I believe this chapter is a vivid illustration of that which Jesus had warned the Jewish leaders in Matthew chapter 21. Bob is a pastor/teacher and elder at Community Bible Chapel in Richardson, Texas, and has contributed many of his Bible study series for use by the Foundation. He was talking about the present age, his own day. We're being opposed! 31God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. 03/26/2006. They may still retain their position for a short time, but they have already lost their power. It is at this point that the account of the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira, at the beginning of Acts chapter 5, begins to come into focus. This was exciting, but not exactly according to the command of Jesus. 14. [Acts 5:12-42] August 30. They stood before them and very quietly said, "Look. For example, when Jesus told the man who was lowered through the roof that his sins were forgiven, the Pharisees immediately recognized Jesus’ claim to deity, and they began to oppose Him (Luke 5:18-26). The apostles may not have the position or standing of the Sanhedrin, but they have the power and the authority. They took their seats. And when Jesus entered Jerusalem as her Messiah, accepting the praise of men and throwing the merchants out of the temple precincts (Matthew 21:1-17), He was challenged by the chief priests and the elders of the people as to what authority He had to do such things (Matthew 21:23). He also taught them that their leadership would be taken from them and that another nation would become God’s kingdom. They were to return to the temple, not to some place less visible and less dangerous. Here it was an exposure of sin which so angered some members of the Sanhedrin that they could not even see straight. (From Pulpit Commentary, Acts 5:42). Christians seem to think they need to “get the power” before they can proclaim the message, but it is in proclaiming the message that the power of God is released. No wonder they were so angry. In their rejection of God’s Messiah, the Lord Jesus, the leaders of the nation were rejecting God and His authority. 17 But the high priest rose up, and all who were with him (that is, the party of q the Sadducees), and filled with r jealousy 18 they arrested the apostles and s put them in the public prison. It is a little difficult to have a trial when the prisoners are missing. So let them back off, cool down, and see what would come of it all. You can hear a great deal of propaganda about that in these days. These things, which Jesus foretold, are seen to be taking place before our eyes in our text. The Ethiopian Eunuch. 1. Acts 5:12 ESV Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles. Key issue: His command to be witnesses. (Acts 5:40-42 RSV). With the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the preaching of the gospel began with thousands coming to faith in Jesus as the Messiah (Acts 2). (Acts 5:27-33 RSV). That is because it was a privilege to the apostles, not a “cross to bear.” How much we make of pain today, and how little we make of the privilege of suffering for the sake of His name. And many who will spend eternity in Hell, apart from the Savior, will have heard the gospel many, many times. i. They would not have dignified the apostles by being seen in the crowd, but they surely had their spies, watching closely for an infraction of the rules. In either case—if it were a movement of men, or if it were of God—it would be better for the Sanhedrin to take a “wait and see” stance, rather than to act precipitously. I pray as well that you will not be open-minded and tolerant, like Gamaliel, but never coming to a personal repentance and faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior. This was no “cool and calm” decision. 12The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. Stand up and be counted. Are we keeping the faith in this way? They were, as Luke tells us, “cut to the quick,” the same expression used only one other time, in chapter 7, to describe the reaction of those who heard the indictment of Stephen (Acts 7:54). That is another statement of fact. It began with the appearance of Jesus and with His teaching and healing. They counted themselves fortunate to suffer dishonor for his name. I pray that you will not be one of those hard-hearted people, like the chief priests, who refused to listen. We will be there as the Council convenes, and as they call for the prisoners to be brought forth, only to learn they have escaped. But God knew. I said, "I mean it with all my heart. This crowd is composed of those who are not believers, who are reticent to join the Christians in their worship, prayers, or teaching, but who do want to be healed of their infirmities. The church has been bold in its witness. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you killed." Word got out, so that people from surrounding towns and villages began to congregate in Jerusalem. Read the Passage: Acts 5:12-42 Ministry and Arrest (5:12–21) Acts 5:12–16 records that God was pleased to facilitate many signs and wonders among the people during the early days of the church. For before these days Theudas arose, giving himself out to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him; but he was slain and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. The key players in this drama are the apostles—all twelve of them—and the people of Jerusalem and the surrounding areas, and the Sanhedrin, the highest Jewish governing body (both legislative and judicial) in Israel. And they then praised Him from the words of Psalm 2, which spoke of the futility of the efforts of world powers to resist God and His purposes. If we are aware of what is going on in our own day we can see that these four are very essential to us and must be present in our own hour. Nor does it say that the shadow of Peter falling on them did heal them. 17 But the high priest rose up, along with all his associates (that is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy;69 18 and they laid hands on the apostles, and put them in a public jail. 30 “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. 