BACK TO ACTS—REVIEWING ACTS CHAPTER FIVE—STUDY NUMBER SEVEN.
There are at least six main thoughts found in this powerful chapter of Acts five. Each one of them is a special study in itself. However because of time and space our goal for this study is to get you to read and reread this chapter of 42 verses. One might say that in this chapter we continue to see the “real” New Testament church manifest itself and the Holy Spirit records it for us to guide us in the 21st century in our local churches. We will not labor over each division of this chapter but bring it to our attention and note some of the powerful verses and thoughts within each division. In these separate divisions of the chapter we see the workings of the Lord, angels and followers of the Lord as well as the enemies of the new church. One might say here we see the reality of the New Testament church in one chapter.
• The sin of Ananias and Sapphira…This is an amazing story and is somewhat similar to a happening in the Old Testament where two offered “strange fire” on the new Tabernacle altar and God took their lives also (Lev. 10:1). In both cases, God was establishing the purity and holiness of his place of worship. We know this story well for we have heard many sermons and many discussions. However, perhaps the bottom line to this incident is verse 11, “And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.” God can and will get our attention.
• The Apostles mighty miracles…Yes we do have record of God using the Apostles to bring miracles and healing to those all about them. However, there is no doubt this was possible because of the hand of God working in their midst. Verse 14, “And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.” They were added to the Lord. Amen.
• The scene now changes…off to prison…We were seeing mighty happening all about but now we see that things have changed in the life of the apostles. Verses 18-19, “And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison. But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth…” Again we must see how this incident ends, “Saying, did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? And, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.”
• Apostles preach to the Council…Verse 29, “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, we ought to obey God rather than man.” This bold statement was perhaps the answer to the New Testament church in the first century.
• The council reacts and Gamaliel gives advice. In verses 33-39 is the attempt of the Council to do something to the fact that the New Testament church was filling the city with its doctrine. Now we see the bottom line once again in verse 39, “But if it be God, ye cannot over-throw it, lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.”
• Shame for His name…We conclude this amazing chapter with the last three verses. Look how the Holy Spirit summarizes the thoughts of this chapter for us, “And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go, And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.”