This Bible Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's transcription/ location
is provided by
http://www.theseason.org/plough.htm


The

ACTS OF THE APOSTLES

Chapter 4

"Apostles Opposition, Prayer, among the Brethren."


Study written by Roger Christopherson, and offered with written permission

Acts 4:1 "And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captian of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them,"

When you are in the places where the common people are, and on the streets people will listen to you; but when you get where the high muckidy-ducks of the religious world and the church, you have a stiff bunch of nuts to deal with. They are fanatics in their ways, that even the word of God itself does not mean much to them.

We are talking about the Sadducees here, and their doctrine has nothing to do with God's doctrine. When Jesus walked the earth in His ministry, He was opposed by the Pharisees. The opponents are now the Sadducees, because of their hatred of the truth of the resurrection, of which the Apostles were witnesses.

The Sadducees teach that there is no life after death. You get one trip through life, and then it is all over. That part of it is the only part that is true, there is only one time through the flesh for each soul. So here comes Christianity and the Apostles stating that Christ rose from the dead, and these Apostles teaching that there is life after death for the soul, you have a real problem. There is a religious difference where there is no compromise.

When you cross the religious community, and you go around performing miracles in the name of a man that they just crucified, Jesus Christ, then these Sadducees are ready to fight. They knew that these miracles were the evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit of the Living God, and the teaching of such things will dry up their offering plate; and they knew that it was time to act. This is why the religious community even today will stand in the way of truth, and you would have a better time planting a seed outside the religious community, then where their minds are set with religious traditions set by men.

Most churches are so steeped in their narrow doctrines, and self-righteous in their denominations, and divisions that they just can't get into the oneness that this early church had. These Sadducees were just as set in their doctrines, which believed what when the flesh body died, so did the soul.

Acts 4:2 "Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead."

These Sadducees were very upset, and mad that the Apostles taught the people, and preached to them of the salvation of the soul, through the blood of Jesus Christ. The preached a resurrected Christ, and that went against the church doctrine of the Sadducees. This is where they [the religious leaders] part with God, if it goes against our traditions of men, we can have nothing to do with it. You see the problem here was that the Apostles taught that there was life after death.

Acts 4:3 "And they laid hands on them, and put the in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide."

In the Greek, this is saying that these Sadducees didn't know how to contend with these Apostles, so they threw them in jail for the night, to give them time to plan their strategy against these Christians. This was the not the men of the world that threw them in Jail, but the so-called good preachers in the temple, the religious community. You see Christianity is not a religion (man made), it is a reality.

Acts 4:4 "Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand."

The common folks believed when they heard the Word of the resurrection of Christ. Remember on Pentecost day there were one hundred and twenty believers in that room, being filled with the Holy Spirit, and now within a week that number had grown to much over five thousand. The men alone numbered five thousand. Stop and think on that. This wild fire is happening when devout Jews from all over the world are in Jerusalem, and many of them are going to be heading back home, taking the gospel of Christ with them. You know this is making the Religious community go mad. It is undermining their traditions, and starting something that is out of their control.

Why is this possible? Because of the presence of the Holy Spirit of God. People are being changed and healed right before their eyes. This is not a dead religion, or even similiar to to the form that they have been teaching in their traditions. This teaching that is promoted by the Holy Spirit is offering life, and health, and an eternal life hereafter.

Acts 4:5 "And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes,"

Friend, this is bringing the problem right up the the head deacon board, the head of the religious community, and they will make the judgment for God. Does it sound like something you have seen in our generation? Listen to the names.

Acts 4:6 "And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high prist, were gathered together at Jerusalem."

Annas the high priest, kept the status line in the family, for Caiaphas was the son-in-law of Annas, and they are both called high priests. Notice that they were all of the "same kindred" of the high priests. There is a problem here with this family that heads the religious community, They have a man that was laying at the door of the temple for forty years begging for alms that is now running around the streets calling attention to another power. All the people knew him, so they can't hide him, but he claims that the resurrected Christ did this healing.

As they passed by that lame begger and threw alms in his cup, day after day, not one of them could do a thing for him, because they simply did not have God.

Acts 4:7 "And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, "By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?"

