• Introduction to ACTS Chapter 1

    These questions are on the New Life Website for those on line; each person in the room should have a copy, as well.

    Their purpose:

    - For you to be able to evaluate the teaching of Lesson One – we are trying to see if the objectives of the lesson are met. When we finish chapter one, you should be able to answer the questions. We will address the questions that you are unable to answer.

    - The second reason for the questions is for self-evaluation of your own attentiveness to teaching, your ability to hear the Holy Spirit Speaking. The question to ask: Am I absorbing what is being taught in Chapter One and am I willing to obey the Holy Spirit?

    The Theme: Acts 1:8 - But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

    The Great Commission: Matthew 28:16-28

    16Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.17And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.18And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:20Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

    Unity in the Body of Christ – Ephesians 4:1-16.

    1I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;3Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.4There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;5One Lord, one faith, one baptism,6One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.7But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.8Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.9(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?10He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)11And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;12For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:13Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:14That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;15But speaking the truth in love, may grow up

    into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:16From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

    Jesus’ Direction of the Mission of the Local Church.

    - The Gospel was to begin in Jerusalem – at Home.

    - The Gospel was to travel to Judea – Community.

    - The Gospel was to travel unto Samaria – Suburbs.

    - Then unto the Uttermost part of the World.


    Chapters 1-7 the Apostles and Prophets are ministering to THE JEWS FIRST.

    In Chapter 8, the Ministry goes to the Samaritans through the Evangelist, Phillip.

    Chapter 9, Saul is Converted from Persecutor of Christians to Christian.

    Chapters 10, 11, the Gospel is offered to THE GENTILES through Peter.

    Chapter 12, the Christians are persecuted by Herod Agrippa I, grandson of Herod the Great. Agrippa I also sat on the throne at the Birth of Jesus. The Apostle James (for there were two) was the brother of John, and a member of Christ’s inner circle of three, along with Peter and John. He proclaimed the Gospel after Jesus’ Resurrection and was the first Apostle to be martyred for his faith.

    The Ministry of the Apostles becomes less prominent (the Jews have been set aside, also the Kingdom of God is set aside) and Paul’s Ministry takes the Gospel to the Uttermost Part of the World.

    Chapter 13 – Christianity moves unto the UTTERMOST PART OF THE WORLD. The Holy Spirit sends out SAUL (Name was changed to Paul) AND BARNABAS on the FIRST MISSIONARY JOURNEY.

    Chapter 15: 1-35, the Missionaries come back GAVE A REPORT to the Jewish Council. MUCH CONFUSION HAD ERUPTED ABOUT WHAT THE GENTILES SHOULD PRACTICE.

    The conclusion: Gentiles was not to Circumcised and Obey the Law.

    CHAPTER 15:36-18:22, the Missionaries set out on the SECOND MISSIONARY JOURNEY. The Delegates returned to Jerusalem.

    Chapter 18: 23-21:26, the Missionaries started the THIRD MISSIONARY JOURNEY.

    Chapter 21:27ff, Paul’s Journey to Rome.

  • Assignments on ACTS

  •                                                                ACTS Chapter 2

  • Acts Chapter 3 Questions


  • Acts Chapter 4

    Peter said unto Him, Lord, why cannot I follow Thee now? I will lay down my life for Thy sake” John 13:37.

    Who in this audience (Zoom also) have made a commitment to the Lord? If you have,

    -          Based on what you know about the adversary at this moment, how’s your commitment going?

    -          How have you made the mistake of miscalculating the might and power of the adversary?

    -          Who knew, when you made your commitment that it was the hour of the power of darkness?

    -          Did you when you made the commitment to Christ, that that was the moment in which the prince of this world would make the supreme effort to hold his own and refuse to be cast out.

    -          Did you miscalculate your own strength; do you still rely upon the passion of your own emotion?

    -          Did you have any concept of how much need there is for something stronger in fervor of passionate affection?

    -          Did you miscalculate the kind of weapon that you would need to overcome the evil?

    -          Or are you still, after claiming “X” number of years as Christian, trying to draw a literal sword to defeat the Adversary? and thought/think that it would be sufficient to draw it and smite with all your might, as Peter did cutting off the ear of Malchus, expect to slay the Adversary? And go right on following wherever Jesus led?

    -          Ask yourself, is it possible for human enthusiasm to sustain the Soul?

    -          Have if miscalculated the I need that comes through prayer?

