Book of Acts Chapter Five (Part Two)
Introduction: A key idea in the book of Acts is that believers should be witnesses for Jesus everywhere they go. Today, we hope to continue our discussion of purging.
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Read Acts 5:12-21
2. Purging from without – continued (5:12-42). The Apostles did many miracles among the people. Even though there was a fear about getting close to them, people would bring the sick to be healed. And they were healed.
The Chief Priest and his associates were so jealous of what was going on that they arrested the Apostles. However, the angle of the Lord released them to keep on sharing God's word. The Apostles were obedient to the angle.
- Evangelism. Notice in vs. 14 of this chapter in the book of Acts that people were believing in the Lord and being added to the number. In other words, people were getting saved. No matter how busy the church may be with education, fellowship, and even service projects, if people are not getting saved, something is wrong. Let's make sure we give evangelism a healthy amount of attention.
Carrying out this application should include the church having regular invitations to accept Jesus, the disciples of the church should be equipped and encouraged to lead people to Christ or at least invite and bring their loved ones to church, and literature should be made available for people to read about how to be saved.
- Jealousy. Notice in vs. 17 of this chapter in the book of Acts that the religious leaders were moved with jealousy to put the Apostles in jail. If we are not careful, the devil can use jealousy to get us to carry out his evil plans. To be jealousy is to be suspicious and resentful of a rival.
It is to be hostile or envious (desiring what the other has) of what someone else has. It is not strange for lay leaders to want the power that is invested in the pastoral office. It is not strange for members to want the attention given to disciples and those who have done an above average job.
It is not strange for the poor and working class to want the material goods that they see the middle class and more well off members enjoying. It is not strange for the singles to want what they believe to be the good life of marriage. We should remember that what God has for us is for us. God is still able to supply whatever He wants us to have.
And if God doesn't want us to have it, we will not be able to handle it. Let's keep the devil from using our jealousy to cause trouble. The more the church deals with such unimportant and ungodly issues, the less time and energy we focus on the more important issues of helping every member learn God's will and carrying it out, in every area of their lives.
- Faith for the jailhouse. Notice in vss. 18-19 of this chapter in the book of Acts that the Apostles ended up in jail, in spite of them doing God's will. It is a false assumption to assume that if we live right then no problems will come into our lives. Godly living doesn't exempt us from trouble. However, we have t
he rich promise that God will take care of His own. And as many of us have learned, God moves at His own time, which is actually the right time. Let's work on developing the faith needed to be arrested for Jesus' sake without complaining.
If we cannot even stand to see our name missing on a discipleship list without wanting to throw in the towel, we have a long ways to go in this area.
- Obeying God more than people. Notice in vss. 20-21 of this chapter in the book of Acts the example set by the Apostles. They followed God's instructions given to them by the angel, in spite of the Sanhedrin's opposition. It is sad but true, we may be called upon to choose between obeying God or obeying the authorities in our lives.
When they contradict each other, we should obey God. The best way to know what God's will is is to compare whatever is in question with what the Bible teaches. If the angel was wrong and the Sanhedrin was right then the Apostles should have followed the Sanhedrin.
The Bible is authoritative truth. And the Bible teaches that without accepting Christ as one's savior by faith, one is on one's way to a burning Hell. Furthermore, the greatest evidence of being saved is to love people, not simply collect years and titles in church.
Let's make sure we stay focused on obeying God, even when it puts us in conflict with others. This kind of focus calls for our prayerful study of and obedience to God's word, which is focused on loving people.
Read Acts 5:22-32
2. Purging from without – continued (5:12-42). For a little while, the authorities did not know where the Apostles were. They discovered that they were in the Temple teaching the people.
Carefully, the Apostles were brought to the authorities to explain why they ignored the instructions to keep quiet. Peter and the others talked about how they had to obey God rather than man. They talked about how God used the wickedness of the Jewish leaders as a part of His plan.
- Guilty of visible faithfulness. Notice in vs. 25 of this chapter in the book of Acts that the Apostles were known for obeying God's will – preaching and teaching. This is a good reputation to have. Too often, "Christians" are known for some of everything except doing God's will. Let's work on being guilty of being visibly faithful.
This application should move us to work on being godly spouses, singles, parents, children, relatives, and friends. It should move us to be profitable stewards of our health, wealth, and political might. The world ought to be able to see Jesus working in our lives.
- Defending the honor of God's servants. Notice in vs. 26 of this chapter in the book of Acts that the crowd gave the authorities the impression that they should handle the Apostles correctly or suffer having to deal with the crowd.
In a similar fashion, we should use our political might to protect those whom God is using to carry out His will. For example, we should not allow anyone to disrespect or talk down our Pastor.
If the Pastor is guilty of wrong doing then a procedure should be in place to handle such an issue with deliberate speed. If the Pastor is not guilty then prayerful respect is always in order.
This same type of attitude should be found in defending the honor of our political leaders, family leaders, and the like. Let's work on defending the honor of those whom God is using.
Remember that believers are all parts of the same body. When one part is dishonored or harmed, it will impact the rest of the parts of the body.
- Focusing on God more than pleasing people. Notice in vs. 28 of this chapter in the book of Acts that the religious authorities were more concerned with being blamed for the killing of Jesus than with supporting what was right.
Unfortunately, there are too many who are more concerned with what people think about them than with simply doing God's will. Let's make sure we are focused on doing God's will more than simply pleasing people.
We should learn and live by the truths of God, no matter who it offends and even if it means we have made some mistakes.
Conclusion: Based on this study in the book of Acts, let's work on being witnesses for the Lord, wherever we go. God has much for those who obey His will.
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