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Acts 5





Jesus said that the He would build His church.  The church is His and His alone.  Not only did He build it but He also paid a great price for it.  Ephesians 5:25 says that Jesus loved the church and gave up His life for her.  

It then should not come as a surprise that Satan would be totally opposed to the church and would do everything within his power to destroy the church.  What better time to do that then when the church was in its infancy.

Satan ain’t no fool.  Obviously he knew if he were going to stop the church, he would have to have several angles of attack.  We see some of that in this chapter.  Satan actually used people within the church to try to bring distraction and disunity.  And Satan used people outside of the church to try to accomplish the same thing.

As the chapter opens we meet Ananias and Sapphira.  They decided to sell a piece of property but only to bring a part of the selling price to the apostles and the church.  There was no rule in the church that they had to sell property although several people obviously did that.  But no one was forced to do that.

Similarly, there was no rule that if you sold a piece of property that you had to bring the total selling price to the apostles and the church.  Ananias and Sapphira were well within their rights when they held back part of the selling price.  Where they messed up is they lied about it.  They wanted everyone to believe they brought all the money to the church.  God never takes well to hypocrisy.  And His response to this situation was quick and decisive.  Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead.

As you might imagine that caused great fear among those in the church as well as those outside the church. (See verse 11).  But the church continued to grow at an incredible, miraculous rate.  People were being healed.  People were being saved.  And the name of Jesus was continuing to be proclaimed.

The Jewish religious leaders couldn’t stand that.  So they had the apostles arrested and thrown into prison.  God led a jail break and the apostles went right back to the Temple complex and preached Jesus.  The religious leaders brought the apostles back to the council.  In verse 28, they told the men to quit preaching in the name of Jesus.  I love the apostle’s response.  In verse 30, they were preaching Jesus to the religious leaders.

The religious leaders decided the best solution to this was to kill the apostles.  But a Jewish Pharisee named Gamaliel convinced them not to do that.  So the religious leaders had the apostles beaten and told them again to quit speaking in the name of Jesus.

The chapter ends with a most powerful statement.  Those apostles just kept on preaching Jesus.  They preached in the Temple (a very public place) and from house to house (a much more private place).  They just kept on preaching Jesus.

I have to tell you that as I came to that last sentence in this chapter, I smiled.  It is an incredible thing to think about people who willingly put their lives on the line so that others might hear about Jesus.  May we be so bold in our proclamation of His great name.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

Acts 4





As Peter continued speaking to the crowd (see chapter 3), a group of religious leaders approached to disperse the crowd.  It is worth noting that verse 1 specifically mentions that there were some Sadducees in the group of religious leaders.  The reason that is important is the Sadducees didn’t believe in the resurrection.  For that matter that didn’t believe in much of anything that had to do with the spiritual realm.

So, it is somewhat ironic that when the group of religious leaders arrived, Peter was proclaiming “in Jesus the resurrection from the dead”.  The religious leaders arrested Peter and John.  But don’t miss the fact that the church is continuing to grow.  Verse 4 tells us there were many more than 5,000 associated with that first church.  That is phenomenal growth. 

The next day the Sanhedrin met to examine Peter and John.  Their question was about by what power or by what name these men were doing this.  By the way, when the group of religious leaders walked up on the crowd, Peter was talking about Jesus.  So, they knew by what name they were doing what they were doing. 

There wasn’t much the Sanhedrin could do because the man who had been healed from his life-long disability was irrefutable evidence of a miracle.  Perhaps I should talk about this miracle for a moment.  Miracles are important.  Miracles point to the omnipotence of a great God who loves us much.  But no one gets saved witnessing a miracle.  People get saved only through the preaching of the Gospel.  The miracle caused people to pay attention and even to listen but Peter preached the Gospel.  He pointed to Jesus not the miracle as the source of salvation.

There is another issue that I want to bring up.  Perhaps you noticed as you read through this chapter, that on multiple occasions the Bible speaks of an individual or a group of people being filled with the Holy Spirit. 

It is important for you to know that when you get saved, the Holy Spirit comes to live in you.  He is evidence of your salvation, promise of the eternal nature of your salvation, and seal on you as proof that you belong to God through Jesus.  Once the Holy Spirit takes up residence in you, He will never leave you because if He left you, you would lose your salvation. 

But after we are saved, after the Holy Spirit comes to live in us, we need to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit.  In other words, we continually need to allow the Holy Spirit complete access to all that we are.

We are actually commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit.  In Ephesians 5:18 we told to be filled with the Holy Spirit.  In the original language, the verb tense of “be filled” is literally “be being filled”.  In other words, it points to a continuous filling.  Billy Graham, the great evangelist of our time, describes it this way.  There is a spring fed lake on his property.  That spring is continually putting fresh water into that lake.  And as that fresh water continually fills that lake, it forces out the stale water and all that has collected in it. 

So should we allow the Holy Spirit to continue to fill us with fresh water.  And so should we allow the Holy Spirit’s filling to force out all the old, stale stuff that has accumulated in us.

I would encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit to fill you right now.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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