Skip Navigation

The Work of the Holy Spirit – Acts 4

Acts 4:1-4 – The Gospel Cant be Stopped

The way Luke writes the beginning of this story (and the rest of Acts) brings glory to what the Lord is doing and minimizes the reality of the persecution. This isn’t to say that the persecution isn’t a big deal. It highlights the work of the Gospel despite the persecution! We hear that Peter and John were arrested and kept in custody overnight, but the result of what they proclaimed was that 5,000 people came to faith in Jesus. That should encourage us just as it did the New Testament church that persecution is not worth fearing because of the glory it brings to the Lord.  

Acts 4:5—11 – The Holy Spirit at Work

After Peter and John spent a night in jail, some of the men who had them arrested returned and asked them, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” Now, we are barely into the 4th chapter of Acts, but by this time, we know that Peter will proclaim the Gospel boldly any chance he gets. So, when a religious leader asks him a question like this, Peter sees this as an open door to talk about Jesus. 

Peter is a bold guy, but in verse eight, we see the main reason for Peter’s boldness, “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them…” This is the great cause of Peter’s boldness; the Holy Spirit dwells in him. But why does Luke bother mentioning this? We already know the Holy Spirit is with Peter from Chapter 2. Luke is not repeating this line, just in case we forgot. He is repeating this line to highlight that it is only by the work of the Spirit that anything like this could happen. Remember what we mentioned from Acts 1 – the disciples Jesus commanded to stay put before they had the Holy Spirit were the same disciples he commanded to go to the ends of the earth after they had the Holy Spirit. The power of the indwelling Spirit brings new life through Christ. Only by this power can Peter, John, or any of us be faithful to Christ.

Acts 4:12-22 – Gospel Boldness

The main point of Peter’s message is Acts 4:12, “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Peter confronted the authority of the day with the authority of the risen Christ, and they had no answer to give to him. The authority of Peter’s words, alongside the testimony of the man who had been crippled for forty years being miraculously healed, left the religious leaders basically speechless. They told Peter and John not to preach or heal like that anymore, and Peter and John basically said, “Thanks, but we are going to keep preaching the truth.” These guys are so convinced of and submitted to Christ’s authority that no earthly authority holds any power over them!

Acts 4:23-31 – Prayers for Boldness

After this intense confrontation, Peter and John do what any of us would probably do – they go and tell their buddies. And what do these disciples do? They don’t complain. They don’t get on social media and rant. They don’t hide out to keep this from happening again. No, they pray. They didn’t pray that the persecution would end; they prayed for boldness so that the Holy Spirit could continue working despite the persecution. We could learn so many things from the Church in Acts, but boldness would have to be at the top of the list. 

Acts 4:32-37 – The Gospel in Everyday Life

The end of Chapter 4 is very similar to the end of Chapter 2. We get a glimpse of what life in the early Church was like. The way Luke describes the like-mindedness of the believers is both encouraging and challenging. The way they sold land and possessions to provide for each other is so selfless that it is almost hard to comprehend. The Gospel had become a part of how they lived their everyday lives. What a bold testimony of the Gospel at work in our lives that we would care more about the well-being of others than our accumulation of wealth. 

The Work of the Spirit

Through all these events from Acts 1 to Acts 4 (and all the way through Acts 28), we see the work of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit empowers the disciples—the Spirit convicts of sin. The Spirit causes people to believe. The Spirit brings healing to the broken. The Spirit enables and promotes selflessness and love of neighbor. Ultimately, the Spirit brings and breathes new life into dead people. Therefore, we echo Paul in admonishing you to “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).


The disciples’ ministry in Acts is starting to look more and more like the ministry of Jesus. How is the Spirit working in your life to make you look more like Jesus? 

Make an honest assessment of yourself. Are you willing to live out your faith day-by-day, moment-by-moment, even in the face of embarrassment, criticism, or persecution? 


Share with each other how you can be bolder in proclaiming the truth. Who are some people you need to tell about Jesus unashamedly?

What are some ways you can implement biblical community, like in Acts 4:32-37, into your Church?

Memory Verse

And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

Acts 4:12
May 9, 2024

Subscribe for Updates