    Like Peter, we too have failed in like manner. We have brandished the cold steel of strong resolve. But the disillusioning process has set in, and we have sorrowfully proved that it is not by flesh and blood that we can enter the Kingdom. Let us not forget our Lord’s comforting words to Peter: “Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.”


    Lord, we would love to follow You wherever You go, but we are weak and helpless, and our own strength will fail in the final test. May we not trust in our own resolutions or vows, but in the saving strength of Your Right Hand. In the Name of Your Dear Son, Jesus and our Dear Lord and Savior, the Christ I pray. AMEN.



    In our study of this lesson, we will see how God teaches us to deal with the Adversary.


    Below are some figures in the lesson, we should recognize.


    Sanhedrin Council

    The highest court of justice and the supreme council in ancient Jerusalem.

    What was the Sanhedrin Council? What purpose did the Council serve?


    There is agreement that the Sanhedrin Council of Jerusalem was the highest Jewish authority in Israel before A.D. 70. [In 70 AD, the Romans destroyed the temple in Jerusalem and looted its sacred contents.] It was the governing body of the Jewish nation at the time of Christ. 

    The Council was the supreme political and religious body of Israel. In John 3:1 we are introduced to a man called Nicodemus, a Pharisee. In that verse he is called a “ruler of the Jews.” Then in verse 10 of the passage he is called “the teacher of Israel.”

    Both passages reveal that Nicodemus was a political ruler of Israel and a religious teacher. This reveals the Council was a political and religious body.

    Who Were The Members Of The Council?

    [The Sanhedrin Council is referred to twenty-one times in the New Testament (Matthew 26:59; Mark 14:55; 15:1, 43; Luke 22:66; 23:50-51; Acts 4:15; 5:21, 27, 34, 41; 6:12, 15; 22:5, 30; 23:1, 6, 15, 20, 28; 24:20). Both Luke 22:66 and the comparison of Acts 22:5 with Acts 23:1-7 reveals the Sanhedrin Council was also called the “council of the elders” (note Acts 23:1-7 follows the events described in Acts 22). Luke 22:66 reveals that the Sanhedrin Council at the time of the New Testament was composed of elders of the nation and included both the chief priests and scribes. ]

    Acts 23:1-7 reveals that the Council was composed of Pharisees, Sadducees, and chief priests.

    The First High Priest of the Council during the time of Christ was Caiaphas (Matthew 26:3). He was chief priest from A.D. 18-36. After him the next Chief Priest was Ananias (Acts 23:2).  

    The High Priest was the president of the Council (Mark 14:53, 60-64).


    Since there was no king during the 1st century A.D., he (High Priest) was the principal agent for the people in dealing with Rome. Thus both religious and political power tend to focus on him.


    Acts 5:34-35 indicates that the famous rabbi Gamaliel was a member of the Council and made an eloquent plea for justice for Peter and the Apostles. The only other members of the Council named in the New Testament are two Christians. They are Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea (John 3:1; Mark 15:43; Luke 23:50-51; John 19:38-39). 


    The first step of Conversion (from sinner to Saint)

    1.      Repentance of the SIN that carries the penalty of eternal death.

    2.      Surrender ALL to Christ.

    3.      Regeneration of the Holy Spirit (sins are washed away, the sinner is made a new creature IN CHRIST).

    4.      Justification – God declares the sinner “Not Guilty” of the sin that carries the penalty of death (John 5:23, 24) sets the sinner apart from the world for HIS use.

    Let’s recall what we have studied in Acts 1, the Promise of the Holy Spirit and how the Gospel would begin at Jerusalem and venture throughout the entire world.

    In Acts 2, we saw the Coming of the Holy Spirit and His effects on the people: 1) 3000 Souls came to Christ; 2) 42And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.43And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.44And all that believed were together, and had all things common;45And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.46And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,47Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

    What happened with the 3000 Souls that came on the Day of Pentecost?

    They were all Jews who committed their Souls to Christ. Peter’s admonition to all Jews was to Believe in Jesus as Messiah. “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.39For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. [So the promise was to Jews, their children, and Gentiles, who were afar off.] The first step of Conversion for Jews is Repentance of rejecting Jesus as Messiah; surrender, regeneration and justification.

    Chapter 3, we saw a continuation of the Spread of the Gospel from the Day of Pentecost. Peter and John went to the Temple to pray and they encountered a Lame man who experienced, 1) the Power of the Holy Spirit at work, 2) they continued in the Ministry of the Gospel (Evangelism).


