In the world of higher education there has developed a numbering system used to identify levels of instruction within each subject.

For example: There may be a requirement for freshmen to pass a first level Biology class.

In the school catalogue that very first class is usually designated “Biology 101.”

There may also be Biology 102, 103 and 104, but they are all generally recommended for first year students.

Then in the second year there may be Biology 201, 202 and 203.

For the Junior class there are the 300’s and the seniors may have the 400 series.

Generally, before someone can take a 400 series class he will have to prove to the administration that he’s mastered Biology 301.

But if a senior wants to take Biology 204, that is generally approved.

The point is: Biology 101 is the rudimentary, basic Biology class.

The same numbering system prevails in a great many Christian colleges and Seminaries as well.

So the title to tonight’s message, “Theology 101” should suggest that it deals with elementary Theology.

Of course, we are dealing with one of the public prayers of the church in Jerusalem,

And the subject matter was not for academic study.

But, tonight, WE are a seminary of sorts, and it’s my job to help you grow in the things of the Lord.

So we shall look at this prayer as the six points of an elemental course in Freshmen Theology.

This prayer refers to God as the Creator, Author, Father, Sovereign, Benefactor and Empowerer.

I know that none of you are freshmen any longer, but that’s the way that it is.

By the way, what grade are you in the things of the Lord?

None of us are Seniors and probably won’t be until we are perfected and glorified,

Unless, of course, the word “elder” means senior, then that would include me.

But if we’re not Seniors are we Juniors or Sophomores?

If we’re Sophomores, do you know the original meaning of the word?

“Sophia” is the word for “wisdom,” and “moros” is the word for “dull or stupid.”

A sophmore is a stupid wise-guy.

And the definition of the adjective “sophomoric” is “exhibiting great immaturity and lack of judgment.”

So would you rather be a freshman or a sophomore?

Briefly this evening, let’s notice what the spokesman for the church said about the Lord during the course of this prayer.

First the Lord is the CREATOR, v.24

“And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is.”

The church began this prayer with an acknowledgment of Jehovah’s sovereign omnipotence.

This is one of the fundamentals of our faith:

There is no room for the theory of evolution in the study of God.

It’s not that Christians are not receptive to the facts of science,

But in the case of evolution, there are no facts.

And if the Bible is permitted to mean what it says then it will not permit evolution as an explanation for creation.

No, very clearly, about 6 or 8,000 years ago there existed nothing but the Triune God.

And that God deliberately and rationally chose to create matter and life.

He chose to create plants, animals and man, to serve and glorify Himself.

He decreed to permit sin, and He decreed to save many of those sinners – again, all to His glory.

Every one of those sinners whom He saves, is a tiny testimony to the Lord’s first creative acts.

Creation is elemental to our faith in God.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” – Genesis 1:1.

“Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee” – Nehemiah 9:6.

“Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands” – Ps. 102:25.

Secondly, God is the AUTHOR of word of God.

“Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said,

Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?

The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.”

It is elemental to our faith that the Word of God is not the word of man.

I would like to know who stood and led the church in this prayer.

Apparently the Lord thinks that my curiosity in this matter is silly,

Because as the Author of the Word of God, he chose not to tell me.

But I wonder if it was Peter.

I say that because of what I read in Acts 1:15-16:

“And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)

Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.”

The members of the church in Jerusalem believed that God spoke through the prophets of old>

And churches today which cast doubt about the divine authorship of the Bible, are no kin to the first church.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” – II Timothy 3:16-17.

“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. – II Peter 1:21.

The Book of Ezekiel begins with the words: “The word of the LORD came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the Son of Buzi.”

And that kind of statement is echoed over and over again throughout that book.

And not that book only, but book after book.

“Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day” – Jeremiah 36:2.

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers bye the prophets” – Hebrews 1:1.

That the Bible is God-breathed is cardinal to our faith.

And that God preserved His word so that we might read it today with confidence …

Is as essential a doctrine as is the original inspiration.

Thirdly, Jehovah is TRIUNE.

“Triune” is one of the synonyms of “trinity.”

This prayer was addressed to God, and without doubt to God, the Father,

For the man offering this prayer said, “The kings of the earth stood up,

And the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.

For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together.”

Students in the Biology 101 class will touch on subjects that are more deeply studied in Biology 401.

And there is no doubt that we will be studying the Trinity in Theology 405 and in Graduate School as well.

And it’s not my purpose to dig more deeply into the subject this evening.

But it cannot be denied that this prayer calls the Lord Jesus “the Son of God,” even “His Holy Child.”

There is no doubt that the man praying believed that the Lord Jesus was a child of God – unlike anyone else who might make that claim.

