The Devil’s Only Hope

What is the Devil’s Only Hope in a Christian’s Life?

Acts 4:13-22

DATE: 23 June, 2002  PM         PLACE: BBC Blarney


I.         Introduction ()


A.      The story begins in Acts three, where Peter and John are on their way for evening prayer. Here, they encountered a man that had been lame since birth and spent his days begging for alms of charity so that he may live.

B.       Peter and John offered this man more than he asked for and much more than he could ever expect to receive.

C.       NOTICE:   Peter and John could not have ministered in today’s religious circles, for two reasons.


1.        The first is because they had no silver or gold. According to television and radio ministers it seems that having money is a standard of having faith.

2.        Secondly, because they confessed that they had no silver or gold. Today we are told to teach that negative confessions brings about evil and distress.


a.       I would simply like to ask how a sinner can be saved until he first declares he is one. To me, expressing that one is a vile sinner is a negative in anyone’s life but because it is truth it can bring forgiveness.

b.       With out confession of sin it cannot be dealt with.)


D.      What they had they gave to the lame man. Through Jesus Christ they gave him a new life. A life free from the bondage of his affliction.

E.       When the crowds began to gather because they heard this man praising God, Peter and John used this opportunity to present a message of hope in the name of Jesus. (Chapter 4:4 tells us that many that heard them that day, believed.)

F.       The captain of the temple guard had arrested Peter and John and held them in bonds until the morning. Then they were taken before Annas the high priest….. “and as many as were kindred of the high priest”. {Sounds a little like a stacked jury.}

G.       The question was presented to Peter and John…. V.7 “By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?” A Holy Ghost filled Peter was bold and quick to answer. (V 10) “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth his man stand here before you whole.” In verse 11 and 12, Peter tells them that ONLY through the name of Jesus can men be saved.


1.        Let me insert an observation here. I am one that fully believes in the ability of God to perform miracles. (Please note this is present tense. Meaning, even TODAY!)

2.        What I do not believe is that miracles are a means to salvation. Israel saw more than their share of miracles, even throughout the Old Testament. We will make no attempt to list them all but for starters they had the many miracles that led to their being set free from Egypt. Then as they travelled they had the fire of God by day and the cloud by night, seas opened before them and their enemies were destroyed behind them. Angel food was supplied for them, quail came and fell before them and water came forth from the rocks. On and on the list of miracles continues and yet they have a long list of backsliding and judgment. Many people that I have known, have received miracles in their lives but soon after they turned their back on the God of their miracle to follow the world.


H.      In our text, the high priest and his cronies where faced with a dilemma. (V 13)


1.        They were faced with a notable miracle, the proof of which was standing before them.

2.        Besides this, they were faced with the boldness of the man Peter. It states that the council took note that these men had been with Jesus.

3.        THANK GOD, even the devil knows where your strength and boldness comes from. Faced with boldness, conviction and truth the council asked themselves…. “What shall we do?”


I.         What could the devil do? NOTHING!


1.        They could not refute the truth that stood before them and neither could they withstand the Spirit and the Truth that came forth from these two men.

2.        The devil’s last hope then and NOW is to threaten you and try to get you to be silent. It is alright for you to believe the miracles. It is alright for you to be filled with the Holy Spirit. BUT JUST DON’T TELL ANYONE ELSE.


II.       Message – The Devil’s Only Hope


A.      The Devil Hopes Persecution Works (4:16-18)


1.        Threats

2.        Humiliation – being brought before such a powerful assembly

3.        Confinement – talk about ANYTHING but Jesus (4:18)


B.       The Devil Hopes You Will Obey “the Natural Man”


1.        The old man in you hates embarrassment

2.        The old man respects fear and tries to adapt

3.        The devil hopes you think only about yourself


C.       Don’t let the devil silence you! Look at the tools, the means by which he attempts to silent Christians


1.        Through fear – and intimidation

2.        Through embarrassment

3.        Through diversion – distractions - Includes


a.       Sickness

b.       Disasters – use the opportunity to reflect the Lord

c.       False gospels – flashy churches and religions that are meant to get your mind off of heaven, and serving Jesus with your cross!

d.       False brethren


4.        Through business – this is Satan’s biggest weapon today!


D.      How NOT to Stay Silent - NOTE six things in 4:19-31.


1.        They spoke-up – they said SOMETHING (4:19-20)


a.       This is the beginning of your victory – just say something for the Lord’s case, and God will bless the rest!

b.       Decide that obeying God is the highest form of worship – there is no better way to praise and love God than to obey God!


2.        They assembled (4:21-23)


a.       Church is so important

b.       They didn’t have to coerce people to come – bribe them – beg them

c.       To these Christians, getting together was their life-blood of joy

d.       They assembled almost every day (Acts 5:42)

e.       This would stir us to speak up for the Lord


3.        They rejoiced - They began to praise God (24-30).


a.       Praise is taking a moment to think of how good God is to us

b.       That moment will turn into an hour, and then two if we really mean it


4.        They began to pray (29-31a; go back and see  4:13) – get with Jesus!


a.       They knew they were out of their league, and operating beyond their own strength

b.       They knew that they could depend upon the Lord to enable them

c.       So they prayed – they asked God for


1)       Boldness – courage

2)       Miracles

3)       The ability to preach and show the power of that Name to save sinners and change their lives


5.        They were filled with the Holy Spirit (4:31)


a.       Without the Holy Spirit filling you, your mouth will only whimper, and stay silent – HE is the only m4eans of being righteously bold

b.       Without the Holy Spirit, a person is only scratching a blackboard


6.        They ALL became bold in their testimony and preaching.


a.       This was what cause 3,000 to get saved on Pentecost

b.       This was the strength that the first century church was built with


III.     Conclusion


A.      Some opposing thoughts


1.        What if the devil had convinced this little band of believers to stay quiet?


a.       Christianity would have adapted (like it is today) and faded away

b.       Christ would have died in vain

c.       God’s word would be a laughing stock

d.       Oh how the devil had hoped for such a sequence of events


2.        Is this not Satan’s only hope in our lives?


B.       What if WE decide to not stay silent


1.        To say SOMETHING in this world – even on a daily basis

2.        To make sure that we prioritise our assembling together – even if possible every day of the week, something going on in our church!

3.        To stay rejoicing – even in the midst of such struggles, and hardships

4.        To pray, and pray, and pray until God answers


a.       Pray for boldness – it does not come naturally

b.       Pray for miracles

c.       Pray for the ability to preach with wisdom and boldness and effectiveness


5.        To be FILLED with the Holy Spirit of God – have to shift out some rubbish in our lives to make room