Bible Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's
"Community of Goods, Deceit, Apostles Activity."
Chapter five lets us know what God expects of His children. Many times ministries have used this chapter as their documentation to support their position on vow making. That if you make a vow and don't fulfill it, they try to frighten people into giving of money, or some other commitment. That is not what it is talking about here.
As applied to us in this generation, the gifts that God gives you, don't ever hold back on them. Don't ever hide your candle under a bushel, and if God gives you ten units of truth to invest for Him, invest it, that means share it with others. Plant it in the minds of others, and the Holy Spirit will make it grow in some of those minds that you plant His truth in. God will bless you as you share the widsom of the truths that His Spirit has placed within your mind. It is the Holy Spirit that gives the unction, which is purpose and direction that you are to follow.
Acts 5:1 "But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,"
Ananias, and Sapphira correctly translated means grace and beauty. The lesson here is that we do not judge a man or woman by their name only. It is obvious that the sale of this property was due to a promise that they had made.
Acts 5:2 "And kept back part of the price, his wife also being to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles feet."
These two, Ananias and Sapphira promised that they would give a set amount, but they changed their mind after making the commitment. This vow was to the Holy Spirit, and they promised that they would give the sale price of the property to the Lord's Word, then after the sale, they held back some of the money. Notice that the vow was to the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, not to men.
Acts 5:3 "But Peter said, "Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?"
So let me ask you a question, How would Peter know this? Peter didn't, and he would have had no way of knowing what this man and woman had agreed to privately. However the Holy Spirit spoke to Peter. It was the Holy Spirit that spoke through Peter, and He cause one man to dress another man down, at times. That is the boldness of doing God's Work, and bidding. Today you have many that say that the Holy Spirit told them to do and say certain things, when it was contrived from their own minds.
Acts 5:4 "Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God."
When you first had the property, and sold it for the full price, it was your to do with as you pleased, every penny of it. Then even after it was sold it still was within your power to do with what ever you wanted to with the money. Then what has cause you and your wife to conceive this thing in your own minds. Your dealing with vow had nothing to do with men, but it was wholy between God and you, what has caused you to lie to God?
Acts 5:5 "And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things."
After the people that witnessed this thing, and saw Ananias dying right before their eyes, they had to take a closer look of what commitments they were making to God. It becomes a little more difficult to get converts after this. The Holy Spirit got the message across, "Don't mess with the Holy Spirit of God." Don't lie to the Father, He know your every thought as you think it. Then the Holy Spirit can give the unction to a pastor or a man, such as Peter was at this time, and the thing is known. The only one that becomes fooled in your lies to God, is you. It is Satan that can tempt you by the old spirit of greed.
Greed can really bind you up. Those second thoughts of ownership, once you have committed something to God or a ministry, can come upon you in temptation by Satan, and your bold mind turns to mush. If you promise a certain thing to the Father, then make sure that you stick to that promise. However today there are many rip-off artist that play games with God's people to make them create vows to them in the Lords name. When you make a vow to them, that vow is not to God, and when that ministry goes agains God's Word, then whatever vow you made is a commitment against the work of God. Be careful what ministry, or person you make commitments to, that you follow through with for you could be in much trouble before the Lord. You pay God to where ever the true word of God is given you from.
Remember in God's eyes, when you earn your money, it is yours to do what you want to with it. What you give to the Lord in tithe, you will be blessed with, from Him, and He knows the intent of your giving. If it takes some pastor to jar you lose of your coins, or some gimmick, then there is no blessing that comes from it, if it isn't given freely. A begger is a begger regardless if he is at the city gate, or in a congregation, and the blessings given to each are the same.
Acts 5:6 "And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him."
The man died right before their eyes, and the wrapped Ananias and the men took him out and buried him. The rest of the people watched as the lesson is taking place before their eyes. This is an example that is being set forth.
Acts 5:7 "And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in."
Three hours is the time that is set for a watch, I mention this only in passing, don't go to sleep on your watch. There are many watchmen today asleep on their watch. Sapphira doesn't know that Ananias is being buried in the field outside.
Acts 5:8 "And Peter answered unto her, "Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much?" And she said, "Yea, for so much."