So it is time for court, and the Apostles and the lame man are brought in before these head muckedy-ducks of the religious community, and they are going to be tried for this serious offence of healing a man. The carnival group or the guys in the bar would probably hollar and praise the Lord in happiness, but these long faced so-called leaders of the temple are upset, "By what power and authority have you done this?"

Acts 4:8 "Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, "Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,"

Peter was filled all the way to the brim with the Holy Ghost, friend there was no turkey calling here, but straight forward answers made crystal clear in what ever language was your natural tongue. Peter spoke exactly as he did no Pentecost day, in the language of the Holy Ghost that was understood by every tongue, or language that heard it.

Peter adderssed these rulers of the people, the Temple leaders were the head of the civil law, that was set forth by Rome. God is the author of peace and truth, and Peter is about to speak to these rulers and elders.

Acts 4:9 "If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole:'

Peter is calling attention to them that they are being examined or questioned over a matter concerning the good deed of healing this lame man that they all knew.

Acts 4:10 "Be 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."

Peter must be from the south, "you all". Peter is pouring it on right where it hurts, for it was this same bunch of murderers that ploted and followed through with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Now Peter is letting it be know beyond a shaddow of a doubt that it was in the name of that Jesus Christ of Nazareth that this lame man standing before them was healed. Remember that these Sadducees teach that there is no life after death.

You can almost see these many leaders, with their long robes on, looking at Peter, then tuning their heads to gaze on the lame man that they were all familiar with, for his years of begging at the temple gate. The words and the evidence standing before them, and in their minds, they visualize what this is going to do with their worthless traditions. Friend, this thing is going to cause them a loss at the offering plate, not to mention the membership roles.

Peter is telling them that the very One that you sat here and judged and crucified, and hung on the cross, by that name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth that this man standing before you was healed. This is the same evidence that those other five thousand out side the door witnessed, and lined up with Peter and John.

The religious community is getting nurvous. The religious community should always seek and align with truth. The truth that changes lives and brings people off drugs. A truth that mends homes, and makes a broken man whole again. A truth that gives credentials to the Holy Spirit, and demonstrates the evidence of that Holy Spirit.

When those gifts and gifted people that God calls are evident, the religious leaders should align with them, but in most cases they react exactly as these Sadducees did with Peter.

Acts 4:11 "This is the stone Which was set at nought of you builders, Which is become the head of the corner."

This is quoted in Psalm 118:22, 23, and there is so much contained within this verse. "The Stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner." [22] "This the Lord's doing It is marvellous in our eyes." [23]

Have you ever seen a pyramid? The capstone is the head stone. On the great pyramid of Giza, we see that the cap stone is missing. This is symbolic of something. It is written that this cap stone, or head stone is going to be a stumbling stone, which is recorded in I Peter 6-8. Jesus is this headstone that is symbolic of Christ, and there is a false Christ coming first, and many will stumble and chase after the first christ thinking he is the True Christ.

I Peter 2:6 "Wherefore also it is contained in the Scripture, "Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded."

I Peter 2:7 "Unto you therefore which believe He is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the Stone Which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,"

I Peter 2:8 "And a Stone of stumbling, and a Rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed."

Why? They did not accept this Christ at His first advent, nor have they since. This applies to many people. When the false christ comes first, the whole world will stumble, because they all have good hearts, and think they are doing the right thing. They will see the supernatural powers of the first christ, and they will think he is Jesus Christ, because they have not been taught that the false christ appears first. This is why the chief cornerstone will become a stumblingblock..

Acts 4:12 "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."

There is no other door into the kingdom of heaven for mankind, then to enter through the repented heart, in the name of Jesus Christ. There is none in the Old Covenant, That is to say the Old Testament nor in the New Covenant. None! not among the prophets or the law, Jesus Christ is the only name whereby we must be saved. Jesus has many names in the Old Testament, and in all those names, it is still Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God. That is the only name whereby sins can be blotted out, and forgiveness can be offered to mankind.

Acts 4:13 "Now 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.

It didn't take long to see that Peter and John were fishermen by trade, and not polished men of the cloth. The Sadducees saw the boldness that Peter and John had while they were filled with the Holy Spirit, and they marvelled at their speech. As they sat and watch, these Sadducees and elders are starting to remember that these two men are part of those diciples that went around with Jesus.

