enemies of the gospel had worked them over. They needed a spiritual break.
Over in verse 27 of the same chapter, those who opposed Peter and John are identified, “For truly in this city thee were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel” (Acts 4:27).
These adversaries of the gospel worked hard to maintain their own positions of power and control by arguing against, putting down and even crucifying God’s own Son. In today’s passage, these spiritual bullies were ready to do the same thing to Peter and John or any of Christ’s followers. There are two distinct groups identified in the 4th chapter of Acts, the “COMPANIONS” in the gospel, and the “ENEMIES” of the gospel.
The point I want to make is, in a world that regularly opposes, beats up on, and works against the people of God, we need COMPANIONS and a CHURCH where we can go for support, prayer and rest. Peter and John did not waste any time returning to their place and their people. I believe that it is important for every believer to have such a place. Peter and John demonstrated a sense of urgency and desperation when they returned to their spiritual family. This world and many people in it display a growing intensity in negativity and opposition to the gospel message. We must, like Peter and John, be determined to find, and be loyal to, our church family in which our COMPANIONS in the gospel gather.
DO YOU BELIEVE WITH ME THAT YOUR COMPANIONS AT GRACE CARE ABOUT YOU, PRAY FOR YOU, AND SUPPORT YOU IN YOUR WALK WITH JESUS?
That’s what “pros tous idious” believers like us are called to do just like they did with Peter and John.
I read about an elderly lady who frequently visited the post office just down the street from her home. One day during her visit, she was confronted by a long line of people waiting for service. As she waited patiently, the customer behind her asked about the nature of her business. She told him that she wanted to purchase some stamps. He said, “Why don’t you use the stamp machine over there in the corner and save some time?” She politely answered, “That machine can’t ask me about my arthritis.”
COMPANIONS care about each other. Lord Jesus, help us to care about each other. Make Grace a church that is filled with COMPANIONS. Amen.