Sapphria told Peter the false price of the land, that her and her husband had privately agreed upon, which was less they they had committed to the Spirit of God before hand. They were probably figuring that the price was far less then it actually sold for, and they changed their minds when they got the money.
Acts 5:9 "Then Peter said unto her, "How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them whcih have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out."
It is so silly to think that you can fool God; when you do that, you are only fooling yourself. God knows you every thought, so why even try. That is why only God can judge you, and man can't, for only God knows your very intent of the acts you do. This is the example that is being set forth here, so that the others will see what will happen.
Acts 5:10 "Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and carrying her forth, buried her by her husband."
"Straightway" in the Greek, means immediately. Friend, don't ever put your soul in trust for earthly goods. However use good common sense and wisdom in whatever you do with what God has given you. Earthly things are very temporary, and you soul is eternal. Treat you goods in a manner that pleases you, it is yours, but don't try to out think God, or friend you will lose every time.
This lady was then buried right along side her husband, and those of that early witnessed this occurance. They saw what would happen when they allowed Satan to deceive them in thinking they could fool the Holy Spirit.
Acts 5:11 "And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things."
The entire church learned from this object lesson, and learned to revere the power of the Holy Spirit, and the knowledge that God has in understanding there very thoughts.
Acts 5:12 "And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch."
The seed could be planted in the minds of normal men, of how great these apostles were, by the many wonders and signs that they were able to perform in the sight of many people. Room is left in the statement to assume that. However, should you assume that, then you would show how little knowledge you have retained from this book of Acts. We know absolutely that it was not the hands of the Apostles that caused these signs and wonders, but it was the Holy Spirit that they were filled with. The Holy Spirit did the works through the hands of the Apostles, not by the hands of the Apostles. Don't ever try to con God.
It is a real pity to see ministers say, The Holy Spirit told me to say such and such," when all the time it came from their own deceiving minds. Don't lie about the Spirit, you had better be telling the truth. If you continue doing it, God will shame you.
Why were they on Solomon's porch? Solomon's porch is a place where the Gentiles could even come and meet. The working of the Holy Spirit is beginning to spread, and the message of Christ's redeeming blood is reaching out and touching Gentiles.
Acts 5:13 "And the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them."
The people of Jerusalem had now seen the good that came from the works of the Holy Spirit, and the price that was required of them in truth and commitment, and only the absolute committed would join with them. There was no fence straddlers in this group. When you play, you pay for those pleasures.
Remember that the believers rejoiced, even over the powers of the Holy Spirit concerning Ananias and Sapphira. "Rest durst no man join himself" meant that they simply were not believers. They did not believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, they heard Him teach, and even saw Him, but they did not believe it for one minute. But when they saw these two killed at the drop of the hat, they were heading out the gate in fear, they wanted no part of it.
Friend, showmenship has no place in the church. You simply can not con God. When the times are critical, those that come in by your gimmics and showmenship will split and depart from you. The sad part of this, is that you must have an adequate teacher, because it is the unbelievers also that we want to influence.
That fear of the Holy Spirit has to be alleviated and removed from the minds of the congregation, or your church is not effective. You remove the fear with truth. It is absolute folly to try to deceive God in any manner.
Acts 5:14 "And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.)"
The non-belivers headed out the gate and ran from the fear of the unknown that they witnessed, over the death of Ananias and Sapphira. But the believers grew in strength and numbers, both in men and women. When people see the working of the Holy Spirit and the power that our Father gives us, when we belong to Him, it draws those that are believers to the church. So with the teachings of Peter, the church continues to grow as the Holy Spirit leads..
Acts 5:15 "Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them."
The "couches" are a poor mans bed, it's like a pallet that they sleep on. The foolish ones would believe that the very shadow of Peter is what healed the sick. If you start believing that, then you are no different than Ananias and Sapphira. It wasn't Peter's but that they wanted to be near Peter when He passed by. Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit, and the power of healing comes from the Holy Spirit.
Christ Himself, when filled with the Holy Spirit and when passing by the sick, would cause those He passed to be healed. When they believed, they were healed. It is God that does the healing. Friend, don't try to take anything away from God, and be very careful when you do or say that the Holy Spirit told you to do anything. Except for the fact when the Holy Spirit really does. Friend, non-believers just cannot handle it when you say that the Holy Spirit told you something, when just plain common sense would say the same thing. That is what is called showmenship, it doesn't belong in the house of God.