10. This was, we should note, the first instance of physical suffering for the name of Christ, and the apostles were able to rejoice in their sufferings because it was for the name of Christ and for the sake of the gospel. The doctors had given her just a few months to live, and through prayer the tumor disappeared. They say, "What is wrong with the church now? He seems to manifest a clear head, a measure of impartiality, and good, sound, judgment. When the owner of the vineyard sent men to collect that which the vineyard had produced, the vine-growers rejected the owner’s authority and claim to this fruit, and they beat and killed those who were sent (the prophets of Israel). No one who lived in Jerusalem could say that they had never heard the gospel. It is true that the power of God through the message and through the apostles was unusually great in these days. And they were all together in Solomon's Portico. Their orders were not from God, but from mere men. 13No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. The Sadducees were hopping mad. There is the clang of doors shutting and of locks being secured. 20"Go, stand in the temple courts," he said, "and tell the people the full message of this new life.". It was the beginning of a course of action that would continue throughout the history of the church. There was another option, however. When are we going to act consistently with the spiritual weapons God has given us? Peter’s final words, which referred to the witness of the Holy Spirit through the signs and wonders God accomplished through them, was another painful point. They listened very carefully to what Peter and the apostles said in reply. The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed. It shows clearly the fallen character of man. in 1971. The second scene is in the Council, the meeting of the Sanhedrin. There were some surprises in store for these men, however. The deepest need of man is spiritual healing, not physical. We are called to this. 76 Notice that they do not use the name “Jesus,” but instead they refer to Jesus indirectly, speaking of “this name.”. 19 But an angel of the Lord during the night opened the gates of the prison, and taking them out he said, 20 “Go your way, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of this Life.” 21 And upon hearing this, they entered into the temple about daybreak, and began to teach. And God knew how to use that man, and when to have him speak. ¶“ 19 However an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors during the night. 03/19/2006 (morning) The Stoning Of Stephen. Acts 5:12-42 New International Version (NIV) The Apostles Heal Many 12 The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. Browse Sermons on Acts 5:12-42. It is not our faithfulness which regulates God’s power; it is God’s sovereignty which regulates that. What does that do to you? Whatever tends to the purity and reputation of the church, promotes its enlargement; but that power alone which wrought such miracles by the apostles, can rescue sinners from the power of sin and Satan, and add believers to His worshippers. The "miracles" that seemingly take place in these great healing meetings are usually of a psychological character which restores people temporarily. "We wrestle not against flesh and blood..." (Ephesians 6:12a KJV). This text has a great deal of relevance and application to us. Acts 5:42 Commentaries: And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ. Related Topics: Suffering, Trials, Persecution, Robert L. (Bob)Deffinbaugh graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary with his Th.M. These are very happy faces, faces which reflect the grace of God and cleansed consciences, through faith in the shed blood of Jesus, the Nazarene, the promised Messiah, whom Israel rejected and put to death but whom God raised from the dead. Here too Peter and John were arrested and taken to stand trial before the Sanhedrin on the following day. First, the apostles, through whom signs and wonders were being performed. Sermon outline Acts 5:17-42. 39But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.". 72 I like this proverb, which seems apt: “There are three things which are stately in their march, Even four which are stately when they walk: The lion which is mighty among beasts And does not retreat before any, The strutting cock, the male goat also, And a king when his army is with him” (Proverbs 30:29-31). The seriousness of the situation was sure to be grasped by this unrefined group of Galileans. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. Into that courtroom, stunned by these events, came those who reported that the apostles were back in the temple, doing exactly what they had been arrested for doing the previous day. Liberty, the word of God is not bound. They would not believe that he was risen from the dead. and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them [the apostles] and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it. They hoped for a frightened group of men who had lost all of their courage over the course of that night in the prison. All that Peter and the other apostles did was simply to tell these men the truth. They were released, not so much for their own safety (for they were yet to stand before the Sanhedrin the next morning), but in order to continue to proclaim the gospel.74 They were not to “tone down” their preaching as a result of their arrest and imprisonment. In addition, the things for which the saints praised God in Acts 4:24-28 are also dramatically illustrated in our text: And when they had been released, they went to their own companions, and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. They have all continued to gather in the temple precincts, at the portico of Solomon. Their lives are at stake. That is part of the "sufferings of Christ for his body's sake" (Colossians 1:24 KJV), which Paul speaks of. 13 And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them. Thus, if the apostles had the Holy Spirit, then they were obeying God and the Sanhedrin (who lacked power) was acting in disobedience to God. When the Apostle Paul wrote his last letter to his son in the faith, Timothy, he said, "In the last days there shall come perilous times..." (2 Timothy 3:1b KJV). This sounds like the days of Jesus all over again, does it not? Many people in our country have never heard the gospel, but most have heard, or have had the opportunity to hear. They strike back with the only procedure they know -- to put someone in prison, lock them up. Those preachers push this idea into a right and demand of being able to name and claim whatever you want from God. Here is the risen Lord appearing before them and scolding them because they would not believe that he was risen. Gathering together all of the severity he could muster, and probably revealing a great deal of frustration and anger, the high priest began to badger the apostles. All the time that lies between the first and second comings of Jesus Christ are the last days. And every day in the temple and at home they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ. Gamaliel appealed to his brethren on the Council to show restraint and to entertain the possibility that the movement they were trying to suppress was actually ordained and sustained of God. Yet, in spite of his objectivity and his good advice,78 there is no evidence that Gamaliel took the gospel or this movement seriously enough. 35Then he addressed them: "Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. Now many signs and wonders were done among the people by the hands of the apostles. 42Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ. From all appearances (especially when viewed in the light of the stoning of Stephen in chapter 7), they would have carried out their intentions, except for the intervention of a rather strange ally, a highly respected teacher of the Pharisees, named Gamaliel. Remember, in Chapter 4, Peter and John had been brought before the Sanhedrin and when they came back to the others they prayed together and this was their prayer: "And now, Lord, look upon their threats, and grant to thy servants to speak thy word with all boldness, while thou stretchest out thy hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of thy holy servant Jesus." They come together for a variety of purposes, including prayer and worship and teaching (by the apostles). Without interruption or modification, the apostles went to the temple day after day, proclaiming the gospel in the courts of the temple and from house to house. Part 3 (Acts 5:19-21): Have another teacher or student be the angel. But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out and said, "Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life." 30The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead—whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. It is also evident that later on in the New Testament, the results of preaching the gospel are not as dramatic (cf. Acts 6:7-15. He can even send an earthquake, as he did for Paul and Silas at Philippi. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. They will think we are a little odd. The apostles would be reprimanded, and if they promised not to preach again in the name of Jesus, they would be released, after a good beating. How difficult it would have been for the Council members to regain their composure, enough to sound in control and as a force to be taken seriously. In our study of Acts, we have seen the apostles strictly warned not to preach or teach in the name of Jesus. This was to show these leaders that they really were not willing to accept any authority other than their own. They had gotten accustomed to giving orders to men as though God was speaking through them, but Peter’s words shocked them into reality. 3 Now Peter and John were o going up to the temple at p the hour of prayer, q the ninth hour. One of these signs, albeit an unfortunate one, was the death of Ananias and Sapphira. I would like in this lesson to approach the account as though we were seeing a movie. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. This is the one under whom the apostle Paul was instructed (cf. The angel will let the disciples out of prison and tell them to start preaching again. It may be that they were not convinced at all by this man, who was their opponent, philosophically speaking. ", 29Peter and the other apostles replied: "We must obey God rather than men! Gamaliel was a man who acted like a member of the highest court in the land should act. By Warren E. Berkley From Expository Files 11.11; November 2004 . It was they who were indicted, not the apostles. They asked two specific things: That God would give the Academic Senate at Stanford University the courage to do the right thing: to yield to demands which were right and proper and to resist those that were improper, and when the demands were not met, that the radicals be restrained; that God would thwart their announced plans to burn down the campus. These committees against us, and the powers that be, etc., they won't let us do what we want. The book of Acts is still being written today. Why don't we have signs and wonders and mighty events like these taking place?" There have been many “great escapes” in history, but this escape is one of the most harmless and enjoyable. As Joe Blinko used to put it, "The devil is no pimple-squeezer; he goes for the jugular vein." The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people, and with one accord the believers gathered together in … But when God heals the spirit, it is an eternal event. Yet these same four factors are as present with us today as they were in that early day: Power, the power of God to change lives, to heal, to restore, to make people whole. They have thoughts arising in their hearts which they think originate with themselves, but they are being put into their minds by invisible forces which are at work to oppose the will and purpose of God. Many are those who, like Gamaliel, may be willing to grant that God may be speaking through men, but who are not ready to accept and act on the message. This love was more than a warm feeling. No “slap on the wrist” would have been sufficient for the Sadducees here. Now here are the apostles confronted with the same group that had just murdered their Lord, threatened by the same hostility that had accomplished the death of Jesus. In neither case do we get the impression they died naturally. Those last days began when our Lord first appeared upon the earth. But in both cases, after the death of these men, their movements died along with them. They cared little for the law or for “due process”; they only wanted to see these men dead. Acts 5:12-42: The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. They constitute, therefore, what the Apostle Paul later on, in Second Corinthians 12, calls "the signs of an apostle..." (2 Corinthians 12:12). Very carefully, the temple guards were dispatched to the temple, where they politely and with a cautious eye on the crowd, escorted the apostles to the courtroom where they would be tried. This brings us to our second scene, which took place in the courtroom of the council. We make a great mistake if we read that as though Paul was talking only about the future. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you (Mark 5:11-12). What greater works? We’ll eat it when they send us out of the room--which they always do.”. There is no reason to doubt that from the text, and, based upon the inspiration of this author and his work, there is every reason to believe him to be completely accurate here and elsewhere. They wanted to kill the apostles. 2. After him Judas the Galilean arose in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him; he also perished, and all who followed him were scattered. Well, says the Scripture, these men and women, these students and others, are being manipulated by powers they are not aware of. "And," said Jesus, "greater works than these shall he do..." (John 14:12b RSV). There was the possibility that God was behind this movement. This Council, intent on indicting the apostles, was instead indicted by them. Why do they act this way? The conflict between the apostles and the Jewish leaders started long before this, as you know. And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women, so that they even carried out the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and pallets, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. The great thing that God is after is the healing of the hurt of humanity in its spiritual sickness, its evil, its darkness and its desperateness. No one knows how many but it must have been well into the thousands, perhaps even ten thousand or more, in a city which at that time had a normal population of about forty to fifty thousand. And so I am not so sure that his premise was correct, even though his advice may have been, in this instance. There is an inward change that is never lost, it goes on forever. There is nothing here to suggest that the apostles encouraged this kind of thing at all. 12 And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. 68 Solomon’s portico is the same place mentioned in 3:11, where the people gathered in response to the healing of the lame man, where Peter preached, and where he and John were arrested. Their power (which they had been challenged about by this group) came from the Holy Spirit, who was given to those who obey God. And when spiritual healing happens, multitudes will be added to the church. Don't think it strange. How sad it is that Gamaliel was willing to consider the hypothetical possibility that God was behind the church, but not willing to take the evidence seriously enough. But God wants us to look beyond this immediate opposition of men and understand that the opposition would never occur if it were not for the existence of certain malevolent beings behind men. It is an escape from death. 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