    Today, we see, the beginning of Persecution. Satan, the Adversary failed at the Cross. How?

    Christ Jesus rose from the dead and he lost power/dominion over the Grave. “And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;52And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,53And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many” [BELIEVERS]. Not only did Christ rise, so did all Believers who had died. Christ did not deal with sinners after the Resurrection. He had “finished” His Work on earth. Now it time for the Apostles, the Prophets and the Disciples to plant the seed of the Gospel in preparation for Paul, the Apostle to Gentiles to establish and organize the Local Church on earth and to make it One IN Christ. “11Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;12That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;15Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;16And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:17And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.18For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.19Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;20And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;21In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 

    22In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. 

    Not only did Satan loose power over the death and the grave “Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him” – Romans 6:9; he lost power over sin: “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” – Romans 6:14. 

    Chapter 4, the Adversary begins Persecution of the Believers of the Gospel by using the Religious and Political leaders of Israel. Satan, our enemy is spirit, he cannot do anything without a body. Not everybody on the Council was used by Satan. Gamaliel, Nicodemus, and Joseph of Arimathea spoke out for Jesus’ followers. The Sadducees and Priests were the biggest headaches because they did not believe in the Resurrection and the Priest didn’t want to be indicted for Jesus’ death.

    Peter and John Before the Council

    Acts 4:1-37

    I.                   The Arrest (Acts 4:1-4)

    “And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them,2Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.3And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide.4Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand” – verses 1-4.


    This is beginning of the persecution of the Church. The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection of the dead and were opposed to Peter’s preaching. The priests, of course, did not want to be indicted for the crucifixion of Christ. Little did Israel’s religious leaders realize that Peter’s message was the one thing that could save their nation! Had they admitted their sin and received Christ, He would have bestowed the Promises that the Prophets had proclaimed centuries before.

    Unless you understand this war between God and Satan, you will get caught up on the wrong side of the battle.

    And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s” – l Chronicles 20:15.

    Right out of the gate, the Apostles are challenged by Satan.

    Jude, Jesus’ brother who opposed Jesus before the Resurrection, wrote one chapter in the Bible. Verse 3 is very important to the Believer. “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” – verse 3.

    Who delivered the Word of Faith that we must contend (fight for)?  The Apostles and Prophets!

    “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;20And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;21In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:22In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” – Ephesians 2:19-22.


    “Now all these things happened unto them [THEM WHO?] for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come” I Corinthians 10:11.


    The Supremacy of Loyalty

    Baptists stands for vital and distinctive truths, to many of which other denominations do not adhere, and that we cannot compromise these truths without disloyalty to the Scriptures and to our Lord. Baptists believe that they should cooperate with other denominations, insofar as such cooperation does not affect these truths, but no union with them is possible, except on the basis of acceptance in full of the plain teaching of the Word of God – “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” – Matthew 15:9; But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.21I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth,27 ‘But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him” – I John 2:20, 21, 27.

    In Mark 13:23, “But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.” Right in the middle of Jesus’ message about the future, He tells us, “Take heed; behold, I have told you everything in advance” (NAS). This should be one of the most motivating prophetic verses: a verse to stir us to study the subject of prophecy, and find out what Jesus wants us to know.

    These Apostles suffered for Christ. If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us” – II Timothy 2:12.


    II.                The Trial (Acts 4:5-22)

    “And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes,6And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem.7And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,9If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole;10Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.11This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.12Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.13Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.14And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.15But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves,16Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it.17But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name.18And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.19But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.20For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.21So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done.22For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed.”


    In this particular court that was assembled on this particular night, was composed primarily of the High Priest’s family, had become corrupted over the years. This was an official meeting of the Sanhedrin, the highest Jewish council. Some of these very men had assisted in the “trial” of Christ not many weeks before. In fact, their question in Acts 4:7 reminds us of Jesus’ trial (“And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled” – Matthew 26:57). Jesus had promised the Disciples that the world would treat them the same way it had treated Him (18If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you19If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” – John 15:18ff). Note, too, that in Matthew 21:23-44 these same leaders had questioned Jesus about His Authority.

    Peter’s reply was directed by the Holy Spirit, in fulfillment of the promise in Luke 21:12-15, 12 But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake.13And it shall turn to you for a testimony.14Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer:15For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.” and Matthew 10:20, “20For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.”