Friend, handle the Word of God with dignity, and handle the Holy Spirit also with dignity in your manners and speech. Show your love and respect of what you say about God, and His Word.
Acts 5:16 "There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one."
This was no sideshow, it was the presence of the Holy Spirit. Naturally those evil spirits ran when they carried those people into Jerusalem where this Holy Spirit was so active in the apostles. The apostles had been taught exactly what to do about evil spirits.
Acts 5:17 "Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation,"
This is exactly what you can expect from the religious community when you teach God's Word, and are filled with the Holy Spirit. These religious leaders were filled with indignation. They became jealous when they saw something attack their own personal work and traditions. Traditions of men just don't stand up beside the Word of God.
They plotted to kill Jesus from the very start of His ministry, because Jesus showed their traditions for what they were. When Lazarus came out of the grave on the fourth day, other traditions were broken and they sought to plot to kill Lazarus also. This lame man sat before them for many years and their traditions were worthless beside the Spirit of God that Peter and John had, and instantly that lame man rose to his feet and ran and jumped like a small child with joy.
So now when the people are starting to come to town by the scores, to be healed, and they themselves bear witness to the lame man, and many others during Jesus ministry, these Sadducees are filled to the brim with jealousy, and the threat that obviously is attacking their traditions. Remember also that these Sadducees don't even believe in life after death, yet these apostles are saying Christ rose from the dead, and through His Spirit, all these things are happening.
Acts 5:18 "And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison."
They laid hands on the Apostles and threw the Apostles in the common jail house.
Acts 5:19 "But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said,"
This now is a type for our end generation.
Acts 5:20 "Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life."
This was not the Holy Spirit that released the Apostles, but an angel from God. He instructed them to go to the temple and speak all the words of this life, the resurrected life of Jesus Christ. To speak of the life after death, and speak it to the Jews in the temple. It was there in the temple that the Sadducees and the elders were teaching that there was no life after death. The angel did not say here to go to the Solomon's porch were the Gentiles could here, for they were not allowed in the temple.
The angel of the Lord is as God Himself, because He bears the exact Words for the Father Himself. It is direct orders form the very throne of God. The Apostles were in jail for teaching of Christ, and telling the people that they healed in the name of a risen Jesus Christ. They healed and taught in Jesus name, and what they gave the people these religious leader could not do. They were thrown in prison for cleansing hearts and minds of evil spirits, and evil thoughts and redirecting their minds to repentance by the blood of Christ. They were thrown in prison for doing the very work of God.
This then, is not the Holy Spirit, but a different office, "the angel of God" that came and freed them. This was done in such a manner, that as far as the guards on duty were concerned, they were still in jail. Then, once they were out of jail, the angel told them to go right back to the temple, only now, instead of Solomon's porch, they were instructed to go right to the heart of the religious community, the temple and preach, "go teach this word of life".
There is a time coming very shortly in this generation when God's apostles, His elect, will also be delivered up to give account of themselves, and then it will be as here. This is recorded in Mark 13:11 "But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought before hand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premediate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Spirit."
There is a time coming up shortly, where all churches except those of the type of Smyrna as recorded in Revelation 2:9, and Philadephia recorded in Revelation 3:9, that God's elect will be delivered up before. The ruler over the religious system will be the the false christ, and as we saw in Mark 13:11, we are to teach, without premeditations only that which the Holy Spirit sets in our minds. We can see that this religious system standing with indignation before Peter was a type of how the other five churches of the end times will look upon you, when you have God's Word sealed in your mind.
When you stand there before those that want to know why you will not submit to the Antichrist, you are to allow the Holy Spirit give the answer as He places it in your mouth and mind at that moment. Even the gainsayers will be convinced by what comes through your mouth as one of God's elect. Obedience is necessary at that time.
Acts 5:21 "And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought."
This is the next morning, and the council that is being called is in the Sanhedrin, not the temple. This is the place for business of the community and the political matters dealing with people. As these town and temple officials sat down for the council meeting, they asked for the apostles to be brought in. The object of calling the meeting of the Sanhedrin was to get the apostles to leave town. So they sent the guards to get them out of the prison.
