BACK TO ACTS…AND BACK TO ACTS CHAPTER FIVE
I trust you took a good long look at Acts chapter five. our study today will continue to glean some other thoughts from this pivotal chapter in our study of the Book of Acts.
It was no easy thing to live and witness for Christ in the first century. Over and over again God’s servants were persecuted, humiliated, imprisoned and beaten, all because they were faithful to their Lord. In verses 12-28 in particular and especially in verses 17-18 we read the indignation of the Sadducees who “laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison.” While these servants of the Lord were in that common prison, however, the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, “Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life” (verses 19-20). Incidentally, it is interesting to compare the ministry of angels with that of men. The angels have their divinely appointed limitations. They can open prison doors and speak to the apostles, but they cannot enter into the joy and privilege of preaching the gospel that of course is the prerogative of the sinner saved by grace and commissioned and empowered by our Lord.
We have noticed several things about these men and about the way they fulfilled their commission to “go, to stand, and to speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.” Verse 21 tells us they entered into the temple early in the morning and taught. But had they not been commanded or forbidden to speak in this Name? They had gotten their authority from God and embracd it. Not only did they embrace the authority but they had the right attitude. They rejected the negative command from the Sadducees and did what the Lord had commanded them to do with boldness. First they were filled with the Holy Spirit which made them speak. Second they prayed for holy boldness, as we learn from Acts 4:29. Third they were determined to obey God; Acts 5:29 tell us this. Do we have this same holy audacity in making Christ know to others? Of course they attracted quiet an audience as they began to speak and they did as commanded, “All the words of this life”.
There are several lessons from Acts chapter 5 for us today:
• Whenever God is truly working, the Devil will also be at work…See verses 17-18.
• It is always safe to trust God when we are doing His will…See verses 18-19.
• We may still believe in and rejoice in the ministry of God’s angels. Verses 19-21
• We ought to obey God rather than men. Verse 29.
• God empowers with the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him. Verse 32.
• To be effective witnesses for the Lord of Glory we must know the partnership of the Holy Spirit. See verse 32. Peter says, “We are His witnesses…and so is also the Holy Ghost.”
• When God initiates a work, He will prosper and complete it. See verses 38-39.
• The presence of the Holy Spirit is vital and central to the local New Testament church. We must be quick to see this throughout this 5th chapter of Acts.