    Believers today should never claim this promise as an excuse for neglecting to study or prepare for teaching or preaching. The Holy Spirit assists us in those emergency hours when preparation is impossible if we have been faithful at other times to study.

    Peter boldly stated that Jesus Christ, the crucified and now Living Lord, performed the miracle through His Apostles. How those Jews must have trembled to come face-to-face with their awful crime! Yet it did no good because their hearts had become calloused.

    Acts 4:11 identifies Christ as the Stone and the Jewish leaders as the builders. This is a quotation from Psalm 118:22-23. Christ Himself used this passage in debating with these very leaders (Matthew 21:43). The Jews rejected Christ as the Chosen Stone on whom the Kingdom would be established; that Rejected Stone became the Chief Cornerstone of the Church (Ephesians 2:20).


    Note that Peter stated clearly that Israel had rejected Christ. However, in Acts 4:12, he invited them to believe on Christ and be saved [“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. While this verse certainly applies to all sinners of every age, it had a special meaning for the nation in Peter’s day.


    Had the leaders repented and received Christ, He would have saved the nation from the awful tragedy that came in just a few years when Rome destroyed the Temple and the City.


    In Acts 4:13-17 the “jury” recessed to consider the case. They were impressed with the boldness of the Apostles. This is significant inasmuch as Peter had denied his Lord in fear just a few weeks before. The phrase unlearned and ignorant” in Acts 4:13 literally means “untaught and unlettered”; that is, the Apostles had not been instructed in the official Schools of the Rabbis. Yet they knew so much more about the Scriptures than did the religious leaders. The leaders also realized that these men “had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13) in the Garden and during His last week in Jerusalem before His death.

    But they faced an even greater problem: how could they explain the healing of the beggar? They could not deny the miracle, so they decided to silence the messengers.

    The Apostles did not accept this verdict, for their loyalty to Christ meant more than any protection from the government. The judges finally had to let them go. The boldness of the Disciples, the Power of the Word, and the testimony of the healed beggar were too good a “case” and the judges had no answers.


    III.             The Victory (Acts 4:23-37)

    The Believers Pray for Boldness

    23 And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them.24And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:25Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?26The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.27For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,28For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.29And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,30By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.31And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

    They Had Everything in Common

    32And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.34Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,35And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.36And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus,37Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 


    True Christians always return “to their own company.” (They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us” – I John 2:19.) The Assembly did not lament because persecution had begun; rather, the Believers rejoiced and prayed!


    Note that in Acts 4:25-26 they referred to Psalm 2:1-12, which is a Messianic Psalm, speaking about the day when Christ shall return to rule with Power. Christians today ought to imitate the first Christians in their praying, for they tied their praying to the Word of God (“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” – John 15:7).


    They prayed for boldness, and God answered by filling them with the Spirit. This was not a “second Pentecost,” for the Spirit came to Fill with Power and not to baptize the Believers. The Holy Spirit also gave them a wonderful Unity, so much so that they sold their goods and shared with those in need. This “Christian communism” was another proof of the presence of the Spirit, a sample of what will happen in the Kingdom Age when all nations have the Spirit and unselfishly love one another. This “communism” is a political and economic system that seeks to create a classless society. [It has no relation to Marxist communism, where it is believed that capitalism is a volatile economic system that will suffer a series of ever-worsening crises— recessions and depressions —that will produce greater unemployment, lower wages, and increasing misery among the industry.]


    Please note that this sharing of goods was a temporary occurrence and is not required by the Body of Christ today. While Christians today are to have the same Spirit of Love, they are not expected to sell their goods and form a separate community.

    In Acts 11:27-30, the Christians at Antioch had to send relief to the Jerusalem Believers. (See also Romans 15:26; I Corinthians 16:1-3; II Corinthians 8:1-4.)


    When Israel rejected the message, this gracious working of the Spirit gradually disappeared. The pattern for NT Church Giving is found in II Cor. 8-9, I Timothy 5:8 and II Thessalonians 3:7-13.


    “Boldness” seems to be a key thought in this chapter. See how the early Believers received this boldness: they were filled with the Spirit (“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel” – Acts 4:8 and “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness” – Acts 4:31), they prayed (And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,  Acts 4:29), and they relied on the Word of God (Acts 4:25-28). The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit occurs once, but the FILLING of the Holy Spirit can occur as many times as needed.