Acts 5:22 "But when the officers came, and found them not in prison, they returned, and told,"
Acts 5:23 "Saying, "The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within."
There was no jail brake of this prison, for when the guards arrived at the prison, everything appeared to be in order, the gates were still locked tight, and the guards were still alert at attention out side the entrances. Every safety measure was still intact. "But when we had opened, we found no man within."
God moves in natural ways, the angel of God by mearly touching could cause slumber to fall on these guards. This is no big thing for God when He is in control, but the thing for us to remember is that God is in control, and God takes care of His own. These Sadducees were trying to touch God's anointed. This is a type of our generation, and what shall happen to those when this presence of the Holy Spirit, which is the same Spirit that was with them on Pentecost day.
Acts 5:24 "Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them where unto this would grow."
Don't forget that this "high priest" was not appointed by God, but he was appointed by a Roman governor, and I would doubt very seriously that he was even a Levite. Those religious leaders started to worry and wonder just how far this uprising would grow. They threw them in jail and still that didn't seem to slow the Apostles down, now here they are right down in our temple teaching this same doctrine.
From that day forth, that doctrine has never been stopped either. The leaven of Christianity has grown and spread through out the entire world.
Acts 5:25 "Then came one and told them, saying, "Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people."
What a slap on the face for these men of the Sanhedrin. Not only did they just walk out of prison, with all the security and guards, but no they are even teaching their doctrines in the temple. This was just to much for these self-righteous, pompous religious leaders. So we see that the church has now moved from the jail house to the temple.
Acts 5:26 "Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned."
Do you see this protection that is being provided for the apostles? Here we have the very guards themselves in fear for their lives, over the manhandling of the Apostles. Soft and gently; "Please Sir, would you give audience there to..."
You see the Holy Spirit, through these sent ones, the apostles, had healed many of their loved ones, fathers, mothers, sisters and so on that even had the death sentence of illness upon many of them. It all started with this young man that was lame from birth, and the Holy Spirit healed him, and this started a consuming fire by the Holy Spirit, that by now, even the Sanhedrin could not shut down.
The point is this, when you are doing God's Word with the obvious evidence of the gift of the Holy Spirit present in you; such as a gifted teacher. Nobody messes with that person much because they would lose. Any verbal battle would be between the Holy Spirit and them, and those aggressors would lose. When you obey God, God takes care of you. These guards did not touch a hair on the elect (of Gods) heads, for fear of the multitude of people that would stone them for mishandling the apostles.
Acts 5:27 "And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, "
So the Apostles entered the room and sat before the council. Can't you just see the leaders of the temple looking down on Peter and John. They are one frustrated tribe of Kenites.
Acts 5:28 "Saying, "Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man's blood upon us."
This chief priest is really throwing his power around. With a religious person like this, it is like a puff of air. Notice that he is so shook this chief priest couldn't even say the name of Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God. Just over two months earilier, it was this same pack of Kenites that sat in Judgment of Jesus Christ, in this same room, as they plotted to murder Jesus, and bring their liars in to bear false witness against Him.
Keep in mind also that the doctrine that Peter and John were teaching was the same doctrine that Jesus had taught that turned them into a mushy bunch of over-riped bananas. Now this chief priest is saying, you have taken this doctrine right into the temple given that doctrine of Jesus Christ. Did you notice what is really at the bottom of this fight? "Ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man's blood upon us." They know that they were the ones that brought about the crucifixion, they bribed Judas, and paid the thirty pieces of silver of the the crucifixion. What did he expect? This chief priest is as guilty or more so than Judas ever was, at least Judas repented and threw back the silver to them.
Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 12:31,32; "Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men."  "And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world [age of the flesh], neither in the world to come. [the Millennium age of the incorruptable body]" 
Judas' sin was against our Lord Jesus Christ, and his betrayal, for which he had time in the flesh to repent of those sins, which he did. We discussed this in the Acts 1, who these same chief priests and Sadducees murdered Judas, and ripped him open. Before long many Christians' blood will be upon their hands, but they still will not change their hearts.
