Read Acts 5:17-42
They Did Not Cease
You cannot silence God. The government may oppose the truth and they may try to oppress those who speak it, but man cannot defeat God. The high priest and the Sadducees tried and failed time and time again. The apostles were arrested, then miraculously freed; instead of halting their proclamation of the good news, they did what the angel of the Lord told them to do: “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life” (Acts 5:20).
The captain brought the apostles back to the council again. The high priest asked, “Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name?” (Acts 5:28). The rulers were growing weary of the blame being placed on them for Jesus’ crucifixion. “And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!” (Acts 5:29). But, is this not exactly what they had asked for? Had they not cried, “His blood be on us and on our children” (Matthew 27:25).
The apostles refused to be silenced though. “We ought to obey God rather than man” (Acts 5:29). No matter what the Jewish officials said, the apostles were not about to back down. Gamaliel the Pharisee advised the council, “And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God” (Acts 5:38-39). And he was right. They had no hope of defeating the will of God.
The apostles were beaten, threatened again, and commanded to stop their teaching. What did the apostles do? “So 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 did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ” (Acts 5:41-42).
May we all have the resolve of the apostles, refusing to back down in the face of intimidation and persecution.
I. The apostles go back to prison
A. Arrested for preaching (Acts 5:17-18)
B. Miraculously released to continue preaching “the words of this life” (Acts 5:19-20; John 6:66-68)
II. Continued boldness
A. Swift obedience (Acts 5:21a; 16:32-33)
B. Jewish reaction (Acts 5:21b-28; Matthew 27:22-25)
C. The apostles refuse to back down (Acts 5:29-32; Deuteronomy 21:22-23)
III. The council’s decision
A. They “plotted to kill them” (Acts 5:33)
B. Gamaliel’s advice (Acts 5:34-39; Jude 3)
IV. The apostles’ response
A. Rejoiced at suffering (Acts 5:40-41; Matthew 5:10-12)
B. “They did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ” (Acts 5:42)
I. Growth followed discipline
A. The effort to keep the church pure does not drive people away – it draws people in (Acts 5:13-14)
B. If we are serious about growing, we must be serious about sin (1 Corinthians 5:1-7)
II. Power demonstrated through the gift of the Holy Spirit
A. Unusual miracles (Acts 5:12, 15-16; Matthew 9:20-22; Mark 6:56; Acts 19:11-12)
B. Always successful (Acts 5:16)
III. The purpose of miracles
A. Confirm the Word (Mark 16:17-20; Acts 3:9-11; 4:4; 5:12, 14)
B. Why don’t we have miracles today? (1 Corinthians 13:8-10; James 1:25)
I. The selfless nature of the early church (Acts 4:32-37)
A. All things in common (Acts 2:44-45; 4:32-35; 6:1)
B. The grace of giving (Acts 4:33; 1 Corinthians 8:1-8)
C. The example of Barnabas (Acts 4:36-37)
D. Was the early church a form of communism? No! (Acts 4:32, 34; 2 Corinthians 8:2; 9:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2; Acts 12:12; 1 Timothy 6:17-19)
II. The deception of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11)
A. Their sin was deception: “You have not lied to men but to God” (Acts 5:4)
B. Attributes of God on display in this account
1. Omnipotence (Acts 5:5, 10)
2. Omnipresence (Jeremiah 23;23-24)
3. Omniscience (Acts 5:4; Jeremiah 17:9-10)
C. Punishment similar to Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10:1-2) – “Both make the point: God’s Word and His spokesmen must be taken seriously” (Copeland)
Day 29/260: Read Acts 5
Jealousy. A desire to receive the accolades of peers. Greed for attention and praise. This is not only the story of Ananias and Sapphira, but all too often, this is the story of us.
The early church shared their possessions and distributed to each other when needs were made known. Ananias and Sapphira saw others doing this, and wanted to be included, but when they sold their land they kept part of the money back. They claimed that they had given all, and Peter called them out. “You have not lied to men but to God.”
The result was an immediate punishment from God; both Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead. The impact on the church was widespread.
We need to guard our hearts against jealousy in the church. Rejoice in the accomplishments of others without seeking the steal the spotlight for yourself. Do not lay claim to the good works of others, or lie about your own activities.
Do not seek the praise of your fellow man. Do good to the glory of God and let God reward you, even if no one this side of eternity takes notice.
Memory (Fill in the blanks)
Acts 2:38. Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the _______________ of Jesus Christ for the _______________ of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy _______________.”
Pray for humility in your service to the Lord, seeking glory for Him and not self.