Acts 4:14 "And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it."

Friend, there is the evidance standing before them. He has been sitting at the gate Beautiful.

[remember that Beautiful in the Greek meant for a time and a season] and that time and season came to an end, and he was healed. The appearance of this once lame man could not be disputed by anyone, especially those leaders at the temple, for they were ones that gave him alms many times over the past forty years.

When you are speaking in the Spirit of God, you can afford to speak boldly. It means sure of yourself. What Peter had said, with the man standing before them, they could not diprove anything that Jesus had said.

Acts 4:15 "But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves,"

After Peter had spoken, and finished, this deacon board of Sadducees and elders asked Peter, John and the healed man to leave so they could confer in secret. Can't you just hear those whispers, "What are we going to do? What are we going to say? How can we discredit them?"

Friend, as long as you stay in the Word, chapter by chapter, and verse by verse and do your homework in the languages so that you truly know that what you are saying is the truth. That what you are saying carries on with the original thought of the writer of the verse, then you don't have to make excuses for the written word. When the Holy Spirit touching you in your speech He will give you credentials. Your credibility is sound then and you will never need to apologize.

Acts 4:16 "Saying, "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."

They have a public hearing going on here, and Peter and John have five thousand people from all over the world at the temple with them. If they even lay a hand on these men, they will not be just dealing with these two, but they will be dealing with a man who now has full strength in his body, as well as five thousand believers with them. These Sadducees and elders of the temple have a problem in defending their traditions, as well as the fact that their lies have come to the surface. Peter has called them liars and murderers to their face, and they know it.

Acts 4:17 "But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name."

Their solution then is to threaten to throw the book at them if they say the name of Jesus Christ the Living God again. Their thought is to frighten them until they leave Jerusalem, and we can get back to our traditions, and business as usual. It doesn't matter to them that the blessings of the Holy Spirit would leave also with them. They don't mind all the sickness as long as Jesus Christ's name is not mentioned. Behold the religious community, then and now.

Most religions get so deep in their form, and tradition, they could care less about God's Word, or His ways. Even we could sink to such depths if we don't follow the thought of the prophets and the Word as it came from God, even we could fall into the same path that these Sadducees, and Kenite religious leaders are in.

Acts 4:18 "And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.

What would you do, if someone ordered you to stop talking about Jesus, or even mention Jesus name? What would you do? It is a very serious thing, and it will probably happen when you are delivered up before the religious councils once the Antichrist is on the earth, ruling over the religious realm.

Acts 4:19 "But 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."

Peter threw the question right back in their face. What is considered right, to hearken or do what you tell us to do, or follow what God has compelled us to do; What would you do if you were the judge? This is so-called religious leaders that are suppose to be ruling over God's house that Peter is asking this question to. Of course Peter, as I would chose, would say God. Man's thoughts don't really mean much, when compared to what our Heavenly Father has instructed us to do. Thank God for our nation and it's bill of right, that guarentees our right to speak freely on the matters concerning our conscience, and security.

Acts 4:20 "For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard."

Peter told them, you cannot bury the truth, and that stands strong even to this day. Peter is going to sound out on all those things that he has seen with his eyes, and been taught by Jesus in person, in those three years that he walked and listened to Him.

Acts 4:21 "So 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."

When you are right and have the public on your side, it is a good thing. Friend, all the men of the city, the five thousand as well as those not with Peter glorified God for what Peter had said, and the healing power of the Holy Spirit. The majority of the people had witnessed the fact of this lame man, and his condition from many years, and now to see him healed was a great victory, and the people rejoiced for the man's healing.

When these people saw that the religious types were trying to condemn the man for the blessing that God had given to him, they of course came to Peter's defense. They are witnessing this healed man walking and jumping around praising God, and the people are praising God with him.

Acts 4:22 "For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed."

This is a long time to wait on this miracle of healing, and the entire community except for the Kenite religious leaders of the temple, showed their excitment and praise right along with this man. Think of the thousands of other lives that this healing has touched over the many centuries since it has been recorded here.

Acts 4:23 "And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them."

When Peter and John left the hearing, they went back to their church group, and discussed what had taken place. The truth of God's Word is better applied and taught when you have the experience to relate it to those you are teaching.