And this same thought is repeated later in verse 30.

I’m not going to try to prove this evening that the Lord Jesus is the Jehovah of the Old Testament,

Because we’ve done that several times before.

But there is something interesting about this subject which I will bring to your attention.

I am convinced that the one who is praying makes reference to Psalm 2.

Making a comparison between the Psalm and the prayer some interesting points are highlighted.

Psalm 2 says, “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed.

The Psalmist refers to “Jehovah and his anointed,” but Peter talks about the Lord and his Christ.

“The anointed One” is the meaning of the Greek word “Christ.”

Then the Psalm goes on and reaches its climax in verse 12:

“Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.”

In the Psalm it is apparent that the Son is the One who is called the Anointed.

And in this prayer He is called God’s holy child.

There is no doubt in my mind that this is referring to Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

He is the anointed one and the Son, whom we must kiss lest we perish from the way.

Fourth, it is a part of Biblical Christianity to believe that God is SOVEREIGN, v.28

“For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,

For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.”

Again, this sounds very much like the sermon that Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost.

But that doesn’t mean that Peter is the one leading in prayer in chapter 4,

Because this sovereign control by God over the hearts, minds and affairs of men, is one of the basic doctrines of Biblical Christianity.

Everyone in the church probably believed it to be true, because they had experienced it in salvation.

But in the aspect referred to here, the Lord’s sovereignty was to bring about the sacrifice necessary to make salvation possible.

It was imperative that the Anointed One shed his blood for the remission of sins.

In fact the inspired Word of God made it plain that the Saviour would die in crucifixion.

So when “the kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers took counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed” even though it was the choice of their wicked hearts, it was because God had decreed it to be so.

This doctrine is one that needs to be studied intensively in Theology 401, but whether the freshmen understand it or not, it is clearly enunciated here in this prayer.

Fifth, the first church believed that the Lord was a kind and gracious BENEFACTOR, v. 29.

“And now, Lord, behold their threatenings:

And grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,

By stretching forth thine hand to heal;

And that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.”

This prayer warrior used the same logic and argument that Moses had used centuries before.

It is an attitude which is worthy of resuscitation and use in the 21st century.

Lord, “the kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against you, and against thy anointed.”

Lord, grant to us the power and authority to defend thy name and to glorify thy name.

Lord, give us utterance, that we may “open our mouths boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,

For which we are ambassadors: that we may speak boldly, as we ought to speak.”

And Lord, give us the power and authority to do more of these miraculous works, and thereby give authenticity to the message that we have been commissioned to preach.

Ah, what boldness these people already have before the throne of grace.

What courage and faith they had to ask for the impossible.

But they clearly kept two things in mind:

First, they would make sure that whatever was done, it would be done in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

There would be no doubt, that these Apostles were not working under their own power or authority.

In all likelihood before and then after every case they would magnify the name of their Saviour.

Then secondly, the Lord had already been working these miracles, & they expected them to continue.

You and I might ask the Lord for the same gifts, but we don’t have the same right to expect them.

Even before the last word of the Book of Revelation was written, God had stopped providing these miracles.

It is a part of our theological roots that miracles were special manifestations of the power of God for the purpose of authenticating the gospel message.

Today we have the written and completed Word to give us our authority.

And if people today don’t repent at the preaching of the Word of God, “neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.”

But that doesn’t mean that the Lord is not still a gracious beneficent provider of all that we need.

In fact, “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, from the Father of lights

Who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not.”

Lastly, our God is the great EMPOWERER, v.31.

“And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.”

I think that it was D.L. Moody who said that the world has never yet seen a child of God who was totally, 100% surrendered to the power of the Lord.

I can’t say that was a true statement,

But I can say that I have reason to believe that it was true.

Here we have the very first of the Lord’s churches, doing it’s best to serve the Lord in total surrender to His will and power.

And it is said that “they were ALL filled with the Holy Ghost.”

I wonder if the first church was the last church where every member wasl filled with the Holy Spirit at the same time?

And what a church service that would have been to see.

What was it like?

Did everyone start speaking in tongues, rolling in the aisles, or laughing uncontrollably?

These are things which are attributed to the filling of the Holy Spirit by the Charismatics today.

But for some reason, I don’t see any referenced to these things here.

What was the primary result of the filling of the Spirit?

They spake the Word of God with boldness.

Isn’t this the great need of the hour?

So what did the members of the first church believe about God?

They believed that He was the Creator of the Universe.

They believed that He was the Author of the Word of God.

They believed that God exists in three persons.

They believed that He is sovereign over the activities of man.

And that He is the great benefactor and empowerer of the His churches.

And I must say that I believe those things as well.