Are you starting to see the lying and deceiving bunch that these religious leaders were. They were all part of the pack of Kenites that had assumed the roles of the Levitical priesthood, and changed God's laws to their traditions. After all this was the chief priest, and he had to put up a front for the rest of the leaders sitting there.
Our Heavenly Father will protect these apostles, and the true word will bring out the guilty one in the end, every time. God takes care of His own.
Acts 5:29 "Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, "We ought to obey God rather then men."
Friend, we live in a free nation, and we can have a free mind, and free way of doing things. Keep that free mind, for we are going to need it, before this is all over.
This doctrine that the apostles were teaching was the doctrine of God, not the apostles doctrine, that doctrine is the only doctrine that the Holy Spirit will speak. This chief priest didn't even know the doctrine of God, it was strange to him, compared to the traditions and false teachings that was taught in the temple.
The main difference was the Christ's doctrine was a doctrine that had victory over death, while the Sadducees' doctrine taught there was no life after death, and the whole purpose in living was for the moment, and the pleasures of this flesh body. They thought that if they killed Christ they would not have to worry about Him any more, but in their ignorance they played right into God's hands, and fulfilled every prophecy of God's Holy Word.
Does Peter's answer sound like there is any respect for this pack of liars? Peter is telling them, if it comes down to it, we always obey God's Word, rather then men. He is saying "we must obey God, rather then men." Friend there simply isn't a choice between the two.
Acts 5:30 "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, Whom ye slew and hanged on a tree."
Peter is saying; "I don't care if you are a Sadducee, or if you don't believe there is life after death, God Himself raised up Jesus from the dead. Peter was throwing a little Scripture at him here.
Acts 5:31 "Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins."
"Him" is the one you crucified. This is exactly as it is today. Jesus Christ is the Prince over the House of Israel, the Christian nations, as pointed out in Hosea 1:10; "Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured no numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, `Ye are not My people,' thereit shall be said unto them, `Ye are the sons of the living God."
Friend the living God is Jesus Christ, and all those that are of the house of Israel, not the house of Judah, are called Christians. The Jews, and the House of Judah still reject Jesus as their Savior. Those people of the House of Israel to this day, don't even know who they are, and they have this right of repentance that allows them to be called "Christians", the sons of the living God. The true house of Israel knows that there is forgiveness of sins through the blood of Jesus Christ, and Jesus is our Savior. The Jews do not declare this.
Acts 5:32 "And we are His witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, Whom God hath given to them that obey Him."
You that are sent today by God, are still witnesses of these things. We have the credentials of one that carries the Holy Spirit here. God gives the Holy Spirit, and to have the Holy Spirit their is a condition given here; "to them that obey Him." Just repenting is not sufficient to obey God, but after your repentance you must obey all His Word. You must first desire to know that Word, and then to follow what God Has instructed you to do.
You will not be able to obey each letter of the Word, man in the flesh simply can't, but upon repentance all is forgiven when you fall short of the glory of God. Friend, you must continually try every day of your life, and that is why we must repent daily, when we realize that we have sinned. Then God give to us His Holy Spirit.
Within that Holy Spirit are the gifts, and there are many. They are the gift of teaching, pastoring, prayer, giving, and so forth, but before you can have any of these gifts, you must obey God. When you try to achieve the Holy Hpirit any other way, you have another Ananias and Sapphira, somebody trying to con God. Somebody lying to themselves and to God, and before God, it just doesn't work. They are false prophets and false teachers that say God spoke to me, when God said nothing to them. Be aware of them, for they will speak of things that the Word of God does not back-up.
Acts 5:33 "When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them."
This is your religious community, regardless what time you are in. The head churchmen plotting to kill Peter and John, as well as anyone that would come against their traditions. Why? Because what they had said was a true as truth could be, and they were guilt and full of sin, and each of those religious leaders knew it. Each of the healing miracles that were done in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God was taking away their own side show.
Friend, is there some part of your churches doctrine, or tradition that you would put over what the Word of God teaches? Have you even lied to yourself, rather then face the fact that what you were taught goes against what God's Word teaches? Just how far would you go to protect that "rapture theory", or say some teaching on "tongues", or any doctrine that goes against God's Holy Word? If Peter stood before you and your church board, and cut down what you held to be dear, when God's Word spoke against it, would you be as these Sadducees, willing to plot murder to defend it?
