Acts 5

Author

Joel King

Scripture

Acts 5:1-42

Observation

· 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.

Application

· 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!

Prayer

Father,

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

3 comments (Add your own)

1. Jim Asselin wrote:
Amen Joel.
How important it is for me to realize the words of Gamaliel. That if my sharing , teaching, about God is from God, it cannot fail - if it is left up to Jim, then it will be done for the wrong reasons, be of little value and effect - and may actually have the opposite effect. I need to hand it all over to God in order to make it about honoring Him, and not forcing my opinion or appearance of faith upon someone else. Father, may the way, the truth, and the life be within me today.

Tue, February 10, 2015 @ 5:57 AM

2. Rob Schulze wrote:
Joel-- thank you for calling out such duplicity that's in all of us. It's easy for me in regards to Ananias and Saphira to say "what were they thinking" and then I blink and I've lied and exaggerated to make my deeds sound better than they are so that I can impress others.

"Lord, may I fear you and understand that through your full of grace, you're also full of truth, justice and holiness. May your awesomeness keep me from being too casual in your presence. May we also rejoice when we're counted worthy for suffering disgrace because we were fools for Christ. May we be bold, full of grace with words seasoned with salt but help us to be bold today... In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth."

Wed, February 11, 2015 @ 6:35 AM

3. Phil Payne wrote:
Acts 5. Contrasts between the Whole-Hearted, the Half-Hearted, and the Hard-Hearted.

A, The Half-Hearted

Ananias and Sapphira are exposed and judged because they offer a deceitful gift. The Holy Spirit is the one who exposes their hearts to Peter’s understanding. This is an example of the gift of spiritual discernment, which is a God-given insight into the thoughts and intentions of others...

There are two aspects of deceit. First, Ananias and Sapphira have lied to the Holy Spirit, thinking they can profess Christ as LORD, yet get away with half-hearted obedience. They illustrate the person who steps into the church yet keeps one foot firmly planted in the world. They are like the wicked sons of Eli (1 Samuel 2:15) who keep the fat for themselves even though it belongs to the LORD. They are like the family of Achaan that weakened the whole army of Israel by keeping for themselves some of the gold that was dedicated to God alone. Second, they have lied to the church. God quickly eliminates the evil by slaying the couple

God desires worship with a pure heart. “Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” (Psalm 24:3-5)

The second type of half-hearted faith is superstition of city dwellers who think that Peter’s shadow in itself had the power to heal. (Acts 5:15) The superstitious look superficially to God for blessing, but refuse relationship with Jesus or the church. The superstitious are those who elevate the faith-healer or the miracle worker above Jesus or substitute token religious acts for the substance of faith.

B. The Whole-Hearted

All of the apostles went regularly to Solomon’s portico (a section of the temple) and continued to work miracles, such as healing of physical ailment and deliverance from evil spirits. As they ministered at the temple they did not shrink back in fear of the arrest and punishment that eventually came. On the contrary, (vs 41) they rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer for Jesus’ sake.

Having assurance of eternal life, they did not fear death. They were also confident that God would protect and accomplish His sovereign purpose through their obedience (Psalm 2, Acts 4). This sovereignty of God was evident as God appointed a Pharisee named Gamaliel to be their defender when many of the Jewish leaders wanted to kill them. (Acts 5:33-40),
His sovereign power was also evident when God sent an angel to release the apostles from prison (Acts 5:19) and sent them back to the temple to continue teaching. Through this sign, God was telling both church and the Jewish council that the council no longer had right or power to suppress the truth of Jesus.

C. The Hard-Hearted. The progressive heart-hardening of the Sanhedrin is remarkable. In the Acts 4, they were given opportunity to recognize God’s hand in a miraculous healing. In Acts 5, they are blind to God’s deliverance of the apostles from their prison. In Acts 4, the Holy Spirit firmly, yet politely, says they should reconsider their position – whether it is only human stubbornness resisting the plain truth. In Acts 5, the council has been convicted of sin – and they are afraid (vs 29.) I paraphrase– “How dare you defy us with this teaching! You want to bring this man’s blood upon us”. The Holy Spirit, speaking through Peter, answers with truth and grace. “Indeed, you chose to crucify Jesus. And God has now exalted him as Christ, so you are no longer the rightful leaders of Israel. Yet He offers repentance and forgiveness to all – even you.” Most on the council refuse both forgiveness and truth.

APPLICATION

1. I am asking Jesus to appoint people like Gamaliel within the government or security force, to protect the public ministry of national Christians and missionaries in hostile countries. I thank God for raising up Councilman Tony Spitaleri a few years ago, when Trinity Church needed an advocate to reverse a city council decision that would have destroyed our ministry.
2. I pray often that Jesus will keep my heart pure toward Him, and try to be transparent and honest in all my conversations, lest I fall under condemnation like Ananias and Sapphira.
3. I try to obey the truth that I understand, for every step of obedience or resistance strengthens my will to continue in the same direction.
4. Prayer: When I am worried for the future, whether immediate or longer term, please increase my confidence in Your power and purpose to sustain me and work good through the difficulties that might come.

Wed, February 11, 2015 @ 9:36 AM

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