· Ananias and his wife Sapphira, sold property like Barnabas did, but decided to give only half to the apostles though claimed it was all.
· Peter affirmed the money was his and his wife’s and that they were under no compulsion to give it all, but that their scheme wasn’t about lying to men but to the Holy Spirit.
· Both Ananias and his wife died as judgment - for they both had seen the great power of the Holy Spirit displayed, but didn’t really believe that he was active in their own lives
· Everyone in the church who heard about these events understood that God was serious and understood they must treat his grace and work with great respect
· The apostles continued to perform miracles (at this point most miracles seem limited to their involvement)
· The new followers of Jesus used a part of the Jewish Temple to meet in
· Others wanted to know more but were afraid to join the gathering (probably because of fear of retaliation by the Jewish leaders)
· Even in the midst of this fear people decided to follow Jesus
· People brought the sick to the apostles to be healed. At times just touching Peter’s shadow could heal someone.
· The high priest and the Sadducee religious/political party were jealous and had the apostles arrested and jailed
· In the middle of the night an angel opened up the jail and told them to preach openly in the Temple the next day, and they did
· The entire Jewish leadership was going to try the apostles but they weren’t at the jail as expected. Instead they were found preaching about Jesus in the Temple courts.
· They asked the apostles why they refused to listen to their warning not to preach about Jesus and why they insisted in making the religious leaders the “bad guys” in his death
· Peter affirmed
o that they must obey God not them
o The Sanhedrin did have Jesus killed, but Jesus rose
o Jesus is at the right hand of God (place of equality and honor)
o Jesus is the savior, and those who repent and believe in him will be forgiven
· The Sanhedrin wanted to put all the apostles to death they were so mad
· One wise man, Gamaliel, suggested that they wait to see what happens and let God work it out. If they aren’t from God it will all fade away, but if they are then it will succeed no matter what and they will find themselves fighting God.
· They were persuaded from killing them, but not fully persuaded because they still had the apostles flogged and ordered them not to share Jesus with anyone else.
· The apostles responded by praising God, that like Jesus they had chosen to suffer for the kingdom rather than give in.
· They continued to teach about Jesus, completely neglecting the consequences for doing so.
· God takes serious when we pretend to love him more than we do. I might think I am fooling others, but in fact I am dishonoring the very real and all-knowing God of the universe. I must be careful that the outside of me (the part that others see) reflects the true inside of me (the part that God clearly sees).
· Jesus is a big deal, and I should share him with others as if he is a big deal.
· My message should be motivated by the call of God, and not tapered because of my fear of others.
· Joel, please God – not others!
Forgive me for acting religious as if what others think about my faith really mattered. I know that ultimately it is only your opinion that matters. Help me align my inside reality with the outside me I project. Open my eyes to those I need to boldly share you with, and help me not shrink back because I am worried about what they are going to think. Make my words full of both grace and truth. Open my eyes to someone that I can share with this very day.
For Your Glory, Amen
Posted on Tue, February 10, 2015
by Joel King