Acts 5:34 "Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space;"
The Pharisee teach life after death. Gamaliel was a doctor of the law, and he knew the word completely. This wise man that knew God's Word told this Sanhedrin to remove Peter and John and the Apostles that were with them from the room so then could discuss this without their presence. Gamaliel had something to say, and it was important that they listen.
We will see later in this book that this Gamaliel was the teacher of the Apostle Paul. Acts 22:3; "I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught acording to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day."
Paul studied under this man, and it was for this reason that Paul knew the law to the letter, because Paul was a student of Gamaliel, the doctor that is addressing the Sanhedrin here.
Acts 5:35 "And said unto them, "Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men."
This is Gamaliel speaking and warning them. Gamaliel didn't care what these Sadducees called themselves, or believed.
Acts 5:36 "For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought."
Gamaliel is telling these Sadducees that if Peter claims to be some great preacher from God, he is like another called Theudas, who also called himself somebody. He is reminding them that if what they are teaching is false, it will flop on it's face. It just will not grow.
Acts 5:37 "After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, wre dispersed."
This Judas was a high preacher also, who saw special visions, and heard voices talking to him. He convinced many people to believe him. It wasn't long until he also perished, and disappeared for the mind of the people. Those that looked to this man, instead of God, dispersed and scattered, like a flock of sheep without a leader. They looked to the wrong shepherd.
Acts 5:38 "And now I way unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this council or this work be of men, it will come to nought:"
Gamaliel is telling the Sanhedrin to leave these men alone, and time will tell if they are from God, or what they say is of the work of men. All of these miracles and healings that draw these thousands of people, if it is of men, it's going to fall on it's face just like the works of Theudas, and Judas of Galilee that scattered their flocks. Man's work will always come to an end.
Acts 5:39 "But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight aganist God."
Gamaliel said, I don't care if you are the chief priests, if these apostles of Jesus Christ are of God, you will not overthrow them. For if you then fight them and they be of God, you are fighting against God. Friend, no one has overthrown it to this day, and many have tried. You have the ACLU, and many other groups that have tried to overthrow that that is of God, and these ungodly people are focused to put down the things of God, but God has His elect that know His Word, are the Holy Spirit to lead them, and know these heathen for what their lies and deceptions are.
These groups are a type of this Sanhedren that is sitting in judgment of Peter and John, and what Gamaliel said applies to those groups today, just as much as to the Sanhedrin judging Peter. Gamaleil was a very intelligent man, for truer words could not have been spoken. If it is of God, no man can stop it, and if it is of man, leave it alone and it will burn out. Gamaliel said this because the multitude out side the door, believed on these sent forth ones. The majority heard the truth as it was taught and believed it.
Acts 5:40 "And it him they agreed; and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go."
At least the sadducess and chief priest listened to Gamaliel and followed his instructions. Peter took that instruction that the Sanhedrin ordered, almost as much as you would take some of the religious cooks running around today. God's Word shall survive, and the Apostles beating only fixed it that much more in their minds.
Acts 5:41 "And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name."
With in that suffering comes power and strength. When you suffer for a cause then there has been a price that has been paid and a real value put upon it. This is God's Word in action.
Acts 5:42 "And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ."
Were they afraid of the old chief priests, and religious leaders? Absolutely not. This multitude that stood out side the Sanhedrin, focused on the trial, and watching the beating that Peter and the apostles took, rejoiced and desired to also suffer punishment for the sake of the name of Jesus Christ. Friend, when that name of Jesus comes up, what is your reaction, do you run and hide? These Christians of the first church did just the opposite, they charged forward, infiltrating the temple daily, and meeting in their houses. Christianity became a reality to them, and not a religion to be practiced in form.
Even to this day, God's Word is taught openly, and freely to the peoples of this world. There are many ways that Satan tries to pervert God's Word and unfortunately he does it through organizations that claim to be Christians, and they are far from what God's Word teaches. Satan would like to stop the truth from going forth, but those that have eyes to see and ears to hear God's Word, will see and understand, and others will never know.
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