    You and I may have boldness in our walk and witness if we feed on the Word, pray, and surrender to the Spirit. We may have boldness on earth because Christ gives us boldness in Heaven (“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. 

    Hebrews 4:16 and “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus” – Hebrews 10:19).


  • March 29, 2023

    Song: On the Battlefield

    Scripture: Matt 13:27-30. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?28He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?29But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.30Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.



    There is one book of History in the New Testament, it is the book of Acts, the history of the Church. Church on earth began when the Holy Spirit descended from Heaven to represent Trinity on earth.


    Jesus told a Parable in Matthew 21:21-46 about the Retribution the Nation. (Retribution means punishment inflicted on someone as vengeance for a wrong or criminal act). God did much for Israel, expecting the Nation to bear fruit for His Glory, but the Nation rebelled against God and refused to bear fruit. God sent many prophets and other servants to deal with them, but Israel mistreated and even killed them. Then God sent His Son — and they killed Him! They even “cast Him out of the vineyard” – Matthew 21:39 (took Him to Golgotha Hill); 11For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.12Therefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate” 13Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach” – Hebrews 13:11-13). The Jews themselves spoke their own sentence in Matthew 21:41, “They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons”  and God did just what they said. He took their Spiritual privileges away, destroyed Jerusalem, and gave their blessings to the Gentiles, HENCE, THE CHURCH, (Body of Christ).


    God has always had a desire to dwell with His People. In the OT, even in the beginning, God, The Father was the Heavenly Representation on earth (Genesis 1:1). When the people killed John the Baptist, this symbolized a rejection of The Father. As John the Baptist was exiting the scene, He sent His Son, Jesus to dwell with His People as Representative from Heaven on earth. They Crucified Him, symbolizing rejection of the Son. And Jesus sent His Holy Spirit, they stoned Stephen, symbolizing rejection of the Holy Spirit. For the Jews, there is no representation on earth from Heaven until they Repent. God has set them aside until His return when they will see the nail prints in His Hands and Feet and His Thorn Crowned Brow. The Jews Require a “SIGN”; but “The Body of Christ, “Walk by Faith and Not by Sight.”


    Hence, our Devotional Scripture. When Jesus set up the Universal Church, He sowed “good seed.” ‘from whence then hath it tares?28He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?29But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.30Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

    Every member of the Universal Church is: a) Repentant; b) Surrendered; c) Regenerated; d) Justified and Sanctified. So then, when Jesus ascended to Heaven, the Holy Spirit came and Set up the Local Church by the Apostle, the Prophets and Disciples, so that the Universal Church could have a place to Worship on the First Day of the Week.  

    The enemy has come and sowed “tares”, while men slept. An enemy hath done this!


    The Holy Spirit set up a Perfect Church: And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place” – Acts 2:1 One that replicated the Universal Church: Repentant of SIN, Surrendered by Faith (individual does this), Regenerated by the Holy Spirit, Justified by God and Set Apart to carry the Gospel of Christ to the world – that’s our MISSION.


    You can call them the Council, The Leaders of the Church, anything you want to call them – BUT KNOW, they are of the world, and they are God’s Enemies and if you are friend of the world, you are an enemy of God – James 4:4.

    Acts 4:23-37

    Results of the Arrest: VICTORY!!

    They couldn’t find anything that the Apostles did wrong. The Apostles made Jesus Known! The Lame Man stood before them, WHOLE. But the Leaders were guilty of Killing Jesus; they were afraid of the people. Not to mention the fact that the Church was growing. Since the 3000 at Pentecost, God has added more people to the Church.  

           Finding no way of punishing them, because of the people: “they let them go.”

           They all Glorified God for what had been done: This whole situation started out looking pretty bad. Peter and John were on trial before the same court that sent Jesus to Pilate for crucifixion. It was meant for great evil, but when it was all over, see what God did:

    a.    2,000 more people came to believe on Jesus.

    b.    Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit again.

    c.    Peter got to preach Jesus to the leaders of the Jews.

    d.    The enemies of Jesus were confused.

    e.    Peter and John were bolder for Jesus than ever before.

    f.     God was Glorified.

    The Early Church prays for Boldness. They acknowledge their God first. 