Acts 4:24 "And 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:"

They praise the Father, all in one accord, by lifting up their voices and saying "Lord, Thou are God, Which hast made heaven, and earth and the sea, and all the creachers that are in them." Friend, we are talking about our Heavenly Father that loves us, and sent His very Son to give His life for you and I. What Love that our eternal Father has for each of His children. You are somebody to the one that created the entire universe, and your soul is very valuable to Him.

Don't allow some jerk to put you down on a matter, or downfall you have had, when God has forgiven your confessed sin. After your repentance it is only Satan, and those people of Satan will bring it up to you and throw it back in your face. Stop thinking on them, and turn your thoughts to praising the Lord, and studing His Word.

Acts 4:25 "Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, `Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?"

Peter here is quoting from Psalm 2:1, 2; "Why do the heathen rage, And the people imagine a vain thing?" [1] "The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the Lord, and against His anointed, saying." [2]

Acts 4:26 "The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against His Christ."

Acts 4:27 "For 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,"

Acts 4:28 "For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done."

Peter is telling them that just as it was written long ago, it came to pass just as it was written. God was in control, and He created all things. How can you go wrong Friend, when you put your life in God's protective hands, and your soul under the protective care of the Holy Spirit. Why would you worry about anything when you love Him, and He controls all things.

When you know every thing that is going to come to pass, and that Satan will come to earth very shortly to deceive all mankind, why would you fear the great deception, the army of fallen angels, or any flesh man, when you know the outcome in advance? When you are in Christ, and His Spirit is guiding you, you are on the winning team.

Acts 4:29 "And now Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,"

God hears these prayer request, as well as all those that you submit to Him. The enemies of God's children are the enemies of God. When those plot to do evil to you, it is time to leave it up to God. He has given us the promise in Romans 12:19 "Dearly beloved, abenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine; I will repay, saith the Lord."

Don't worry, friend.

Acts 4:30 "By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy Child Jesus."

That is our credentials, the holy name of thy holy Christ Jesus. that is all the credentials that you need when approaching the throne of God for repentance, then for your praise and requests, "In Jesus name". There is no other name under Heaven whereby we must be saved; friend all other names are just chatter. Jesus paid the price, and now He sits on the right hand of the Father in Heaven as your advocate, your lawyer before the throne of God. You simply cannot have a better judge then the father, nor one pleading your case, then the very one that gave His life for you.

Stop a moment and think what power that gives you and praise Him for it. Have you told Him lately just how much you love Him? That is important to Him, and He will bless you for it. Friend, that is why you were created in the first place.

The credentials for the lame man walking was the name of Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God, and those credentials are yours also when you repent of your sins in Jesus name, and turn to Him.

Many today say that they have a healing ministry, and they claim all the healing to their ministry. There were many sick people in Jerusalem on this day, but there was a reason that this man was healed. There was a purpose for the healing, and it was done to give credentials, and not to preform a side show for the crowd.

It gave credentials to those that God has chosen to document that His Word is truth, and that He is loyal to His Word. That is why you are to pray for someone that asks for prayer for their sick body, or for a loved one. When asked, go ahead and pray for them. When they have faith in your closeness to the Father, it will allow your credentials to be used for the glory of God. You are God's apostle here on earth in these last days of this earth age. The purpose is to bring someone to the saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Acts 4:31 "And when they had prayed, and 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."

The entire body of believers prayed and when they were finished every last one of them was filled with the Holy Spirit of God, and the place shook. Did you notice what they were saying after they were finish with prayer, and the Spirit of God was filling their souls? Friend, they were teaching the Word of God with boldness. God's Holy Spirit will do that to you.

There was no confusion as to what was said, no babbling in some strange language, but they all allowed the Spirit of God to speak through them. We saw in the first chapter that when God's Spirit speaks, there is understanding for everyone without an interpreter. It's no wonder that they spoke with boldness and assurance, with clarity.

That part of what happened on Pentecost day will reoccur again in the end days, at the coming of the Antichrist, with his army of fallen angels.

Acts 4:32 "And 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."

