Their method was vital—Stand!
To “stand” is literally, “to stand firm.” The word is used to describe one who stands up to make a formal declaration. It is essentially a command to be bold. Peter and John had been arrested, threatened, and imprisoned. That would be enough to dampen the spirits of even the most fearless of proclaimers. Therefore, the angel’s command to stand and be bold in their work was surely welcomed. Scripture is replete with the command for God’s people to be bold, and examples of those who embodied it. Jeremiah was told, “Be not afraid of their faces for I am with thee…” (Jer. 1:8). Stephen stood boldly before a mob of angry Jews which ultimately cost him his life (Acts 7). Paul was bold in his rebuke of Elymas (Acts 13:8) and later wrote, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord…” (1 Cor. 15:58). The Devil is alive today just as he was in the first century. He does everything that he can to thwart our evangelistic efforts. He wants us to be afraid and intimidated but we cannot allow that to happen. We must stand firm in our conviction and our efforts to carry out God’s work.
Their message was eternal—life!
Peter and John were told to “speak in the temple…all the words of this life.” Jesus said, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). Peter confessed, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou has the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). The evangelistic message of the first century church was so simple yet so profound—eternal life is found in Christ! Peter said, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). In our efforts to evangelize the world, their message must be ours. Paul said that the gospel is God’s power to save because it is the way that God makes men righteous (Rom. 1:16-17). Our opinions, philosophies, and ideas are powerless to save. The first century church “went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). So must we.