    23 And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them.”

    a.      Reported all that the chief priests and elders had said: Peter and John had good news to report. 1) “We got to tell the Leaders about Jesus! 2) The Leaders realized we were like Jesus! 3) They told us not to tell others about Jesus!”

    b.     They raised their voice: They prayed vocally. They prayed aloud. Voice is in the singular. This means that they did not all pray individually, speaking at the same time. One person prayed and all agreed with that one.

    c.      With one accord: They prayed in unity. There was no strife or contention among them. There wasn’t one group saying, “We should pray for this” and another saying, “we should pray for that.” They had the same mind when they prayed.

    d.     Lord, You are God: They began by reminding themselves who they prayed to. They prayed to the Lord of all creation, the God of All Power. They had power in prayer because they knew who they prayed to.

    2. (25-28) They prayed in light of the Scriptures.

    a.      By the mouth of Your servant David have said:

    The Apostles and Disciples believed that the words of King David, recorded in Psalm 2, were actually the words of the Lord God, said by the mouth of King David. The earliest Christians had a high regard of the Holy Scriptures.

    b.     Why did the heathen and the people plot vain things? Their prayer quoted Psalm 2 because the Disciples understood what happened by seeing what the Bible had said about it. From Psalm 2, they understood that they should expect this sort of opposition (when you Witness to sinners, expect opposition) and not be troubled because of it because God was in control of all things.

    c.      Psalm 2 expresses complete confidence in God and His victory. “He is the King. He is ruler in Zion. Servants you can bind, but the Word of God is not bound. And that unleashed, unbound, powerful Word of the Gospel reached out from Jerusalem, to that remote city of the Roman Empire, to permeate and eventually transform the entire world.”

    d.     When we pray, we must see our circumstances in light of God’s Word. For example, when we are in conflict, perhaps we need to know we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age – Ephesians 6:12. Peter tells us: “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:13But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy” – I Peter 4:12, 13.

    a.      Seeing our circumstances in light of God’s Word also means seeing when there is a sin problem. Then, we should say with the Psalmist, When I kept it all inside, my bones turned to powder, my words became daylong groans. The pressure never let up; all the juices of my life dried up” – Psalm 32:3-4. LET IT GO! Perhaps we are in the same place the Psalmist was, in sin and needing to confess and be made right with God.

    b.     We also use Scripture in prayer to pray the Promises of God. When we need strength, we can pray according to Ephesians 3:16That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man. God’s Word will speak to our situation.

    c.      Do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done: Because they saw their circumstances in light of God’s Word, they could recognize that the wrath of man never operated outside of the realm of God’s Control; these enemies of Jesus could only do whatever the hand of God allowed. This brings real peace, knowing that whatever comes my way has passed through God’s hand first, and He will not allow even the most wicked acts of men to result in permanent damage.

    3. (29-30) They Ask for More Boldness, More Power, and for More Trouble.

    “Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”

    a.      Grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word: This request is consumed with God’s Cause and Glory, not the comfort and advancement of the Disciples. They ask for things that will lead to more confrontation, not less.

    b.     By stretching out Your hand to heal: They did not ask to do miracles themselves. They understood that Jesus heals by His Hand; and that He does it from Heaven through His People.

    c.      It is a TRAP to desire to be used to do miraculous things. It is often rooted in the pride that wants everyone to see just how greatly God can use me. I should be delighted in the Power of God, not because He has used me to display it.

    4. (31) Their prayer is answered.

    And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

    a.      The place where they were assembled together was shaken: They were given an earthquake as a unique emblem of God’s pleasure. We don’t know the extent of the shaking; it may have been confined to the house itself.

    b.     “The presence of the Holy Spirit was so wonderfully manifested that even dead walls felt the Power of the Spirit of life – matter responded to Spirit.” (Pierson) Those walls didn’t change, nor did that become a special Holy Place where the Spirit of God always dwelt. In a similar way, a person can be shaken by the Holy Spirit without being transformed or indwelt by the Spirit of God. This earthquake is recorded in Acts 4:31. Some writer pointed out that the significant 1994 Northridge earthquake happened at 4:31 in the morning. [The 1994 earthquake Northridge was a magnitude 6.7 to 6.8 quake that struck the San Fernando Valley in southern California, U.S., on January 17, 1994, at 4:31 a.m.] This was in no wise compared to what happened in Acts; when this shaking happened:

    c.      They were all filled with the Holy Spirit: They were filled with the Holy Spirit, again. The experience on Pentecost was not a one-time experience. For Peter, this counts as the third time he is specifically said to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

    d.     The idea of being “Spirit filled” at the time we are converted is wrong, there is one INDWELLING of the Spirit, but we must be continually filled with the Holy Spirit and make our “immersion” in Him a constant experience in order to carry out the Mission.

