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Peter's Preaching [2] (Acts 5,6)

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Peter’s Preaching





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Acts 5

Ananias and Sapphira
 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, 2 and with his wife's knowledge kept back part of the proceeds, and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles' feet. 3 And Peter said: Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back part of the proceeds of the land? 4 While it remained, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your power? How is it you have conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men, but to God. 5 And Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last; and great fear came upon all that heard it. 6 And the young men arose and wrapped him up, and they carried him out and buried him.
   7 And it was about the space of three hours after when his wife, not knowing what had happed, came in. 8 And Peter said to her: Tell me whether you sold the land for so much. And she said: Yes, for so much. 9 But Peter said to her: How is it you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those that have buried your husband are at the door; and they shall carry you out. 10 And she fell down immediately at his feet and breathed her last; and the young men came in and found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her next to her husband. 11 And great fear came upon the whole church, and upon all that heard these things. 12 And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders done among the people; and they were all gathering together in Solomon's porch.

The apostles arrested
13 None of the rest dared join them, although the people held them in high esteem. 14 And many more believers were added to the Lord, crowds of men and women. 15 So much so, that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that, as Peter came by, at the least his shadow might fall on some of them. 16 And there also gathered crowds from the cities round about Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those that were vexed with unclean spirits; and every one of them was healed.
   17 But the high priest rose up and all they that were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees) and they were filled with jealousy, 18 and arrested the apostles and put them in prison. 19 But an angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said: 20 You go and stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.
   21 And when they heard this, in the morning they entered into the temple 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. 22 But when the officers came, they did not find them in the prison, so they returned and reported, saying: 23 We found the prison shut in all safety, and the keepers standing at the doors, but when we had them opened, we found no one within. 24 Now when the captain of the temple, and the chief priests heard these things, they wondered what the upshot of all this would be. 25 And there came someone that told them: Behold, the men whom you put in the prison are in the temple standing and teaching the people. 26 Then went the captain with the officers and brought them, but without violence. For they feared the people, lest they should be stoned.
   27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them, saying: 28 We strictly ordered you not to teach in this name, and yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man's blood upon us. 29 But Peter and the apostles answered and said: We must obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you slew, hanging him on a tree. 31 Him did God exalt with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance to Israel and remission of sins. 32 And we are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, which God has given to those that obey Him.

Gamaliel’s advice
   33 But they, when they heard this, were cut to the heart and decided to kill them. 34 But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in honour by all the people, stood up and gave orders to put the men outside for a little while. 35 And he said to them: You men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36 For before these days Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. 37 After this man, there rose up Judas of Galilee, in the days of the census, and drew away some of the people after him. He also perished and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered abroad. 38 And now I say to you, keep away from these men and leave them alone. For if this counsel or this work is of men, it will fail. 39 But if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might be found to be fighting against God. 40 They took his advice, and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 They therefore departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonour for the Name. 42 And every day, in the temple and at home, they did not cease to teach and to preach Jesus as the Christ.


5:3 Ananias could control whether or not ‘Satan’ filled his heart, and was condemned for not doing so. If we think that a being called ‘Satan’ irresistibly influences us to sin, filling us with the desire to sin against our will, then we are making the same fatal mistake as Ananias.

5:4 The sin was conceived within the mind of Ananias- sin begins within (Mk. 7:19-23). Yet v. 3 says that ‘Satan’, the adversary, filled the mind of Ananias. The real enemy or adversary is our own mind, from where sin is conceived.

5:7 Appearing zealous, spiritual and generous when we aren’t in our hearts is a terrible sin, and will be judged very hardly by God.

5:14 This growth in acceptance of the Gospel happened immediately after God had killed Ananias and Sapphira for the sin of hypocrisy (v. 11). The ‘harder side of God’, the fact He is serious about His demands upon us, is actually an attraction for genuine people, rather than a repulsion.

5:26 Feared the people- The crowd were so fickle. They initially believed Jesus, cheering Him as He entered Jerusalem; then they turned against Him and shouted “Crucify Him!”. And now they are again supportive of His cause. God wants stable, loyal hearts and not commitment which is blown about so easily because it has no root in His word.

5:30 You slew- The Jews got the Romans to do it, because they were not under the Mosaic Law (2:23). But God of course sees through such behaviour; we are responsible for our intentions, even if we get others to do the deeds for us.

5:41 It’s very hard to truly rejoice at every connection we see between our sufferings and those of Jesus. But this is the essence of life “in Christ”.

5:42 The early preaching of the Gospel was in homes (as in 2:46); just as the ministry of Jesus focused upon homes. House churches and family groups are the ways in which God chooses to work.