Notice the qualifier here, "of them that believed". What is being set up here is the ministry that shall be carried on from this time forth. The ones that are going to be the ministers, that will be sent forth are being chosen, and the process of their care is being laid out. When it is said that "they are of one soul" it should tip us off as to what it is talking about. They were thinking with one soul, because they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.

Remember we are not to meditate, and think before hand what you shall say, but that the Spirit shall speak through you, that that should be spoken. When that day comes for you, the same thing holds true, when the Antichrist comes to this earth, very shortly. Then also God will move His own also with one accord to the place they should be, and give them the words to speak.

Acts 4:33 "And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all."

You must realize that it was the Holy Spirit that was within them that was giving them this power they had. Never think that what ever you do for the Lord was done by you, but that time, place and the words that you spoke were all part of the work of the Holy Spirit. Friend, if it is not so, then it is not of God. You pray for the right to give service to Him, and when He places you there, and gives you the words to say, your rewards come for your obedience to be used by Him.

Your gift may be teaching, or singing, or even a handyman around the church, but what ever that gift, your rewards given by God will be for the willingness to use it, and your faithfulness to your commitment to our Heavenly Father.

Let's focus on what Paul said about this in Romans 12:3-5 "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. [3] "For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:" [4] "So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another."

Friend, you do not all have the same degree of faith, nor do you all have the same gifts, but God expects us to use what we have, as we are led by His Holy Spirit, so that all the body of Christ can function as a body of one. Each part of that body is needed. A man needs his eyes as much as he needs his feet, and so on; all members are needed in the body of Christ, and when one is hurt, the whole body suffers.

Friend, the evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit is that what is spoken will be with power and clarity. You will never have trouble recognizing a gift from God. However when you see it, give only God the thanks and credit for the use of that gift.

Acts 4:34 "Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brougt the prices of the things that were sold,"

Acts 4:35 "And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need."

This does not mean that to be a Christian you have to go out and sell your house, and bring all the money to the preacher. Tend to your job, your household and the needs of your family; but realize that these men that are committing themselves here to the ministry, will be travelling, and staying in the houses where they are teaching. Many of these men were in Jerusalem for the Pentecost day feast from around the world, and became part of the body of Christ on that day.

They were preparing themselves to be "sent forth ones", not "stay put ones", and they would travel the world in that first generation preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God.

Friend, the gospel of Christ is all of the good news, from cover to cover, and it is the whole story of God's plan for this earth age, from the sin that entered in the first earth age, to the eternal victory that we have living with our Heavenly Father in the eternity. Don't let those one verse Billies short you, with an abbreviated form of the gospel.

Acts 4:36 "And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, the son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus,"

Barnabas we will see later was just like his name, the comforter, to Paul, as he would make missionary journeys with Paul to preach the gospel of Christ. Barnabas was a joy to have around, and loved by all.

Acts 4:37 "Having land sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet."

We see here also the reason for the selling of the land and giving of the money to the apostles, was that Barnabas would be one of them that would be supported by them as a minister of the Gospel.

Remember that all these people were doing this as a unit filled with the Holy Spirit, and led by that God's Spirit to set up the church body here on earth. How can the world be saved if they have no preacher, and how a can preacher go, unless he is sent. It is the Spirit of God that does the sending, and unless the Holy Spirit sends you, your ministry will not succeed. Only a Spirit filled ministry will be successful, for without God's Spirit leading there will be no fruit to the ministry. The Spirit places the words in the mouth that should be spoken, and that same Holy Spirit will take that seed of the Word and make it grow and blossom into usefull fruit for His kingdom.

When these men went forth, Christ told them what to take on their journey, and it didn't amount to a lot. They were to stay in houses of converts, if they were welcomed, and if not, shake the dust from your feet and move on to a house that did welcome them. God takes care of His own.

http://www.theseason.org


Last Chapter Acts Next Chapter
Old Testament Return to all Books New Testament

Home .~ Plough .~ Seeds .~ Vine .~ Potter .~ Seasons .~ Sonshine .~ Rain .~ Field

PLEASE NOTE: These studies may not be reproduced collectively, or in successive part,
on any website, email or library without expressed written consent.

These studies
may be shared in part for study or printed out in single copy for private study purposes provided the Author and Source are included with each and every excerpt or copy.

2000 theseason.org Webmaster