    e.      They spoke the word of God with boldness: They received the boldness that they asked for. “The word boldness means in the Greek, the word parresia, ‘telling it all.’” (Ogilvie). This boldness is necessary today; we need to tell it all. The Mission is not a 2 hr. occurrence on Sunday Morning and then we go home and BENGALIZE. Sunday is the Lord’s Day! It is the day He asks us to NURTURE our SOULS. We often deliberately hide the Work of God in our life from others who would actually benefit from hearing about it. Their boldness was a gift from God, received through prayer. It was not something that they tried to work up in themselves.

    D. The Sharing Heart of the Early Church.

    a.      (32) Their attitude towards each other and towards material possessions.

    Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. This unity was a wonderful evidence of the Work of God’s Spirit among them. Because of their unity, they regarded people more important than things. “This unity is not conformity, where everybody is exactly alike. It is not organizational, where everyone must be forced into the same denomination. It is not that kind of a unity.” They had all things in common: They recognized God’s Ownership of everything; it all belonged to God and His People. Because God had touched their lives so deeply, they found it easy to share. It is not an early form of communism. Communism is not Koinonia. “Communism says, ‘What is yours is mine; I’ll take it.’ Koinonia says, ‘What is mine is yours, I’ll share it.’”


    It does not mean that everyone sold their property at once. Rather, from time to time this was done as the Lord brought needs to their attention.” There was also probably immediate reason for this significant sharing of all things in common.


    Since Pentecost there was a large number of those who believed and many of them were from distant lands. Without permanent homes and jobs in Jerusalem and Judea, those who stayed in Jerusalem to learn more about being followers of Jesus needed special support from the Christian community later on. Some think that this radical sharing of possessions among the Early Church was a mistake. They say it was based on the wrong idea that Jesus was returning immediately, and that it led to much poverty in the Jerusalem Church later on.

    Personally, I believe that it was due partly to a mass exodus from Jerusalem because of the Persecution of the Church and many fled and the economy changed, as well.

    2. (33) The Effectiveness of the Apostles’ Witness.

    And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. 

    a.      With Great Power. This is both the result and the root of the attitude in the previous verse. Acts 4:32 shows they put God first, people second, and material things a distant third. This is how God taught the Jews in the OT (Deuteronomy 6:4 and Jesus taught when establishing the Church Matthew 22:37-40.)

    b.     Gave Witness to the Resurrection: Notice again the central place the Resurrection of Jesus held in the message of the first Christians. They preached a Resurrected Jesus. He’s Alive! A dead God cannot help anyone.

    c.      Great Grace was upon them all. Grace is God’s favor, His smile from Heaven, and it was upon them all. God’s favor was evident everywhere.

    d.     Great Grace: Hughes says this is literally mega graceGreat Power is mega power.

    3. (34-37) Examples of Early Giving.

    Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need. And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

    a.      All who were possessors of lands or houses sold them: This radical giving was absolutely necessary to meet the needs of this rapidly growing Church. Remember, many of these Jerusalem Christians lived as refugees from abroad, having responded to the Gospel on the Day of Pentecost. All who were possessors of lands: People didn’t wait for others to give. When a need arose, they gave what they had to help others.

    b.     They distributed to each as anyone had need: Unfortunately, this generosity of the early Christians soon began to be abused. Later the Apostle Paul taught regarding who should be helped and how they should be helped. Paul’s directions were that: The Church must discern who the truly needy are – I Timothy 5:3. 

    1.     If one can work to support himself, he is not truly needy and must provide for his own needs, I Timothy 5:81 Thessalonians 4:11.

    2.     If family can support a needy person, the Church should not support them I Timothy 5:3-4.

    3.     Those who are supported by the Church must make some return to the Church Body I Timothy 5:510.

    4.     It is right for the Church to examine moral conduct before giving support I Timothy 5:9-13.

    5.     The support of the Church should be for the most basic necessities of living I Timothy 6:8.

    Joses, who was also named Barnabas: One man named Barnabas was a notable example of this giving spirit. Joses was known for being generous with more than material things; he was so generous with encouragement that they called him Barnabas, meaning “Son of Encouragement.”







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