Last night I went to church and Pastor Steve preached from Acts 5:12-42. It was a powerful message about the challenges of Peter and the others as well as today’s trials taking place around the world by the persecuted church. I wanted to make sure to capture my notes so I can make sure to be able to have them for future reference as well as for others to be able to read.
The Apostles Heal Many
12The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. 13No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. 14Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. 15As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.
The Apostles Persecuted
17Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. 18They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. 19But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. 20“Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people all about this new life.” 21At daybreak they entered the temple courts, as they had been told, and began to teach the people. When the high priest and his associates arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin—the full assembly of the elders of Israel—and sent to the jail for the apostles. 22But on arriving at the jail, the officers did not find them there. So they went back and reported, 23“We found the jail securely locked, with the guards standing at the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside.” 24On hearing this report, the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests were at a loss, wondering what this might lead to. 25Then someone came and said, “Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple courts teaching the people.” 26At that, the captain went with his officers and brought the apostles. They did not use force, because they feared that the people would stone them. 27The apostles were brought in and made to appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. 28“We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.” 29Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings! 30The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead—whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. 31God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. 32We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.” 33When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death. 34But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. 35Then he addressed the Sanhedrin: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. 37After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” 40His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. 42Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah. –from Acts 5
- Opposition is as much a part of a move of God as miracles are
- Don’t allow jealousy to get in the way, stay humble and serve
- Great miracles are preceded by great testing and trials. (Consider Jesus’ trials in the desert!)
- Don’t allow the trials to keep you from completing the calling God has put on your life. He can make all things work together for our good!
- The world will always be trying to catch up with the people who are serving God! (We see how they go to look for them in the prison, but they are already at the temple sharing the Good News of Jesus)
- There is a battle over the name of Jesus! The only name with power! Are there any other name that people call on for power? Ever heard someone say the name of the Lord? “Jesus Christ” or “Jesus”
- We need to obey God’s will over man! We need to be more afraid of disobeying God than disobeying man! (We see Peter’s response in verse 29)
- God can open up ways that don’t make sense or confuse others. (Consider how the angel brought them out of the jail, yet when they went to look for them the place was locked up and the guards were on duty.)
- God delivers His people
- Be we are to be more than just delivered, we are to be overcomers! Being an overcomer is more important than being delivered! It’s the gain beyond the pain!
- We see this even in the reading from acts as we read: “They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. 42Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.”
- That’s right they were flogged, the same process that had been done to Jesus before the cross. They were threatened. But what did the apostles do? They rejoiced that they were counted worthy of suffering for Jesus. And did those threats keep them from completing or continuing the work they had been given? No way!
- There was a video shared from 21Martyrs.com about what is taking place in the middle east. There is hope for even the audio of those men praising God spoke to their faith! They wouldn’t renounce the name of Jesus! And their families are so proud of their testimonies. By the blood of the lamb and the words of their testimonies! Revelation is an interesting read especially if you don’t just stop there.
11They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. –from Revelation 12
- Those men didn’t cower, they were roaring lions praising God!
- We need to remember the be attitudes…
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. –from Matthew 5
So let’s stand on the word of God that never returns void! Let’s remember to be overcomers so that God can use what we are going through for He makes all things work together for our good!